Bruised Maid Dies at 12, and Pakistan Seethes
By SABRINA TAVERNISE
Published: February 5, 2010
© Reprinted from New York Times
The death already seemed like a bitter injustice. A maid died after unexplained injuries she got in the house of her rich employer. But one detail in particular has outraged Pakistanis: she was 12.
Her employer — a lawyer and a former head of the Lahore Bar Association — says she fell down stairs, and died Jan. 22 of complications from a skin disease. Her family claims she was tortured. The employer remains in police custody while they investigate the family’s charges.
Whatever the case, the death of Shazia Masih, a wisp of a girl from a bone-poor family, has served as a vivid reminder of the powerlessness of the poor in Pakistan.
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Child labor and poverty are inevitably bound together but unless these issues are addressed, the cycle of poverty cannot be broken. Understandably, families see their children as a tool to escape the desperation of hunger and hopelessness, turning their children out to work for the survival of the family. Not only in Pakistan but around the world, children are sold as open market commodities into the heartless and unsafe worlds of commercial sex, domestic or physical labor.
Once a child enters the labor force, they are bound by the chains of poverty leaving them no opportunity for education and thus fueling the cycle of poverty. This cycle is the root cause of so many children's rights abuses such as lack of healthcare, violence, trafficking and slavery, and so as a global community, we must strive to end global poverty to give children like Shazia a fighting chance at a better life.