Children of a lesser God

According to the 2003 Baseline Survey on Child Domestic Workers and the Rapid Assessment on Child Domestic Workers in Kathmandu, both conducted for the ILO by the National Labour Academy, It is estimated that 42, 674 child domestic workers in all urban areas in Nepal are below 14 years of age while there are a total of 55,655 child domestic workers below 18 years of age.

•The city of Kathmandu alone has 13,310 child domestic workers.

•Average age of a child domestic worker is 13.4 years, the youngest worker is six years old, and 98 per cent of them do not live with their families.

•Children work exceptionally long hours — 13 to 15 per day, 92 per cent start work before seven am and 97.6 per cent work all seven days a week.

About half the children are not paid, do not know if they are paid, or are paid irregularly. Among those that are paid, 97 per cent make less than Rs 1,000 per month and 64.5 per cent make less than Rs 500 a month and 40 per cent of the children are paid a salary less than Rs 5,000 a year. Half of the children note that they are scolded and or beaten by their employers.

Other worse forms of child labour in Nepal:

ILO IPEC in Nepal focuses its interventions on seven sectors of worst forms of child labour (WFCL). His Majesty’s Government has identified several other sectors that should also be considered as WFCL. In addition to child domestic labour the sectors are: trafficking, carpet factories, mining /brick kilns and stone quarries, rag-picking, portering and bonded labour.

ILO estimates (1996) show that:

•There are 2.6 million working children in Nepal

•1.7 million children between five and 14 are economically active. This is 27 per cent of the children in this age group.

•2,79,000 children between five and 18 are involved in wage labour.

•1,27,000 children between five and 18 are employed in WFCL.