Thursday, March 29, 2012

Little Helpers

One of the many middle-class delights of Pakistan is the cheap and easy availability of domestic helpers. Most of these helpers are under-18. A younger maid offers many benefits. She can run after the children few years older to her, eat less, sleep in a nook or corner, does not attract attention of the male members (hopefully) and is easier to discipline than an adult.  
In 2003, UNICEF reported that eight million under-14 children were labourers in brick kilns, carpet weaving units, agriculture, small industries and homes while a 2004 International Labour Organisation (ILO) report states that around 264,000 Pakistani children are labourers. The ILO has introduced a domestic labour convention but Pakistan has yet to sign it. 

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