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    Saturday, June 17, 2017

    Minor domestic worker reportedly abused by employers in Islamabad

    A minor household servant suffered serious injuries after his employer allegedly beat him up over suspicions of theft, the victim's brother has claimed in a first information report (FIR) filed at the Shalimar Police Station, Islamabad.
    The victim's brother has nominated two men in the FIR, accusing them of kidnapping and attempt to murder.
    The boy, 13, had gone missing two days ago, following which his brother had received a call informing him that his brother had been found involved in a theft, according to the FIR.
    The FIR added that the victim's brother found the boy unconscious when he reached the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) hospital following the call.
    In the FIR, the victim's brother stated that the boy had been working as a domestic helper at the house of one of the co-accused in the case.
    Though this is not the first abuse case involving underage domestic helpers reported in the capital in recent memory, this is the first time a boy has been reported as the victim.
    Asma Jahangir, prominent activist and the lawyer representing various NGOs in Tayyaba's case, has said that "every second house" employs children as domestic help in the federal capital and pleaded that measures should be taken so that underage domestic help are not subjected to the same experiences as Tayyaba.
    "These children are handed over [to their employers] as slaves and no one is investigating the matter," she has argued.
    According to Jahangir, a number of steps that can be taken for the prevention of this reprehensible practice fall under the purview of Parliament.
    Many cases of domestic servants' abuse also go unreported because employers seek out-of-court agreements with the victims’ families, often paying 'hush money' in exchange for silence.
    The concept of ‘hush money’ involves paying a sum of money — usually several hundred thousands of rupees — to a victim's family as 'compensation' for their silence or refusal to pursue the case in court.
    Earlier, a minor maid, Tayyaba, who was engaged for domestic work at the house of a former additional district and sessions judge in Islamabad, was reported to have been subjected to severe abuse in the highest profile case on the matter in recent months. Her case is currently being heard in the Islamabad High Court (IHC), following a suo moto notice by the Supreme Court.
    Tayyaba's parents have since submitted multiple affidavits claiming that they do not wish to pursue the case against the accused judge, Raja Khurram Ali, and his wife, Maheen Zafar, adding that they have "nothing to do with the case".
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    Item Reviewed: Minor domestic worker reportedly abused by employers in Islamabad Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Abdul Sattar Qamar