Modern slavery and child labour remain Pakistan’s persistent problem. However, positive progress in this sphere has been recently adopted by Punjab as the province determines the minimum age of 15 years for hiring house help. Child labour and modern slavery are a black spot on Pakistan’s human rights dynamics. Pakistan ranks 6th out of 167 countries on the slavery index – which shows the urgency and desperation of the situation.
Putting a ban on hiring help for domestic work below 15 years of age, Lahore High Court has also ordered the Punjab government to take serious measures to secure their rights and investigate the matters of their physical/verbal abuse. Justice Jawad Hassan expressed these remarks during a hearing related to abuse of rights of domestic workers.
During the hearing, he said that ever since Pakistan came into being the rights of domestic workers have been neglected and abused. He said that the provincial government needs to take serious measures to not only secure their rights, and make laws against their abuse, but also determine the minimum wage limit for them.
A draft of Domestic Workers Bill 2018 was also presented. During the hearing, the public defender Advocate Shiraz Zaka said that strict laws will be made to secure the social rights, minimum wage limit, minimum age limit and fixation of working hours i.e 8 hours per day. He further added that specific committees and courts will be formed to address their grievances.
The new restriction on age limit is definitely worth appreciating and is being lauded as an impressive first step.
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