On June 18th Children Unite is bringing together experts representing NGOs and donors interested in child domestic work. Angel Benedicto will be the key speaker at this event – explaining how her organisation, Wotesawa, finds and empowers children in domestic work.
There are over 17 million child domestic workers in the world today (ILO), who work in other people’s homes doing domestic chores such as cleaning, cooking and caring for other children, around 90% of whom are girls. Child domestic labour is one of the most widespread, exploitative forms of child work, and one of the most difficult to tackle. Child domestic workers (CDWs) are hard to reach not only because they are hidden behind the closed doors of their employers’ homes, but also because society sees the practice as normal and – in relation to girls – important training for later life as wives and mothers.
Very few NGOs have specific programmes for child domestic workers, even though the numbers of children entering domestic work appears to be on the rise. The greatest barrier to working with CDWs is the difficulty in identifying and reaching this group of children. Our round table will explore these barriers in greater detail from the practical experiences of a range of NGOs, including how organisations in different sectors come across CDWs, some of the structural barriers they encounter in identifying them, and the approaches which have worked in accessing this notoriously difficult-to-reach group of children.
Angel Benedicto, a former child domestic worker who subsequently founded Children Unite’s Tanzanian partner, WoteSawa, will be visiting the UK in June to collect a ‘Queen’s Young Leader Award’ for her work in establishing this youth-led organisation of CDWs. We are using the opportunity of Angel’s visit to bring together NGO and donor experts and practitioners who collectively represent a wealth of experience in the variety of sectors with connections to child domestic work: from slavery and trafficking to gender and youth employment.
This round table is the launch event for a series of expert-convened workshops with NGOs and funders to explore the empowerment of child domestic workers in more detail. Contact Helen if you’re interested in attending or hosting a roundtable.
Children Unite is the only international organisation focusing exclusively on child domestic labour. We work in partnership with organisations to protect children in domestic work from abuse and exploitation and promote their rights world-wide. In 2010-11, we co-ordinated consultations with over 400 children on the ILO’s new Domestic Workers Convention and brought ten young domestic workers to the ILO to lobby for their rights. One of those young people was Angel Benedicto. Lobbying efforts resulted in an article and recommendation in the convention banning the use of under-age children and protecting adolescents from abuse and exploitation in domestic work.