Maid found hanging, no FIR after 3 days

Edited 736AMBIKA PANDIT IN THE TIMES OF INDIA

NEW DELHI: A tribal girl from West Bengal was found hanging from a grill in the courtyard of her employer’s house in Faridabad on April 14. She had a dog’s leash around her neck.

Till date, no FIR has been lodged in the case. While the police blame their helpless on the absence of a report, the girl’s body lies in a mortuary unclaimed. Attempts are on to track her family in Uttar Dinajpur and bring them to identify her.

The case, yet again, brings to the fore the rising cases of exploitation of domestic workers from tribal belts. In the absence of laws to regulate domestic work and placement agencies, these girls live and die without any identity or rights.

Police officials from Dabua Police Chowki of Saran police station had found the girl’s body in Sector 49 of Dabua Colony after her employers informed them. The employers told the police that the girl was hired on March 24 from Laxmi Placement Agency and she appeared to be depressed. But so far, no one has inquired into the alleged cause of depression or the girl’s employment history. The employers told police that it was a case of suicide. Police, however, has not initiated any inquiry to investigate the role of the employers in the case.

There is also no clarity on the girl’s age as she appears to be a minor. Preliminary inquiry shows that the girl was hired for a meager salary of Rs 3,500 to do the house work in a family of six members, police said, adding that the placement agency took around Rs 22,000 from the employers as commission.

Strangely, the placement agency owner has been tasked with the job of finding the girl’s family and bringing them to the police station. Meanwhile, the police officials say they are trying hard to keep the body from being eaten away by mice in the “dead house” where the freezer facility is not working properly and ice is being used to preserve the girl’s body.

While mystery shrouds the domestic worker’s death, NGO Shakti Vahini has written to the Faridabad police commissioner seeking an investigation into the matter from the point of view of inter-state human trafficking (West Bengal-Delhi-Haryana). “It is a matter of concern how the girl came in contact with the placement agency. What is the legal status of the agency? The girl’s age is also a matter of investigation,” the letter states.

Meanwhile, experts working on trafficking cases feel that much time has been wasted. Former member of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Vinod Tikoo, cited Section 174 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 to point out the role of police to enquire and report on suicide, and such matters.

As per the Code, a police officer has the power to inform an executive magistrate empowered to hold inquests. The police can also make a report on the basis of spot examination and preliminary investigation into cause of death to enable the district magistrate to act.

Man’s relative sell off cattle to “buy” him a wife

Haryana Case

Published in The Hindu -By Ashok Kumar

A 30-year-old woman from Assam, allegedly trafficked to Haryana for a forced marriage and sold to a mentally-challenged man, has been rescued in Jhajjar. The man’s family allegedly sold their cattle to “buy” the woman as they could not find a bride for him.

Victim was drugged

The victim was allegedly offered tea and snacks laced with sedatives by her acquaintance Babai (50) and brought to Delhi. Babai came in contact with the victim while looking for employment as domestic help in her locality in Assam.

The victim was taken to a village in Panipat from Delhi and allegedly sold to one Sombir in Jhajjar. She managed to contact her family over telephone on February 24, following which they alerted the local police.

Meanwhile, the project director of Ujjawala, an initiative by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development to combat human trafficking, informed the non-government organisation Shakti Vahini.

Shakti Vahini programme director spoke to Inspector General (Rohtak Range) Anil Kumar Rao, who facilitated the rescue operation. The victim was produced before the Executive Magistrate in Jhajjar after a medical examination and later sent to a shelter home in Karnal.

“Girls from the Northeast are brought to Haryana for forced marriage and bonded labour. The trend is due to the skewed sex ratio in Haryana. The districts of Jhajjar, Mewat, Rewari, Karnal, Kurukshetra, Yamunanagar, Jind and Hisar are the most common destinations for these girls,” said Rishi Kant of Shakti Vahini.

Girls from the Northeast are brought to Haryana for forced marriage and bonded labour. The trend is due to the skewed sex ratio in Haryana.Rishi Kant Shakti Vahini

ILO says poor laws aid the abuse of maids

article-2564179-1BAF51FD00000578-966_634x617

By Neetu Chandra Published in MAIL TODAY

Millions of domestic workers in Indian homes are a part of an informal and “invisible” workforce due to absence of a specific legislation meant for their protection, the International Labour Organisation said on Wednesday.

The number of maids has gone up by nearly 70 per cent from 2001 to 2010 with an estimated 10 million maids and nannies in India, the ILO says.

According to the National Sample Survey (NSS) 2004-05, there are around 47.50 lakh domestic workers in the country. Out of these, 30 lakh are women working in urban areas.

