Employing under age helpers: Householders warned

By Malik Gunatilleke

The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) has issued a final warning to all households on employment of under age children requesting they be released immediately or stern action will be taken in the coming months.

Following the death of two domestic aides working at a house in Colombo 7, one of whom was under age, the NCPA has launched a probe into how these children are being taken into employment.

NCPA Chairman Jagath Wellawatta told the Sunday Times that the NCPA had collected information on many households particularly in Colombo where under age children have been employed as domestic aides.

“The NCPA requests these households to release these children immediately or else face action from the NCPA for their offence,” he said.

Mr. Wellawatta also said that the NCPA was looking into the State sector to identify children under the age of 14 who were in employment and also to identify those who were not given adequate education as a result of their employment.

Meanwhile, the NCPA directed the Nallathanni Police to arrest the broker who was involved in sending the two children to work in Colombo after he refused to comply with a request made by the NCPA to present himself in Colombo.

“The parents of the two girls made a statement to the NCPA and afterwards we got in touch with the broker whom they identified. We asked him to present himself in Colombo but when he didn’t comply I was forced to direct the police to arrest him,” Mr. Wellawatta said.

He said that the broker had said that he was an employee of a local recruitment agency known as Rana but the agency has denied all affiliation with him.

Nallathanni police OIC P.K. Hettiarachchi said that thirty-year-old R. Manivannan who is now in custody for brokering a deal involving the two girls was presented before the Hatton Magistrate courts last week where he was ordered to be remanded until September 7. He is due to be presented in the Colombo Magistrate court No.8 on that day along with the employer of the two girls.

There are still no developments surrounding the circumstances of the mysterious death of both girls who were found in the Bauddhaloka Mawatha canal on August 15. Cinnamon Gardens police Crimes OIC Dinesh Attanagama said that the police were awaiting the JMO report which is due to be presented at the Magistrate’s Courts on September 15.

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