Child help with torture marks rescued – 21 Mar 2023

CP&WB official says victim in trauma, receiving counselling

A 13-year-old female domestic help facing torture and illegal detention by a lady doctor has been rescued from the residential quarters of the Mayo Hospital.

The victim told reporters that her name was Mehak and she had been employed at the house of the doctor, who reportedly worked in the eye department of the hospital, for the past several years.

On Monday, she managed to leave the house and reached the quarters of another lady doctor while crying.

People who had gathered at the spot contacted the Child Protection and Welfare Bureau (CP&WB) after listening to her ordeal.

A team from the bureau reached the spot and took her to its centre.

The girl was also presented before a court and her custody obtained.

The victim had marks of torture on different parts of her body and she told the rescuers that her employer beat her up over petty issues.

Child Protection Officer Waseem Abbass told The Express Tribune that the victim was in trauma and was unable to divulge the identify of her parents and their address.

He said a psychologist had been engaged for counselling her. Permission was also sought from the court for her medical examination.

Legal action against the employer would be taken on the basis of the medical report.

Over 30 cases of violence against minor workers were reported in the province during 2022 and at least five during the ongoing year.

The child protection official said such victims faced neglect by their parents who received advance money from their employers.

He added that he had often observed that the employers were well educated, including women, but they consider the child domestic help as their property.

“Torturing such helpless children is an expression of their dominance that provides them satisfaction,” he added. He added that the majority of the victims as well as perpetrators were female.

“It is a particular mindset in which only the helpless child is targeted. Such people treat their own and influential people’s children nicely,” he added.

A veteran child rights activist, Iftikhar Mubarik, said the Punjab Domestic Workers law did not allow children less than 15 years of age to be employed for labour.

“People who often say that they engage children as domestic help for supporting them avoided employing their parents as they would find it hard to control them,” he said.

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