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  • 1. Child Domestic Work in India
  • 2. Child Domestic Workers are:
    • Child Domestic Workers are children who work within homes outside of their own family, doing domestic chores for a wage in cash or kind.
      • 12.6 million children work in India (Indian Government)
      • UNICEF estimates there are 35 million child labourers
      • 20-40% of child labour is domestic work
      • There are approximately 50,000 child domestic workers in Kolkata
      • 86% of child domestic workers in Kolkata are girls
      • Child domestic workers can be as young as 10
      • Most children leave their homes in rural areas to work as domestic helpers in urban areas
      • Child Domestic Workers carry out a number of household chores including: c leaning, cooking, and running errands for their employer
  • 3. Why do children become domestic workers?
    • Poverty
      • Source of income
      • Large families – ‘one less mouth to feed’
      • Education is too expensive
      • Repayment of parental debt
    • Lack of alternatives
      • Families are unable to make enough money from agriculture
    • Lack of health and educational opportunities
    • Social inequality
      • Middle classes demand domestic workers
    • Cultural and personal attitudes to children and work
      • Parental attitudes of female education
    • Absence of law enforcement preventing domestic work
  • 4. How do they find their work?
    • Family: most children find work through their relatives
    • Placement agencies: 1 in 3 children
    • Child recruiters approach families and list the ‘advantages’ of sending a child into service
    • Recruiters then pass on the child to placement agencies who find the work
    • Agents find children domestic work at the cost of one month’s wage
    • 1 in 3 children have to give their salary to the agents
    • Many children do not know the name of the placement agency
    • 1 in 3 families do not know where their daughters are working
    • In Sandkda village with 150 families, 70 children have been sent to work
    • In Ajgara village with 300 families, 105 children have been sent to work
  • 5. Working Conditions:
    • Working hours:
    • Child domestic workers on average work 15 hours a day
    • Most children get less than one hour break a day
    • Child domestic workers are isolated from other children
    • Half of child domestic workers do not get any holiday
    • Half of child domestic workers do not want a similar job
    • Half of child domestic workers need permission to have food. Children often have a poor diet and are more likely to be ill than when they were at home
    • Salary:
    • Half of child domestic workers earn less than £12 a month (Rs. 1000-1500) and 77% have not had a wage increase in the last 1-2 years
    • Child domestic workers face all kinds of abuse – physical, emotional and sexual.
    • Over two thirds of child domestic workers faced physical abuse
    • 86% of child domestic workers faced emotional abuse
    • One in four children has/had to experience sexual abuse at work
  • 6. ‘ There in the employer’s house I had to work a lot, from washing utensils, to fetching water and cooking; I also had to wash two cars there. They never gave me proper food- I only used to get two pieces of burnt bread and left over vegetables. I had to wake up at 4am. Whenever I said to them that I needed to sleep they used to say ‘didn’t you work in the agricultural field? So, why are you tired?’. I used to cry but they never loved me. I worked there for 6 months. Once I broke one glass and I was severely beaten by them.’ Former Child Domestic Worker, Usha, 15, Midnapore
  • 7.
    • ‘ I used to work at a place where I had to take my master’s son to tuition classes and bring him back home. Then I had to wash utensils, cook vegetables, sweep and mop the floors, and then buy things from the market. After doing all these I used to come home in the evening’
      • Mumtaz, 13
  • 8.
    • ‘ When I used to work, sometimes I would make mistakes. Then my master would scold me a lot, and at times hit me also’
    • Akhil, 14
  • 9. Are there any positive aspects of child domestic labourers?
    • It provides an income for the poorest families:
    • ‘ My family, consisting of my father, mother, two younger brothers and my granny, were literally going without food and basic necessities, and so I decided to quit my studies and look for a job’
            • Protima, aged 15
    • Some domestic workers may learn new skills:
    • ‘ Earlier this year I started domestic work at another family’s house and I still work there. They are very nice people and I call them Uncle and Aunt. They have a daughter, Firdaus and a son, Arshad. Both have completed their education. Arshad works in a show room and Firdaus teaches young children. She helps me with my English. She loves all of us a lot’
    • Jahida, aged 16
    • Culture and tradition:
    • Domestic work is seen as the best option for teaching girls the skills they will need as adults
  • 10. What is being done?
    • Government response:
    • 2006: 14 has been made the minimum age for employment and work in all occupations including domestic work
  • 11. What does Save the Children do?
    • To make sure boys and girls are protected against harmful work, Save the Children has two roles:
    • • To support direct interventions to prevent harmful work or improve the lives of working children
    • To influence those who have a duty to children to fulfill their obligations.
  • 12. Where does Save the Children work?
    • West Bengal
    • (Kolkata and source districts-East Midnapur, North and south 24 Paraganas)
    • Maharashtra (Thane and Mumbai city)
    • Jharkhand (Source districts- Gumla, Simdega, Ranchi)
  • 13. Save the Children and Child Domestic Labour:
    • Save the Children works in four areas:
    • Where the children come from (source):
    • ‘ Anti-trafficking committees’ have been set up to disrupt the supply of children
    • Educating parents about the risks to their children and the importance of education
    • Barring recruiters
    • Urging the police to enforce the law
    • Where the children work:
    • Encourage child workers to go to informal education ‘drop-in centres’
    • Educate employers to encourage them to be ‘child friendly’
    • Public opinion
    • Change public acceptance of chid domestic work through the media
    • Research
    • Research is conducted to understand the causes and consequences of child domestic work
  • 14. What are the challenges?
    • Child Domestic Workers are difficult to protect as they are in private homes
    • There is little accurate data on the number of children involved in domestic work and the extent of violence.
    • Domestic work is culturally acceptable. Parents often believe domestic work provides better prospects for their children
    • Because of the booming economy the demand for domestic help has risen
    • There are few job alternatives in source areas