Hilary Ike Ugwu
Op ed

Stop This Cruelty Against Children Please!

In the more advanced societies, the protection of individual rights is highly ingrained in the civil consciousness. It is in such a degree as to make people to be conscious of how they treat or mistreat others. The law protects people from abuses.

This protection is not just the duty of the police and the judiciary. Everyone has the moral obligation and initiative to report, expose and file charges against people perceived to abuse others’ rights. This is because abuse of human rights is a clear denial of the right to life and the pursuit of happiness. Remove these rights and individual persons become slaves. The government exists for this reason—to protect and defend her citizens. This defense is not only in terms of foreign aggression but also with regards to internal violations of the rights of private individuals.

When abuse and neglect is directed against innocent children, it is worst. And this surely awakens the reaction of the world. Children are both emotionally and psychologically fragile. They are dependable and vulnerable at the same time. Any traumatic experiences undoubtedly have a lingering effect throughout their lives.

In some places in the world, it seems to be a conventional norm for people to keep little boys and girls as maids and house helps. Apart from its intrinsic illegality, it is morally condemnable. Mostly these children cannot defend themselves. Thus, they are subjected to all forms of cruelty and maltreatments from the hands of their keepers. These maids and houseboys are juvenile themselves. Yet they are forced to do baby-sitting, cook, clean the house, take and return little children from schools, go for shopping in the markets and wash their kippers’ cloths. In addition, some are severely beaten, assaulted, shouted at, battered, violated sexually and locked out of the house night after nights. They are driven to hawk on markets and streets where they are exposed to all forms of social ills and dangers. Many are starved intentionally. This is wrong.

The protection of child’s rights is something that is yet to completely sink into the civil awareness of so many people in the developing world. Therefore, it is very common, for people to keep houseboys and girls or maid primarily for exploitative purposes. They are not paid for the enormous jobs they do. Some are refused access to good lives. They have no future and no prospect whatsoever. They are perpetually imprisoned in the slavery of house chores. Some are not sent to schools. Therefore they are denied the right to education and information.

Millions of underage children around the world are victims of this social malfunction. They are removed from their towns and villages and taken to cities where they live in absolute slavery and servitude. One sad thing is that so many people are so adamant to reporting such cases to appropriate authorities. And sometimes the appropriate authorities in question are so ineffectual and reluctant to take proper measure in rescuing these enslaved kids.  In places like Europe and America, many people from developing countries who brought along with them maids to run their house chores ended up in very long term jails. No one has the right to exploit another individual human person.

This has become a new form of slavery sweeping across cities. Majority of these children are used as money making tools. Some assist in shops and places of business in the name of apprentice. In my home country for instance, Nigeria, newspapers had often reported of the inhuman treatment of these maids and house helps. Some have their bodies disfigured with hot waters. Some are tortured with hot irons and sharp objects. So many little girls got impregnated by the male keepers some of who could be their grandfathers. What a shame!

Every activist, human right advocates and child protection agencies should work hard to see that children are given the full opportunity to grow up as happy humans. Finally every person of good conscience should condemn keeping children as servants and denying them the right and freedom of just being children.

CSN:17427-2008-19-10

 

 

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