HYDERABAD: The recent incident of the eight-year-old child domestic labourer, Zohra Shah, who was beaten to death in the house she worked in, has once again shed light onto the subject of child labour in Pakistan. While many people have spoken out against this on social and mainstream media, a vast majority of the people are still unaware that children being employed for domestic work is a human rights violation.
Child labour commonly persists in developing countries where children coming from poor families serve as cheap labour for middle- and upper-class families. The argument for this form of employment usually resorts to the idea that if these children are not working as domestic workers, they will end up on the streets and resort to vile means of earning money. They would also be more susceptible to the maltreatment of predators on the streets. However, this idea blatantly ignores that the homes of strangers is as dangerous as the streets of Pakistan, if not more; and the case of Zohra Shah is just one of the countless examples. If we truly want to help these children, and have the means to do so, then perhaps funding the education of a child will ensure that they do not end up working at such a tender age.
This structural issue which forces poor families to be dependent on the income of their children is largely perpetuated by middle and upper classes who rely on the exploitation of this cheap form of labour. It is important to realise that we are not performing a moral favour by bringing these children into our homes and making them work for longer hours, that we ourselves would not agree to at our workplaces.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 8th, 2020.
Like Opinion & Editorial on Facebook, follow @ETOpEd on Twitter to receive all updates on all our daily pieces.