Besides a proposal to formulate a national policy for domestic workers, the government claims that various measures are being taken to ensure rights and to check exploitation of this vulnerable segment.

The Centre has enacted the Unorganized Workers Social Security Act, 2008 for social security of unorganized workers, including domestic workers.

Labour laws like the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, the Employees Compensation Act, 1923, the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 and Inter-State Migrant Workmen (RECS) Act, 1976 are also applicable to domestic workers.

But the poor work and living conditions are still a part of the lives of this faceless workforce across the country.

“Domestic servants in India are routinely harassed and exploited by their employers in many ways. In spite of several steps taken by the government to improve their condition, even today they are treated as slaves and untouchables by many. This issue draws our attention every now and then, whether it is about the tragedy of domestic workers or a positive change in their conditions,” a recent study published in Indian Journal of Research, says.

The study found that these workers were humiliated by employers in some or the other way. While some were treated as untouchables and not allowed to enter the house except work areas, others were given stale food and addressed in abusive language. Moreover, some were suspected of stealing things and not given salary on time.

According to the government’s own admission, the instances of human trafficking for pushing victims into professions, including domestic help, have increased.

As per the NCRB data, the total number of cases which come under the generic description of ‘Human Trafficking’ for the years 2010, 2011 and 2012 are 3,422, 3,517 and 3,554, respectively.

Recently, the National Commission for Women had recommended a national policy for the benefit of domestic workers.

“Women are being harassed in different ways. People need to be sensitised about this issue. We get several cases where we get shocked. There is an urgent need to change the mentality towards women,” NCW member Charu Wali Khanna said.

Cases on the rise

Tortured history

Trafficking of women and then pushing them to work as underpaid and exploited maids is on the rise in India. Krishna Tirath recently said in the Rajya Sabha that instances of alleged violence and torture of maids in the country have been reported. She informed the House on efforts made by the government in protecting women’s rights.

On providing safety to domestic workers

In order to safeguard the interest of job seekers, Ministry of Labour & Employment had issued guidelines on October 30, 2013 to state governments and Union Territory (UT) Administrations to consider regulation of functioning of private placement agencies. The states and UTs have been asked to register placement agencies providing domestic workers specifically under Shops & Establishments Act.

On sensitising police personnel

The Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) has prepared a training manual on “Human Trafficking-Handbook for Investigators” for sensitizing police personnel. The handbooks are being used in the national, regional and state Police Training Institutes.

On current legislations on women trafficking

There are specific legislations enacted relating to trafficking in Women and Children (Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act 1956, Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006, Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act 1976, Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986 and others.

On tackling the menace of human trafficking

Anti–Trafficking Nodal Cell was set up in the Ministry of Home Affairs to act as a focal point for communicating various decisions and follow up on action taken by the state governments

21Fir12REVISE.qxp

Girl trafficked from Bengal rescued

UTTAR PRADESH TRAFFICKING CASEPUBLISHED IN THE HINDU

A 15-year-old girl trafficked from Murshidabad district of West Bengal was rescued from a village in Shahjahanpur district in Uttar Pradesh on Friday.

The rescue operation was jointly conducted by the police forces of West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh along with NGO Shakti Vahini. According to the police, the minor girl was trafficked by one Murjina (40) who sold her as a “bride” to a resident of the Uttar Pradesh village.

“The alleged trafficker, a resident of Sardarpara of Murshidabad district, approached the girl and asked if she wanted to learn shakha pola , traditional bangles worn by married Bengali women. Both became friends and nearly a week later, Murjina convinced her to visit her house, where she offered her food that made her unconscious. On the same day she was taken to Delhi by train,” the police said.

In the Capital, Murjina, a factory worker in Delhi, used to take the victim with her to the workplace so that she could not escape.

“After 10/12 days the girl was handed over to a man who married her forcefully. She was then confined in his house in a remote Uttar Pradesh village, from where she was rescued,” said Rishi Kant of Shakti Vahini.

The police were tipped-off about her whereabouts in the Mundka area of Delhi. The West Bengal police team reached Delhi and coordinated with the Shakti Vahini team. A raid was conducted in Mundka on Friday and a person Santosh was detained. He, a cousin of the alleged trafficker, confessed that the girl was confined in the U.P. village.

The police and the NGO team rushed to Shahjahanpur district and contacted the local police. With their assistance the girl was rescued. She was then brought to Delhi by the police team, which was accompanied by her father. “The girl will be produced before the Child Welfare Committee, Murshidabad. As per the direction of the Child Welfare Committee she will be given care and protection,” the police said.

