More girls are employed in domestic work than in any other form of child labor. They are exploited and abused on a routine basis, yet are nearly invisible among child laborers. They work alone in individual households, hidden from public scrutiny, their lives controlled by their employers.
Child domestic workers may be subjected to verbal and physical abuse, and are particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment and sexual violence from men and boys living in or associated with the household. Child domestic workers often are confined to their employer’s household, without access to any outside source of help. Many feel they must remain silent about the violence they endure, due to financial pressures and debts that make them afraid to lose their employment.
Since 2001, Human Rights Watch has conducted investigations on abuses against child domestic workers originating from or working in El Salvador, Guatemala, Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco, and Togo.