Source: SPARC Pakistan
An 11 year old girl working as domestic help at Defence, Hyderabad was beaten by her employer under the suspicion of stealing a gold ring. The victim was beaten by her employer’s wife and taken to G.O.R. Police Station by the brother of her employer. The SPARC team led by MR Zahid Thebo reached to aid the child domestic worker immediately after learning about the incident.
The SPARC Team looked into modalities for filing the FIR (First Investigation Report) and after a hectic effort was able to lodge the FIR under Article 59 of the Sindh Children Act 1955 and 328A of the PPC at the Cantt police station, Hyderabad.
- The girl was badly beaten by her employer
- One of the servants at the house tried to sexually abuse the girl earlier.
- The girl is also a victim of early child marriage and was divorced some time back.
Throughout yesterday Mr Thebo kept likeminded organizations and civil society activists updated as he worked hard to get the FIR lodged against the perpetrators. However, the SPARC team faced a lot of issues in the absence of functional government bodies and lacunas in laws. The girl was eventually given shelter under the roof of a reputable philanthropic woman, as a proper shelter mechanism is non-existent in the province.
This fact finding mission raises a lot of questions such as; Why hasn’t the Sindh Prohibition of Employment Bill not yet converted into an Act? Why was Rs 200 Million (allocated under CPA Act 2011) not spent for the rehabilitation of child victims? Why are CPUs and the labour department not effective enough to provide support to child victims?
SPARC demands declaring child domestic labour among the worst form of child labour and to enact the Sindh Prohibition of Employment Bill, extend the scope of the Sindh Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Bill to family members (as it would greatly help lodge an FIR in cases like this), as well as demands formulation of a proper child protection mechanism which can ensure shelter for victims of abuse, and exploitation. Furthermore, the rules of business for Sindh Child Protection Authority Act, 2011 have not yet been finalized, which is a matter of great concern.
The SPARC Team has been ensured of support by current and former lawmakers including Irum Azeem Farooque (Ex MPA MQM) and Seema Zia (PTI), who has assured of raising the issue in the Sindh Assembly and is trying to get in touch with Governor Sindh to raise these issues. Needless to say, other provinces and federal laws/bodies need similar reforms to ensure that the rights of children are protected in the country.