Alleged killer of child maid arrested in Lahore


LAHORE -- The battered body of 16-year-old servant Uzma Bibi was found dumped in a canal and her wealthy employer charged with murder, the latest case highlighting the dangers and violations to human rights that domestic workers -- especially children -- face in Pakistan.

Uzma died after blows to the head with a kitchen utensil, said police. She had been working for the family in Lahore for eight months when she was killed in January this year.

Her employer and two other women remain in custody as a police investigation into the murder and into allegations of mistreatment drags on.

"I will not give up, I prefer death, I will not let them go, I want to see them pay for what they did," Uzma's distraught father, Muhammad Riaz, told AFP.

The teenager earned just Rs. 4,000 ($28) per month.

In Pakistan, 8.5 million domestic workers -- including many children -- labour for wealthier families, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which many see as a systemic social problem in Pakistan.

"Parents often see their children as a way to lift their families out of poverty," explained Arooma Shahzad, general secretary of the Domestic Workers' Union, the country's first -- and still its only -- such organisation.

But domestic workers often face exploitation, violence, and sexual abuse.

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