Domestic servants comprise the largest group of

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Domestic servants comprise the largest group of children working outside the home, and nearly all are girls. Many live where they work. Their employers are better-off households, usually the women of the households. There is considerable anecdotal evidence that young house maids and child minders may commonly be subject to a wide variety of physical, mental and sexual abuse by their employers. In virtually all places they are treated as servants in every way inferior to the employers' own children. When it is not feasible to remove these children from such employment altogether, pressure can be brought on their employers to recognize their responsibilities for all children in their households. In some places advocacy campaigns to educate employers of child domestic workers to this responsibility have claimed some success. At an absolute minimum, employers of child domestics should ensure that all children in their home are in good health and well nourished, clothed with dignity, educated at least to literacy, and given time to rest, play and build friendships with their peers. Especially in urban areas, many children also work in small informal sector shops. Here also, employer 24 education and advocacy may be the most effective strategy, and employers often can be persuaded to take action to protect children working for them. Only a negligible fraction of child workers are in large factories or in facilities producing for export. I lowever, these employers are very visible and open to international criticism for using child labour, so may he motivated to free themselves of all child workers. Before acting precipitously, employers need to understand the full situation of working children, which can be ascertained from speaking with children, their families, and community leaders and institutions. Especially where children's income is crucial for survival, employers should consider ways to improve working conditions and create work-study opportunities which are permitted under ILO international standards for their child workers rather than automatically eliminate them from the workforce. Employers also can adopt safety rules and technology to ensure children do not use dangerous machinery or processes. They can keep the general work environment safe. Educating adults and children about safety measures and providing first aid equipment, protective clothing and other such items at the place of work can make a big difference, as can the provision of services such as education and health care for adults and children. Employers can employ children to do only the lighter jobs and reduce their hours to permit school attendance. Historically, industrialized country employers often have offered schooling and skill training in or near their facilities to allow young people to complete a useful education while holding a part time job and earning essential income. Socially conscious firms could do much to creatively adapt this model to today's needs in developing countries.
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