Last week, a 13-year-old maid was found screaming on a balcony after the couple she worked for locked her in the apartment while they went on vacation. The girl was sold to a job placement agency by her uncle and worked for the two doctors for free while being underfed and beaten. UNICEF reports India as having the highest number of child laborers of any country. As the middle class grows in India, children slave and servant numbers are rising.
The exploitation of children and lack of education they are receiving is appalling. Tell government officials to stop this injustice. In India, 12.6 million children between 5 and 14 perform labor with about 20 percent working as domestic help, according to the International Labor Organization.
After being rescued, the 13-year-old girl was placed in government care and her employers, Dr. Sanjay Verma and Dr. Sumita Verma (show at right), were arrested when they returned from Thailand. They are facing charges for violating child labor acts but Ravi Kant, a lawyer with Shakti Vahini, a nonprofit group that combats child trafficking, says courts rarely place harsh rulings in cases involving domestic help.
Although the girl’s employers were arrested, this 13-year-old should never have been sold for work in the first place. Laws and regulations are not detailed enough or enforced regularly allowing for this injustice to continue. Ask the Government of India to create new laws and enforce them so children do not face mistreatment or harsh conditions.
From the New York Times -
Maid’s Cries Cast Light on Child Labor in India
NEW DELHI — The girl’s screams were brittle and desperate. Neighbors in the suburban housing complex looked up and saw a child crying for help from an upstairs balcony. She was 13 and worked as a maid for a couple who had gone on vacation to Thailand. They had left her locked inside their apartment.
After a firefighter rescued her, the girl described a life akin to slavery, child welfare officials said. Her uncle had sold her to a job placement agency, which sold her to the couple, both doctors. The girl was paid nothing. She said the couple barely fed her and beat her if her work did not meet expectations. She said they used closed-circuit cameras to make certain she did not take extra food.
In India, reported to have more child laborers than any other country in the world, child labor and trafficking are often considered symptoms of poverty: desperately poor families sell their children for work, and some end up as prostitutes or manual laborers.
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