QUARTERLY REPORT: APRIL-JUNE 2011
The ever-widening gap between the rich and poor has led to the rapid increase in the number of Child Domestic Workers. The National Domestic Workers’ Movement while focusing on and working for the rights of domestic workers comes in contact with Child Domestic Workers. Their plight is unheard of, unseen and unknown. The movement caters to CDWs in distress and makes all possible efforts to restore their childhood.
Trafficking at all levels and in all forms cannot be tolerated at any cost. But it is observed that there is a rather high-incidence of trafficking of children for domestic work. The anti-trafficking and migration activities of the movement are specially focused on the children who are trafficked to be employed in domestic work.
During the second quarter of 2011 the following activities were conducted to cater to Children in Domestic Work:
1. Capacity Building: NDWM believes that exposures to the world reality make the person what s/he is. Several workshops and seminars were organized for Child Domestic Workers. They included the following:
The purpose was to enhance the self-esteem of the children, make them aware of the rights they enjoy, ensure that their opinion is voiced in public forums, to protect them and their peers from abuse and exploitation.
2. CDWs’ in forefront: Leaders meetings’ are organized for Child Domestic Workers, to discuss the issues relating to their life and work. The leaders are encouraged to prepare an action plan, to organize an event from beginning till end, they are helped to evaluate and to improve their skill. NDWM in partnership with Anti-Slavery International (ASI) facilitated a workshop for leaders of Child Domestic Workers to submit young Domestic Workers recommendation to ILO. The Child Domestic Workers participated in the Art Workshop as part of Children Unit’s advocacy program. Apart from these two international advocacy events, Child Domestic Workers actively participated in the below campaign programs mainly to protect the rights of Child Domestic Workers and educate the civil society on “Child Labor Act, 1986”
They also participated in several activities to demand the Indian Government to support 100th ILC: “Decent Work for Domestic Workers” and to include Domestic Workers in the “Protection of Women from sexual abuse and exploitation at Workplace Bill, 2010” like the following:
Child Domestic Workers in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Bihar, Jharkhand, Goa, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur and Assam actively participated in the campaign programs.
3. Campaign with prospective employers: Programs are organised for the children in the elite schools, where the middle class are enrolled. The movie “Luchhi” was screened and it was followed by discussion on the rights of Child Domestic Workers and former’s role in promoting the latter’s rights. Child Domestic Workers along the elite children participated in 16 days Campaign on “Breaking the Conspiracy of Silence” in schools and colleges through drawings, painting, poster designing, elocution and debates along with elite children. CDWs Participated in the painting completion, “Child Labour Free” organised by Labour Department to create awareness in the civil Society along with elite school children (perspective employers) and won second prize. Performed dance on the issues of Child Domestic Workers and the audience were the elite college students.
4. Crisis interventions: NDWM also involve along with Labor department or Child Line to rescue and rehabilitate Child Domestic Workers. These rescued children are admitted either in the homes run by NGOs or state Home for Girls. Thereafter they are repatriated with her families.
Radha (Name changed) hails from a village in Theni District from Tamil Nadu. Her father, Joseph is a daily wage worker. Due to utter poverty and to ease the financial burden, Radha was sent to Kerala when she was 9 years old for the domestic work. She was working in Aluva in Ernakulam District of Kerala. She was placed in a lawyers’ house for domestic work. The employer has a 2 year-old child whom the nine year old had to care for. One particular day while carrying the child by mistake slipped from her hand and fell down. For this reason Radha was tortured by the employer couple. They kept a hot iron rod on her chest. She was brutally ill-treated even branded. The extreme punishment was that she was made to stand outside the house whole day. Radha used the chance to escape by climbing out from the compound wall. Seeing the scars on the body, the neighbors rescued her. Soon legal proceedings were initiated by NDWM and memorandums were submitted to the both Chief ministers in Kerala and Tamil Nadu requesting for justice to Radha. Consequently the family was traced and Radha was repatriated with her family.
5. Efforts to Minimize Trafficking: Village level meetings are organised for leaders, parents, women, youth separately and together to empower them on the negative impact of sending children for Domestic Work to cities through middle man.
The unique change for better among Child domestic Workers is their growing leadership with active participation in all the campaign programs. Today, they are the spokesperson for themselves and for their co-CDWs, who still exist, beyond the Child Labour Act, 1986, with elected representatives, media and civil society.
On one side the increasing poverty and on the other side rise in the number of nuclear families and working women has led to the high demand for Child Domestic Workers, though children entering in to Domestic Work is not the solution. National Domestic Workers’ Movement’s vision is to promote Domestic Work, only for above 18 years. However NDWM responds to the day to life of below 18 years and they are organized in groups. The Child Domestic Workers, who are below 14 encouraged for main stream education through regular house visit and dialogue with their parents. The above 15 years are motivated to continue their education, while working.
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National Coordinator; Project Coordinator