12/03/2014, 00.00
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Faisalabad, appeal to Christians and Muslims: Stop exploitation of women workers

by Shafique Khokhar
On the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, NGOs and activists launch appeals to the government for the protection of women in the workplace. Unions call for women to come together "in associations" and speak with "one voice". Condemnation of slavery and the exploitation of child labor.

Faisalabad (AsiaNews) - The Pakistani government has to pay attention to the shit systems and the operating procedures in force in the brickyards and furnaces, verifying compliance with labor standards and defending the rights - often violated - of the workers and laborers, especially women.

Moreover it is the executive's duty to protect domestic workers and ensure the distribution of the maternity allowance through the application of ILO conventions (International Labour Organisation) C-177, C-189 & C 183 that regulate the protection of workers .

These are the demands launched by organizations in conjunction with the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, which was celebrated yesterday around the world, and which devoted particular attention to the status of women.

Entitled "Raising awareness on women's rights and the laws of the labor market", the meeting was held in Faisalabad, Punjab, and saw the participation of male and female workers from different sectors. The event was organized by the Association of Women for Awareness and Motivation (Awam), and  included a program dedicated to gender equality (GEP).

Hanif Ramay, secretary general of Muthida Labour Federation, invited women workers to "unite, organize unions or associations, to improve their knowledge and skills"; to achieve the goals, he adds, they must speak out with "one voice, united and strong, in defense of their rights".

Nazia Sardar, Awam director, remembers the difficult conditions of women in domestic service, who are "denied any form of legal protection, including the minimum wage". This was echoed by Shazia George who added that all policies on labor must include "a special section for women", whose representation - even among unions - needs to be strengthened.

The head of the Gender Equality Program (GEP) Sumera Saleem explains that "the government must enact laws and labor policies" after consultation "with all interested parties". She also warns that it is necessary to "avoid" "vague and absurd" terminology in terms of work that "can lead to exploitation." The activist for women's rights Zarfishan Nasir concludes that "no one should be held in slavery" and that "all modern forms" of slavery - forced labor, child labor - and the trade in human lives "must be categorically forbidden".

Yesterday Pope Francis also spoke on the subject of "modern day slavery", defining the exploitation of the people "an abhorrent crime".


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