‘Torture’ of child maids lands several in jail – 02 May 2023

Police take minors into protection for medical examination

Three brothers, along with their wives, allegedly tortured two child maids, who happened to be sisters, by striking them with a pair of tongs and pipes in Madina Town, police said.

On a tipoff by a food delivery person, the police, along with the Child Protection Bureau, took the girls into their protection and arrested the accused and registered a case against them.

Police said that Waqar Ahmad, Bilal Ahmed and Abdullah had employed two daughters of Owais Ahmed — Iman Fatima, 11, and Zahra Owais, eight.

Suspects Sidra, wife of Bilal, Hamsa Bibi, wife of Abdullah and Amina, wife of Waqar, allegedly tortured the two minors on the pretext of stealing bread and sweetmeat.

Police said the suspects had been allegedly torturing the child maids for the last many days. When they could bear no more, 11-year-old Iman Fatima summoned some courage.

When the opportunity arrived, she grabbed it. It so happened that the family ordered some pizza to be delivered at their home. When the delivery boy arrived to deliver pizza, Iman took him into confidence and told him about the cruel treatment of her employers. The delivery boy took Iman for her words and informed the police about the situation.

The police contacted an officer of the Child Protection Bureau, Rubina Cheema, and along with her a team raided the residence of Waqar Ahmad, Bilal and Abdullah and took the two girls under their protection.

The police also arrested the suspects and had a medical examination of the girls done at the Civil Hospital.

The victims told the media that their employers used to torture them even on small matters right from day one.

The girls’ family was paid Rs4,000 a month for the children’s labour.

“We used to work from dawn to dusk. In spite of this, besides being subjected to torture, they would drag us by the hair, slap us and strike us with gas and water pipes and a pair of tongs,” alleged the girls.

Meanwhile, Child Protection Bureau officer Rubina Cheema said that the suspects had been arrested, and they were being interrogated.

Cheema said that the girls had had multiple scars on their bodies. Further offenses would be registered in the FIR in the light of the medical certificate.

Torture of minor domestic workers is common in Punjab. In March 2021, in Lahore police was informed that a child domestic worker was screaming and crying loudly for help while being tortured inside a house.

A police team responded to the call and jumped into the house using a ladder as the main door of the house was locked. They found the victim all alone inside the house.

She told police that her name was Saba, a resident of Kasur. She had been working in this house for over one and a half years. Her employers would subject her to severe torture. She added that her younger sister was also employed in the same house and was also brutally tortured by the employers.

“My father is in jail. He had borrowed Rs35,000 from my employer. In return, my father had sent me to work at this house,” she said.

She said her employer had got signatures of her father on a paper and hurled threats of dire consequences if he took back her daughter, she said. The victim had torture marks on her body.

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