04/02/2019, 09.32
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Pakistan, the death of Uzma Bibi turns the spotlight on child slaves

The 16 year old was killed and thrown into a canal. She was reduced in skin and bones, suffered torture and psychological violence. There are 8.5 million domestic workers in the country. The phenomenon of the exploitation of "new slaves" is a plague that afflicts all of Asia.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) - Tortured, reduced to slavery, forced to work without breaks and to feed only on a piece of meat a day; finally killed by her master because she was hungry and asked for food.

This is the terrible story of Uzma Bibi, 16, who worked as a maid in Lahore. The child's body was found in a canal, cast away as if it were garbage. The details of her murder has aroused deep indignation and reopened the teaching on the scourge of child labor, increasingly similar to slavery.

According to the World Labor Organization (ILO), there are 8.5 million domestic workers in Pakistan, including many children. They work in the employ of wealthy employers, often with exhausting shifts and subjected to inhuman treatment.

This is a phenomenon that generally affects all of Asia, where millions of poor people leave their countries each year in the hope of a better future abroad, especially in Saudi Arabia. From here, however, most of the time they flee from torture, abuse and violence of all kinds.

In this case, Uzma was killed with a kitchen utensil in January of this year. Investigations have revealed that her wealthy employer and his wife have tried to make her regain her senses with rudimentary electric shocks, using power cables. The girl had worked for the couple for nine months and earned 4 thousand rupees a month, a little over 25 euros. She slept on the bathroom floor, suffered constant beatings and was kept hidden when her parents visited her asking for her.

In Pakistan it is illegal to employ children under the age of 15, but child labor is a widespread practice due to the poverty of families. Children are the most vulnerable group, because most of those who serve rich families are illiterate, lacking an awareness of human rights and workers.

After the murder, a video emerged depicting the young woman, emaciated to the bone due to hunger. Her killer is currently in jail, and investigations are underway. Together with him, two other women are in prison. Muhammad Riaz, the victim's father, told AFP: "I will not give up. I prefer to die, but I won't let it go. I want them to pay for what they did. "

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Four million child slaves, exploited sexually or for their labour