News / Asia

ILO: Millions of Children in Slave-like Conditions as Domestic Laborers

Young Indian bonded child laborers wait to be processed at a safe house after being rescued during a raid by workers from Bachpan Bachao Andolan, or Save the Childhood Movement, at a  factory in New Delhi, India,  June 11, 2013.
Young Indian bonded child laborers wait to be processed at a safe house after being rescued during a raid by workers from Bachpan Bachao Andolan, or Save the Childhood Movement, at a factory in New Delhi, India, June 11, 2013.
Lisa Schlein
The International Labor Organization estimates 10.5 million children around the world are working as domestic workers in hazardous, sometimes slave-like conditions.  The ILO is marking World Day Against Child Labor June 12 by calling for action to eliminate child labor in domestic work.  

The International Labor Organization reports all regions of the world employ children as domestic laborers, often in brutal conditions.  The report finds 6.5 million of the 10.5 million child domestic laborers are aged between five and 14 years.  More than 70 percent are girls.

International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor Director Constance Thomas says children carry out a variety of domestic tasks such as cleaning, ironing, cooking, gardening, looking after other children, and caring for the elderly.

"We know that they are vulnerable to physical, psychological and sexual violence and abuse.  They are isolated from their own families.  They are hidden from the public eye by the nature of where they are working.  And, they can become in a state of high dependence on the family or the people in whose household they are working.  We have evidence that some do end up becoming commercially sexually exploited," said Thomas.

Thomas describes the situation of many domestic workers as a serious violation of child rights.  She says the conditions under which they work are appalling, with long hours and no time for rest or leisure.  She says many are exposed to toxic chemicals, carry heavy loads, and use dangerous tools like axes and knives.  She says the children often are underfed, receive humiliating and degrading treatment and suffer verbal and sexual abuse.

The International Labor Organization reports overall 215 million children under age 18 work, many full-time.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, one in four children aged five to 17 work, compared to one in eight in the Asia Pacific region and one in 10 in Latin America.  

Thomas says many children in Africa work in some of the worst forms of child labor, but some countries, such as Uganda, Zambia and Tanzania are making very good progress in ending some of the most hazardous types of child labor.

"We have some good examples of some great, great progress.  Ghana right now has a huge program addressing child labor in agriculture, in fishing and in domestic work.  But they are calling on more action because domestic work is one of those that is going to be the hardest to root out because it is hidden-very much because it is hidden," she said.

The ILO says child domestic work is not recognized as a form of child labor in many countries because of the blurred relationship with the employing family.  But the ILO stresses the child is not treated like a family member.   It adds the hidden nature of domestic work makes it difficult to protect the child.

The report calls for better data collection and is also pressing governments to ratify and implement two ILO Conventions that deal with the minimum age for employment and the worst forms of child labor.

You May Like

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid