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Life Lesson

Inner Conversation

Childhood

HOUSEMAIDS OR SLAVES IN CAMEROON




I remember this day I was getting my hair done at a hair salon. I noticed this girl of about 11yrs. She looked so skinny and haggard. She got very nervous when the mistress of the salon arrived. I watched quietly with many questions in my mind. It was a matter of time before I noticed the girl was a housemaid in the salon mistress’ house. As time went on, the mistress kept insulting her and asking her not to come close to her. Like me, the apprentices watched in silence. I could tell they all pitied the girl like I did.


The mistress then narrated how that morning she had caught this girl eating some of the fufu she had been asked to prepare. The mistress had lost her temper and beaten the girl with the stick used in stirring the fufu. My stomach churned as this large woman defended her actions. I could only imagine the night mare her housemaid lived in. This lady made her apprentices uncomfortable, but they were lucky to be free of her at the end of the day. The little girl on the other hand had nowhere else to go. I said nothing of it and so did the apprentices and everyone else who knew of this. No one knows of the future torture she had to endure.


The girl above and several other boys and girls like her share a similar or worse fate. People leave the towns to explore for illiterate parents in remote villages. They make all these false promises of good money and make way with their kids only to exploit them. Some of these children are used to settle loans. Most of these children get physically, mentally and sexually assaulted. They are turned from house maids to slaves. Their boss’ kids do nothing to help around the house and rather help get them in trouble. Their parents will never find out because they may not see their families for another six to ten years.
Miracle was brutalized by her Mistress with a wire
 There was a case in Yaounde, where this lady got this girl and made the girl work for her for years with no pay. The poor girl could not find her way home and had to stay. When her mistress was tired of her she gave her to a friend, who later gave her to someone else. When the poor girl’s parents came looking for her, they could not trace her.

According to results of a survey conducted in 2004 in the cities of Bafoussam (west), Bamenda (northwest), Douala (littoral) and Yaounde (centre), 40% of children from age 9 up to 20 are victims of child prostitution.Women and children traditionally have faced the greatest risk of trafficking and have been trafficked most often for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor.  Girls were internally trafficked from the Adamawa, North, Far North, and Northwest provinces to Douala and Yaounde to work as domestic servants, street vendors, or prostitutes.  According to a study by the International Circle for the Promotion of Creation and the Cameroon Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, of 722 young girls between 9 and 20 years old interviewed in the cities of Yaounde, Douala, Bamenda, and Bafoussam, 291 were the victims of sexual exploitation.

I am advising parents to try as best they can to be careful about the people they send their children to work for. If your child will have to help a household with chores, firstly that child should be 18yrs and above, then get a lawyer; the address of the family should be clear and the terms under which the child lives should be clear as well. They should also create room for that child to pursue education. Also organizations should be formed to recruit and link house maids and nannies to employers. These organizations can then monitor and protect these workers.

Do not blindly entrust your kids to anyone for money. Of recent many people have allowed their children smuggled into Dubai, Qatar and Kuwait for work. Are you aware of what those children are actually doing out there? Be careful and protect your children. If you know anyone who is a victim of such abuse, please be their voice before it is too late.

Love you all

God Bless!

Stay You!


2 comments

  1. That was wonderfully said. Please I will admire it if you may fine pleasure to raise many arguments that house help is a modern form of slavery. Thanks!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks for your comment...I think that's a great argumment, I will look into it.

      Delete

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