Shaniera Akram is 'infuriated' by families who keep children as domestic staff

Published 24 Dec, 2021 05:17pm

Images Staff

The activist wrote an impassioned message on Instagram Stories, advocating against the practice of hiring children as house help.

Photo: Shaniera Akram/Instagram
Photo: Shaniera Akram/Instagram

Activist Shaniera Akram does NOT support the troublesome practice of hiring children as domestic help in Pakistan. In a long message written on her Instagram Stories, Akram said nothing "infuriates" her more than "a family who has children working as their domestic staff" and the usual reasons given to justify the act are "absolute rubbish".

Akram's telling off was triggered by a reported incident of assault on an eight-year-old domestic worker by a family in Gujranwala. "This is just another level!" Akram commented on the report. "The child should not have been there in the first place!"

The activist went on to express more of her thoughts on the issue. "Nothing infuriates me more than a family who has children working as their domestic staff!" she said. " I do not [care about] what your excuse is. Children should not be serving you! If you really care for the child, send them to school, not work!

"[D]on't give me the pathetic excuse that the child is earning money for his/her family, or if he/she wasn't working for you then they would be on the street! Absolute rubbish! You are the enabler. You are the one breaking the law. You are the embarrassment of a human that is so incredibly lazy and cheap that you need a child to serve you!" she said.

Akram reminded everyone how it doesn't hurt to hire adults as help, neither does it hurt to do your own housework. "If you are that desperate for staff but are not willing to pay an adult then get off your butt and do your own bloody housework!" she said.

"If you really care for that child then show it. Provide a safe home for them, basic schooling but most importantly, help them learn a trade!" Akram pointed out.

"By helping them learn a trade, you are setting them up for a life. You are giving a gift that keeps on giving. [B]ecause of you their children will probably have a normal, happy childhood and be in school where they belong.

According to the activist, "learning a trade is one of the most valuable forms of education for our youth in Pakistan today".

"If we — the people — work hard together to create a better future , then one day our problems now will be problems of the past!

At the end Akram thanked "the beautiful, amazing, generous Pakistanis" who "do good every day for the people of this country". "I salute you," she added.

Hiring a child for domestic help is common across Pakistan but still not right. Many people prefer to employ children because they provide cheaper labour, can be controlled and more easily threatened, consume fewer resources, and are more active and require less space — all terrible reasons to hire someone to help out.

We're going to side with Akram here — the practice of keeping children as domestic staff is dehumanising and robs them of the childhood they deserve. Let's intervene where we can and help children get the education and support they need to prosper ahead in life, either through own our efforts or by referring their case to a philanthropist or an NGO. Child labour is not okay.