“‘It has altered me forever’: trauma of child domestic workers in Pakistan”, The Guardian
Saba Karim Khan, London, 13 Aug 2019
Despite shocking reports of abuse and a social media outcry, there is little sign of stricter laws to protect children
Each night, after a 12-hour shift of domestic drudgery, Neelum, 11, and Pari, 13, leave their employer’s million-dollar mansion with its manicured lawns in Karachi’s glitzy Defence neighbourhood, and return to their servant lodgings. There they sleep on thin, termite-infested mattresses, under-nourished from their diet of leftovers.
Behind the glistening glass doors of the country’s most opulent neighbourhood, thousands of children work as maids and servants. Across Pakistan, an estimated 264,000 children are employed in such work, and claims of abuse by employers are commonplace. In January, 16-year-old maid Uzma Bibi was allegedly tortured and murdered by her employer in Lahore for helping herself to a small piece of meat. After tweets about her case went viral under the hashtag #justiceforUzma, three people, including her employer, were arrested and are now in custody awaiting trial.