© Associated Press
Young Indian bonded child laborers wait to be processed at a safe house after being rescued during a raid by workers from Bachpan Bachao Andolan, or Save the Childhood Movement, at a factory in New Delhi, India, June 11, 2013.
Geneva - The International Labor Organization estimates 10.5 million children around the world are working as domestic workers in hazardous, sometimes slave-like conditions. The ILO is marking World Day Against Child Labor June 12 by calling for action to eliminate child labor in domestic work.
The International Labor Organization reports all regions of the world employ children as domestic laborers, often in brutal conditions. The report finds 6.5 million of the 10.5 million child domestic laborers are aged between five and 14 years. More than 70 percent are girls.
International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor Director Constance Thomas says children carry out a variety of domestic tasks such as cleaning, ironing, cooking, gardening, looking after other children, and caring for the elderly.
"We know that they are vulnerable to physical, psychological and sexual violence and abuse. They are isolated from their own families. They are hidden from the public eye by the nature of where they are working. And, they can become in a state of high dependence on the family or the people in whose household they are working. We have evidence that some do end up becoming commercially sexually exploited," said Thomas.
Thomas describes the situation of many domestic workers as a serious violation of child rights. She says the conditions under which they work are appalling, with long hours and no time for rest or leisure. She says many are exposed to toxic chemicals, carry heavy loads, and use dangerous tools like axes and knives. She says the children often are underfed, receive humiliating and degrading treatment and suffer verbal and sexual abuse.