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Child Domestic Worker: Safe or not?

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Children engaged in domestic work are not safe today. Domestic worker protection and welfare policy is not being followed. Child abuse in domestic work is on the rise. Bellal Hossain Sheikh, Director, Department of Labor was present as the chief guest at the dialogue titled ‘Child Domestic Worker: Safe or not?’ at the head office of Action for Social Development (ASD) on Monday morning. Syeda Munira Sultana, National Project Coordinator, International Labor Organization was present as a special guest.

Director of Labor Department Bellal Hossain Sheikh said everyone’s mindset and attitude need to change to stop child labor in domestic work. All the activities can be done easily if an inter-ministerial committee is formed among all the ministries. The Ministry of Labor is working on updating the domestic worker welfare and protection policy. And we must work together to stop child labor by 2025. We need to be committed through strong legislation and social movements. To increase community awareness on child labor, leaders of all religious sub-schools need to come forward and promote the issues of child labor. And it would be better to expand the activities of ASD to all districts.

Syeda Munira Sultana, National Project Coordinator, International Labor Organization said that Making child laborers work as domestic workers is not just an excuse for poverty or illiteracy, it is a mentality. So, we need to change our mindset. Parenting skills need to be enhanced. In Policy and Advocacy, it is necessary to map out the issues that can be achieved. Social security issues need to be considered. The International Labor Organization is working on the National Plan of Action (NPA). Coordinate with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Labor, so that no child is involved in work before the age of 14 and is involved in education.

Other speakers said that Children will not be engaged in housework only if they can support the family financially. Disadvantaged children and adolescents can become self-reliant through training by joining various government clubs. Although there is a desire to provide assistance to the parents of disadvantaged children, it is not possible to provide the allowance due to the lack of correct age information in the national identity card. Financial assistance is given to poor children twice a year. Many people do not know about this. Public awareness should be raised to ensure the safety of children engaged in domestic work.

Naser Iqbal Jadu, Joint Secretary, Bangladesh Shishu Kalyan Parishad, Nazneen Akhter, Program Officer, District Women’s Affairs Office, KM Shahiduzzaman, Social Service Officer, A. K. M Azizur Rahman, Director, SOS Children’s Villages, Al-Amin, Project Officer, Dhaka Ahsania Mission, ASD Co-ordinator (CDR) MA Karim, Manager (M&E) Lutfun Nahar Kanta, Co-ordinator (Advocacy & Campaign) Md. Ishaque Faruquee also present as speaker. The event was presided over by Imtiaz Rasool, Executive Member, ASD.

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