LAHORE The Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) demanded of the Punjab government to put an immediate ban on child domestic labour by adding it in the schedule of banned occupations under the Employment of Children (Amended) Act 2011. While addressing a press conference organised in connection with the Child Labour Free Week of SPARC at Lahore Press Club on Sunday, Regional Manager SPARC Sajjad Cheema said the ILO estimated that domestic service was the single largest source of employment for girls under 16 around the world. Quoting the Anti-Slavery International, he said Asia was home to about 60 per cent of child domestic labourers, out of which 90 per cent were girls. Child domestic labour is the worst form of child labour depriving a number of children from their basic rights of health, education, livelihood and protection. Unfortunately, this practice of hiring children for domestic work is highly prevalent in our country especially in urban settings, he added. The SPARC manager said according to the ILO, every 4th household employs a child for work in Pakistan. Since January 2010, more than 12 children have lost their lives due to torture inflicted by their employers and about 95 per cent of these cases have been reported in Punjab which is alarming situation, he said, adding that most children were made to work consistently without a break, often on twelve hour shifts. He further said they were provided with inadequate food and were deprived of their basic educational right. In addition to this, Sajjad said, they faced violent and aggressive behavior from their employer on petty issues. Despite the outrage following these cases, other innocent lives continue to be affected by this heinous practice. This is largely the result of the impunity with which employers exploit and abuse children working in their homes. In most cases, the perpetrators are never brought to justice and victims or their families are pressurized into settling out of court, he added. Sajjad informed the media men that SPARC had launched a postcard campaign against child domestic labour in Punjab in which five thousand post cards would be signed and sent to the Chief Minister of Punjab from across the Province to make the movement stronger. It is imperative that the federal and provincial governments take solid measures to check the growing violence against child domestic labourers and notify child domestic labour in the list of banned occupations under the Employment of Children Act, he added.