One in 20 Kathmandu homes has child domestic help: Study

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jun 13, 2016-

While the situation of children working as domestic help has improved, there is one minor working as domestic help in every 20 households in the Capital, a study has shown.

According to a report entitled ‘Status of Domestic Child Labour in Kathmandu Valley,’ conducted by the Children and Women in Social Service and Human Rights (CWISH), the number has dropped from one child in five households in 2001 to one child in every 20 households this year. The International Labour Organization (ILO) had conducted a study in 2001.  

The new report has also found a major shift behind the number of children coming to the Capital from their respective places. As much as 64 percent of the children cited better education as the primary reason for working in someone else’s house in the Capital.  

The study shows that there are two reasons behind the dip in number of children working as domestic help. First, there is massive awareness and, second, there is a shift of children from domestic helps to other forms of labour such as in the entertainment sector, brick kilns and carpet factories. 

“We are also afraid that since the age of domestic help in the previous research was low, those children could have group up in all these years,” said Yubaraj Ghimire, programme officer at CWISH. In 2001, 30 percent of the children were below 14 years. It now accounts to just 13 percent.  

The report further states that there are there are around 12,265 children working as domestic help in Kathmandu Valley. The number has plummeted from a staggering 21,191 estimated by ILO in 2001. Until 2009, around 96 percent of the child had cited poverty as the main reason behind working as domestic help. Poverty and opportunity to earn are other reasons.

Article 39 of the constitution prohibits using children in any form of labour. The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act prohibits engaging a child who has not completed 14 years in any kind of employment. 

The ILO Convention No 138, which Nepal has ratified, states that 14 hours of work per week, provided that it does not intervene with compulsory schools, does not harm the child’s health and development. 

Even thought the number of children has dropped, right holders argue that the existing number is also alarming. 

“It is good to see the number of domestic labour come down. But the number that has been presented is also quite frightening as all the laws in the country no child shall be forced to work away from home which will ultimately hamper his/her development,” said advocate Indu Tuladhar. 

A person found forcing children up to 16 years in labour could face a jail term up to one year and a maximum fine of Rs 50,000 which experts argue is too little to stop people from using children as workers.  

The report further states that 51 percent of the children do not get remuneration. Similarly, 96 percent of the respondents attend school. This is also a huge shift from just (60 percent) in  2009 and (33 percent) in 2001. 

The current report by CWISH was prepared by using both quantitative and qualitative techniques. The research was conducted among 4,086 households within three ward 25, 32 and 34 in Kathmandu.

Published: 13-06-2016 09:17

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