Survey finds hidden child slavery in Bangladeshi homes

The results of a survey of 1200 respondents in Bangladesh, co-funded by Terres des Hommes Netherlands, found that 87.7% of child domestic labourers are girls who often face physical, mental and sexual abuse and exploitations while working 15.9 hours on average per day for Taka 1266.7 (16.15$/14.20€) per month. Child domestic workers are the most vulnerable because they work inside the house where their untold sufferings do not get attention unless they injure severely or die after torture.

 

Child labour

3.45 million working children in Bangladesh

With an estimated 3.45 million working children in Bangladesh, the problem of child labour is a fundamental concern for Bangladesh because it spoils and grasps the future of children. Child domestic workers are the most vulnerable because they work inside the house where their untold sufferings do not get attention unless they injure severely or die after torture.

Working 15.9 hours on average per day

The overwhelming majority of these hidden slaves are girls (87.7%) aged between 12-14 years old, driven into child labour due to family poverty. They face physical, mental and sexual abuse and exploitations as well while they work 15.9 hours on average per day for a handful of money. Earning as little as Taka 1266.7 (16.15$/14.20€) per month, these children often have to pass on another three-fourths of their ‘salary’ to their guardians. Child domestic labour is susceptible to becoming a worst form of child labour with some children only 5 or 6 years old under total control of their employers.

Nearly one in four of the children suffered some kind of injury while working and more than half of them receive harsh physical punishment or are subject to mental torture. One in five girls said they had to face illicit approach/body touch by some male in the compound of the employer’s house. Such males could be a guard, neighbors, visiting relatives of the employer or even sometimes a family member.

More than 1200 respondents including government officials

“I am very pleased that the research report on the situation on child domestic workers has been published. Collecting data from 10 districts, accumulating more than 1200 respondents including children, government officials, local elected representatives and CDWs; data processing, analyzing and publishing the report was really a gigantic task.” Mahmudul Kabir, Country Director of the Terre des Hommes- Netherlands programme in Bangladesh said.

'Domestic Worker's Protection and Welfare Policy' 

“After five years of policy drafting and long advocacy of BSAF (Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum, a network for child rights organisations co-funded by Terre des Hommes Netherlands) the government has recently approved a ‘ Domestic Worker’s Protection and Welfare Policy’.”

“With the findings of the current study , BSAF will strongly pursue with the government to formulate substantial law for the protection of child domestic workers in Bangladesh and include child domestic work on the hazardous job list. This report will also help the policy makers to take measures for the effective implementation of the existing policies and laws. We are very much grateful to Terre des Hommes Netherlands for their continuous support to BSAF, and especially for this study.”

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