Child rights activists yesterday demanded that the government form a separate commission to ensure protection and welfare of children.
They also said the government should launch a national survey to determine the current number of children working as domestic helps.
There is no government data on the domestic helps, but the figure will be around 20 to 22 lakh, according to different NGOs; of them, around 13 lakh children remain engaged to vulnerable jobs, said the rights activists.
They were speaking at a roundtable styled “Situation of child domestic workers: role of achieving SDGs”, jointly organised by Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum (BSAF), Shapla Neer, and Centre for Services and Information on Disability (CSID) at The Daily Star Centre in the capital.
BSAF Chairperson Md Emranul Huq Chowdhury said the government has set a target of abolishing all types of child labour by 2021 but there is no significant progress in this regard.
Child rights activist MA Rashid highlighted the scenario of violence against the child domestic workers in 2014, 2015 and 2016 at a presentation.
Referring to the BSAF statistics, he said the number of mysterious deaths or suicides of the domestic helps had increased last year.
In the country, around 78 percent domestic child workers are girls below 14, and about 80 percent of them work around 14-18 hours per day, Rashid said.
Speaking as the chief guest, lawmaker Israfil Alam said the child labour is a global problem and the children's rights are being violated.
Mentioning that the domestic child labour is obviously a perilous job, he said there is no scope of ignoring the fact.
The government can consider forming a separate ministry for children, he added.
The government rescued 1.5 lakh child labourers across the country under three projects in the last five years, said Shahjahan Miah, joint secretary of labour and employment ministry.
Nobutada Sugahara, country director of Shapla Neer; Khandaker Jahurul Alam, executive director of CSID; Mahmudul Kabir, country director of Terre des Hommes Netherlands Bangladesh; Syeda Munira Sultana, ILO national project coordinator; Augustine Subash Purification, world vision Bangladesh project manager, among others, spoke.