In Tanzania, one million children are in domestic work, most of them girls. The conditions they work in can quickly become exploitative, and that exploitation can remain hidden behind closed doors. For this reason, our partner in Tanzania, the Tanzania Child Domestic Workers Coalition, works with child advocates, street leaders, local community members and employers to ensure all children in domestic work know their rights and have ways to access help when their rights are violated.
Joyce* is employed as a domestic worker and is an elected member of the child domestic worker Advisory Committee in Mwanza, Tanzania. The child domestic workers on the Committee represent the other children in domestic work in their area, and they come together approximately twice a month to discuss the welfare of their fellow child domestic workers.
It was Joyce’s employers who heard about a local organisation dedicated to the rights of children in domestic work. Joyce was thrilled to join the Advocacy Committee and through her role she has been able to learn a lot about her own rights and exercise her passion for protecting her peers from exploitation.
Through this important role, Joyce has learned about her own rights, such as the rights to be protected, to live, to an education, to love, and to be respected. Joyce is a member of the discipline department of the Advisory Committee, fighting for the rights of children in domestic work across her area, and acting as a role model for others to follow.
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Joyce’s advocacy work is vital within the community. Sadly, she sees many cases of her fellow child domestic workers being abused, particularly sexual abuse. She has seen someone close to her work for an employer who had tricked her, and instead of domestic work she was forced to have sexual relations with many men, who paid her employer. One day, thankfully, she managed to get hold of a phone and call her parents who were able to take her home. She has never returned to domestic work. Joyce works hard to make sure that other child domestic workers do not have to face this abuse by informing them of their rights and working with the Coalition to help them get out of exploitative situations.
Joyce has dreams of being a fashion designer in the future, and through the Coalition is learning tailoring – the first step to making her dream a reality.
* name changed.