Are domestic workers in Naga homes given proper wages and treated with dignity and respect??

Are domestic workers in Naga homes given proper wages and treated with dignity and respect??

Some of those who voted YES had this to say:

• No comment for others, as for myself yes, I even send them to school.

• Yes, there are families who send them for education and treat them as their own.

• Yes. Just because some mistreat domestic worker it does not mean Nagas treat them wrong. I have lots of testimony and eye witness where domestic worker are treated at par with family members (in some case even pamper them!). They are sent to school and (some) even help them get government jobs!

• Yes. They are also a good human being like you and I. They shouldn’t be treated them like slave; moreover, no slave culture prevails in Naga culture.

Some of those who voted NO had this to say:

• No. One of the most underrated human rights violations, servitude in Nagaland is widespread and mostly unreported. Personally, I have encountered non-local as well as local domestic workers been ill-treated and paid no or meagre wages. Some, especially non-local, were forced to work denying to leave and paid no wages. Servitude for the rest of their lives. What is more tragic is there is no official data or survey regarding the number and conditions of domestic workers in a Christian-dominated state of Nagaland, which speaks the volume of our sensitivity toward the well-being of less privilege section. We don’t give a toss for their welfare and basic human rights so long they continue to serve as we cower in comfort with a badge of Christian identity.

• According to my observation, a big no. Maybe 10% homes do.

• No. And there should be some set rules for owners who keep them!

• No! And where’s the ‘National Domestic Workers Movement -Nagaland Region’? With the shocking incident happened in Kohima last week… Heard nothing from them!

• No. Majority, no for the kind of work they do.

• No. The domestic workers in Naga homes are treated very differently and never show respect.

• After what I read yesterday, No perhaps!

• No. Because there’s no worker act.

• No. Majority of our Naga women are merciless towards them

• No. This practice of bringing children from villages and employing them as domestic workers is child labour. It’s time we realise this.

• Big NO. Some aren’t even paid but tortured like hell resulting to fleeing.

• Absolutely NO. Majority of Nagas who are settled in towns bring poor children from villages to assist them in household work with a bonus of educating them. The reality is they are made to work and work without any pay; send them to government schools where education is their least priority. They attend schools at the convenience of their owners. Instead of this false promise, it is better that they bring children who are at least 16years of age, enroll them in Open schools, teach them during their free times and let them clear 10/12 class through open schooling. At least this will open doors for employment. Employing kids is a disgrace to those literate and greedy people who exploit poor children in the hope of education and knowledge. It’s time to think for others and not our own selfish motives.

• NO…!! Except some few families, majority of the Naga families treat helpers as Lesser Humans. Hell of Mental, Emotional, Physical and even Sexual Assault to helpers. And despite of going through all these Traumas none of the helpers can voice out against their owners coz many are being threatened n more physical assaults.

• No. Some may be treated well, but I don’t think any of them are paid well, if at all.

• No… I feel that children below 18 years of age should not be allowed to be employed as domestic helper… It would be great if the Government can ensure that, people who employ children below 18 gets a penalty or punishment..!

• About Proper wages… also not so sure… And Treated with dignity and respect… it’s a dream… Out of 100, 10% may do well. So I think it’s No for me.

• At the hour, this survey or poll is irrelevant. The whole country is in a mood of elections. Our minds and consciousness is stuck by the nature of choosing the next government. Yet, I’d oblige to your question. I am unaware of any mechanism or authority (Government to Village) who has proper guidelines for daily wage earners. Nagaland was (is) an egalitarian society. It means we should treat everyone as equal. But Nagas are so standardized that we cannot work low level jobs even though we don’t have other alternatives (avenues). So my answer is, No we don’t pay the daily wage earners properly as well as we look down on them. ‘No’

Some of those who voted Others had this to say:

• How can we answer without conducting survey?

• I know a Naga family in Nagaland that pays 7000pm to a young lady just to look after their kid. Free food, toiletries, clothes etc… That is more than twice the monthly salary of some private school teachers and paid well in my opinion…In fact, a little too much in a state like ours!

