Plight of minor workers – 30 Jul 2022
Lahore saw a tragic incident of a young domestic worker being killed after he was caught eating food
Instances of violence against minor workers are on the rise and various cases of torture, even to the point of death, have surfaced in the recent past. Unfortunately, these cases are not just restricted to the industrial sectors as domestic workers — that are in millions across the country — have long been facing the wrath of employers who often use and abuse them at will.
Recently, Lahore saw a tragic incident of a young domestic worker being killed after he was caught eating food out of the refrigerator. Another incident in Lahore’s posh locality of Defence saw two underage workers tortured, with one losing his life and the other sustaining serious injuries. Similar trends are rampant in Sindh. But what is perhaps even more egregious is the fact that these cases continue with impunity and no action is taken against perpetrators. Weak implementation of laws that protect minors have given rise to exploitative systems that enslave children from a young age, which is a blatant violation of their basic human rights. No country can expect to move forward if their children are treated in such aa horrific manner. Calls from NGOs and civil society organisations, that children belong in the classroom and not the factory, have fallen onto deaf ears as provincial labour and social welfare departments along with LEAs, backed by powerful mafias, have failed to protect them.
The situation merits attention from the very top. A task force needs to be constituted to dismantle this culture by enforcing the law and carrying out severe punishment against perpetrators, even if it requires the death penalty. There is no room in society for those who commit heinous acts against vulnerable children. Let us acknowledge the reality that millions of children are enslaved on our soil.