LAST Tuesday we were touched by the news photo of an inert, largely bandaged, body of 10 year old domestic help, Tamanna. She died following a severe burn from stove fire in her employer's house. We suddenly woke up to a violation of law cutting short a life through a disdainful trampling of human rights.
The Bangladesh Labour Acts 2006 prohibits employment of children under 14 years of age. It remains a law on paper; seldom, if ever' applied because poverty- driven parents are impelled to put their underage children to work for sheer survival. And there is no law regulating working conditions of domestic help either. If anything, Tamanna's death highlights the cause of domestic workers. She has died from stove fire accident but there have been hundreds of others who were brutally tortured by their cruel employers. They would suffer quietly until some day the matters came to a head through some sympathetic neighbours' intervention calling for police attention.
Eighty lakh under 15 children are currently working in different sectors, of whom 13 lakh in risky jobs. Somehow household work is not being listed as risky. The utter helplessness of the children makes them prone to risk. So risk perception about them should to be highly sensitive to their need for protection and caring.