• Actually most helpers (from eastern Nagaland who send children for education instead of pay) below 18 is not paid rather they go to school. Many I have seen are looked after well.

• 10 out of 100 are blessed enough to be treated with dignity and respect. The rest is under many forces. The child labour act in Nagaland needs implementation. The employees are not booked even though there are enough evidences to support and make a case.

• I have seen some of these young ones coming and staying in my Brother’s house. In one instance that I know, he was treated well in the sense that he was allowed to study, was given a room and eats whatever they eat (he even learned our dialect.) However, how do we determine if he was really treated well? He was never given a salary (maybe he got pocket money and travel fares to go home once in a year). He ran errands and did most of the odd job. For some, this might be child labour, but for his family, atleast he could study, have good food and grow up. Most of us do not know the abject poverty with which some of our own brothers are living within our state. So, talking of child labour determined by Indian Government. Might not necessarily apply in all circumstances. My only plea is that Naga officers whose tribes send out most of these children should take extra effort to look after their flock. Moreover, parents should be discouraged to send little girls to people really unknown to them. For the rest, we might have to be more humane so that someday someone remains grateful to us for the help we gave them to ‘Grow Up’.

• In Naga society, the employers consider the hiring of domestic helps as an “act of charity” as they are provided with basic needs and some with an education that poverty denies them. However, in reality, due to the “servant” status, these children are often treated as lesser beings and kept in substandard conditions. On top of that, only a few were paid regularly.

• The cause of domestic helps’ issues is many, complex and interrelated. Poverty, irresponsible parenthood, lack of opportunities, urbanization, and lack of public awareness are some of the major factors associated with increasing of domestic help in Naga society. Although the domestic help issues may not be very visible in the surface, it is prevalent in the urban household which is an outcome of these multiple factors. In Naga society, in most of the cases, living arrangements and health are better than in the child’s own home, because this is provided by their employer or simply because they are living in a city where food and health facilities are more easily accessed. Many of child domestic help may say that the food is ‘better’ in service than at home. But in reality, they are not being looked after properly, salaries are not paid fully according to the amount of the works and burden they take up and are often exploited. The main issues that concern the domestic helps are deprived of the minimum wage, decent work conditions, defined work time, public holidays, standard daily working hours, face violence, verbal, physical and sexual abuse, and lack of skill development resulting in stagnation and no career growth etc. The majority of domestic help is illiterate and are highly exploited and denied just wages and humane working conditions. Although an increasing number of children from poor families are joining informal and domestic sectors as workers and continue to be exposed to various forms of exploitations, the greatest challenge in the fight against domestic help issues is on finding ways to penetrate the domestic sector and expose the plight of these working children. The private nature of the domestic sector where employment relationship exists behind closed doors, limited legal protection reaching these children, lack of awareness, inadequate data, traditional attitude – all contribute to the misery of these children. Although legislation protecting domestic help are in place in other places, it is not enforced extensively in Nagaland. Domestic works are poorly regulated and the domestic help are often subject to abuses. There is no defined protocol is in place to address domestic helps issue in the Naga society. The State Government has no programme for rehabilitating the domestic workers. The enforcement of the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 is not taking place.

• Not many people. But there are people who do and go beyond to help the whole family too.

• There is no such regulation for payment of wages. In the absence of such mechanism there will never be a fair wages for domestic workers. Some of the domestic workers may be treated fairly but at the mercy and mood of the employer

• There’s no system for wages for domestic workers in Nagaland. But I believe this is something that is discussed and resolved between the two families. There are few who prefers wages. But since most of the workers are young, they prefer to study and get education. It would be wrong to paint everybody with the same brush. There are many families who treat the domestic workers very well and provide for them. We can enforce government rules, but the question is whether this will help the families who cannot provide for the children. Regarding the agency to monitor their well being, I will suggest the respective Unions take this responsibility and help the domestic workers get justice for their service.

• There should be a labor laws so that no one is abused. Slavery wrong.