Remembrance: ‘We forget underage helpers work in our homes’

Candle light vigil held to mark death anniversary of maid.


Our Correspondent January 22, 2014
Candle light vigil held to mark death anniversary of maid.

LAHORE:


“It is a tragic fact that Pakistan still does not have laws to protect domestic workers,” said Aslam Pervez Sahotra, chairman of the Human Liberation Commission Pakistan (HLCP), on Wednesday.


He was addressing civil society activists at a candle light vigil held to mark the fourth death anniversary of Shazia Bibi, a maid allegedly tortured to death by her employer on January 22, 2010. The vigil was held outside the residence of the Punjab chief minister.

“There are thousands of children working as domestic helps. They are given meagre wages. They don’t have health benefits or proper working hours,” he said.

“Everyone, from the labour inspector to the prime minister knows about it but no one addresses the issue,” he added.

He said four years had passed since Shazia’s death but no concrete steps had been taken to protect domestic workers.

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He said a lot of domestic workers were abused sexually.

He said last year a maid at the house of a former chief secretary, was arrested for refusing to continue working.

He said the government should introduce laws to protect domestic workers like it did for kiln workers and factories workers.

“Even today educated people including parliamentarians and take it for granted that children work at their houses. It is the saddest thing. We should all raise a voice against this,” he said.

HLCP Women Wing Director Ms Rozi, Coordinator Aman Sahotra, Bishop Edwin John, William Javed, the president of Masiha Millat Party were also present.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 23rd, 2014.

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