Woman Accused of Assualting 5-Year-old Maid in Botswana

[from the Botswana Gazette]

Woman poured hot water over `child maid’- allegation PDF Print E-mail
Written by KHONANI ONTEBETSE
Five-year-old hired to look after toddler

Police say they have arrested a 39-year-old woman of Mmopane for allegedly pouring boiling water over a five-year-old girl who was employed to look after her three-year-old baby.

According to the police the victim is in a critical condition at a hospital with second and third degree burns on the head.

Sir Seretse Khama Airport Police Station, King Tshebo told The Gazette that the woman could be charged with employing child labour, among other charges.

“For now, she will be charged with assault occasioning bodily harm, but there is a possibility that she will be charged with employing a five-year-old. The wounds that the little girl sustained on the head as a result of being burnt with hot water are very disturbing,” said Tshebo.

“What we have learnt from the mother of the child is that the five-year -old girl was taken from a village called Moralane around Shoshong. The arrangement was that the she would look after the woman’s three-year- old toddler and the parents were to be paid her wages,” said Tshebo. The woman took advantage of the fact that the five year old `maid’ was from an impoverished family.

Allegations are that the woman became angry with the child for some reason and threw boiling water on her head. “When questioned, she said the victim had poured water in the tub to bath and did not realize that it was too hot; but the woman’s story contradicts the facts before us,” said Tshebo.

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Bitter plight of the vanilla trade children

From The Sunday Times

March 14, 2010

Bitter plight of the vanilla trade children

Dan McDougall in the Vanilla Coast, Madagascar

 The pods used in ice cream made by some of the world’s best-known brands is produced with the help of children working on plantations in remote regions of Madagascar

NOARY’S fingers are stained a thin, luminous yellow by the sweetest spice of all. Close to exhaustion, his tiny body is pouring with tropical sweat.

At eight years old, he has been tending the vanilla orchids since before first light after walking to work, barefoot and in darkness, alongside his brother, Ando, just a year older.

Here, in the remote Sava region of Madagascar, tens of thousands of children are being forced into the trade in black vanilla pods that sell for up to £4 each in British supermarkets.

Such is the dire state of the small farms in northern Madagascar, the vanilla capital of the world, that children are increasingly involved in production of the pods, a key ingredient of some of the world’s most famous ice cream brands.

Vanilla from the island, off the southeast coast of Africa, flavours everything from Magnum and Ben & Jerry’s to Marks & Spencer desserts and numerous items on the shelves of supermarkets.

In an impoverished settlement near Sambava, the district capital on the Vanilla Coast of northeastern Madagascar, small growers sell their pods to the Société Vanille de Sambava, a consortium that supplies big exporters through auctions held twice a year.

“We work for six to seven hours a day from dawn,” Noary said at his tiny family plantation in Anjombalava, 12 miles to the south of the city.… Read the rest