Days after the death of a 16-year-old girl who was employed as domestic help by a politician, Sri Lanka is set to toughen its child labour regulations by raising the minimum age for employment to 18 years in order to prevent child exploitation.
A Cabinet proposal to raise the minimum age to 18 is being produced, according to Piyal Nishantha, the state minister of women and child development. The Ministry of Labor has also agreed to increase the list of jobs that are considered harmful to children aged 16 to 18.
According to Labour Commissioner Prabath Chandrakeerthi, the list would be expanded from 52 to 76 people. The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) has stated that strict laws are required to prevent child exploitation.
Following the death of an adolescent girl working as a domestic help in a politician's home, the topic of child labour resurfaced. On July 3, the girl was admitted to a hospital with burn injuries while working as a domestic helper at the home of Rishad Bathiyudeen, the leader of the All Ceylon People's Congress, an Opposition ally.
After the girl died on July 15, authorities detained the leader's wife, father-in-law, brother-in-law, and a broker. Bathiyudeen has been in detention since late April, pending the outcome of the inquiry into the 2019 Easter Sunday suicide bombings, which were blamed on a terrorist organisation with ties to ISIS and killed more than 270 people.