Gumla girl rescued from Jaipur bus stand

1013140_10151874027915798_2119845624_n

PUBLISHED IN THE TIMES OF INDIA

RANCHI: A minor girl belonging to Jharkhand’s Gumla district was rescued from Jaipur on Sunday night. According to information provided by the girl to the Jaipur police, she was allegedly trafficked by M.K Service, a placement agency running illegally in the national capital.

The rescued girl said that a woman made the girl sit on a Jaipur-bound bus in New Delhi and directed her to not speak to anybody on the way.

She was also told that somebody in Jaipur will come to receive her at the Sindhi Camp Bus Stop. However, a co-passenger of the victim, who got suspicious on seeing the girl travelling alone, contacted Delhi-based NGO Shakti Vahini, which intervened and rescued the girl.

Rishi Kant, an activist working with Shakti Vahini, said: “We coordinated with the police as well as Suraksha, an NGO based in Jaipur, and asked them to intervene. The bus reached Jaipur at 11pm.” He added: “The girl said that she belongs to Jharkhand and was sent to Jaipur via Delhi. It seems an organized inter-state racket is involved in this case, which needs to be investigated by the anti-human trafficking units of the states concerned.”

Kailash Chandra Bishnoi, deputy commissioner of West Jaipur police, said: “An FIR has been registered at the Sindhi Camp police station in Jaipur under Section 370, which deals with human trafficking. The girl has been sent to a rehabilitation centre run by the government here and we will be contacting the Jharkhand police soon. The victim said that she did not even know the reason why she was being sent to Jaipur, nor did she know the person who was going to meet her here.”

Minor sex worker “sold as bride” by live-in partner

cropped-2011_11largeimg221_nov_2011_055031793.jpgPUBLISHED IN THE HINDU

The story of a 16-year-old girl rescued from a village in Haryana, notorious for its skewed sex ratio, is intertwined with the life of Siddhartha. He was arrested on Sunday in connection with a robbery case.

Hailing from a poor family, the girl entered the flesh trade while barely a teen. As a sex worker, she came in contact with Siddhartha, who, after living with her for over a year, sold her off. The buyer, a Mahendragarh resident, paid Rs.80,000 for his “bride”.

Siddhartha purportedly roped in his brother Rahul, who was also arrested on Sunday, to execute the “sale”.

Two women — Mona from Delhi and Kamlesh from Haryana — were also involved in the deal.

According to the police, the deal was struck with the girl’s consent. Siddhartha convinced her that if she stole money from her “groom” Suresh, it would end their financial woes. The naive girl fell for this.

The plan, however, backfired when Suresh sensed his bride’s intentions and confined her. Siddhartha made a valiant attempt to go to Mahendragarh to rescue her, but he was outdone by Suresh’s family, which had more muscle.

Having exhausted all his options, Siddhartha approached the police to report her “abduction”.

On the first day of this year, Siddhartha walked into the Hauz Khas police station and reported her missing since December 8. The police initially quizzed him about the delay in reporting, but he said the girl had gone to live with Mona, a common acquaintance.

“He told us that it was only after Mona stopped answering his calls that he thought of seeking help,” said a police officer.

Investigations later revealed that Siddhartha himself was involved in the sale, but absconded before the police could question him.

Other vital clues ultimately led the police to Mahendragarh, from where they rescued the girl and arrested both Suresh and Kamlesh.

Following her rescue, the girl purportedly told the police that her parents migrated from Bihar to Dwarka here when she was a child. Frequent quarrels between her parents led them to separate and she went to live with her mother. Devoid of any maternal attention, she quit her studies and left home.

“Her only refuge was prostitution,” the officer said.

Assam girl sold & raped in Haryana flees captivity

13582796

PANKAJ SARMA IN THE TELEGRAPH

Guwahati, Feb. 5: A 22-year-old girl from Assam’s Udalguri district, who was sold to a man in Haryana for Rs 80,000 and allegedly gang raped, recently managed to flee the clutches of her captor.

The victim, who belongs to a poor family, was reportedly trafficked for the purpose of forced marriage by her aunt Meena Kumari, who sold her to a resident of Haryana, Suresh.

The victim used to work as an assistant in a garments shop in Guwahati and was lured by Meena Kumari, a resident of Fatasil Ambari here, to visit Sirsa in Haryana on the pretext of visiting her daughter.

On May 7 last year, the victim boarded a Delhi-bound train with her aunt. On reaching Delhi the next day, she was taken to Jind district in Haryana, about 130km from Delhi, and forced to stay in a house for four days. Her aunt told her that she would come back after which they would go to her daughter’s place together. But Meena did not return, the victim told counsellors of Shakti Vahini, a Delhi-based NGO, its spokesperson Rishi Kant said.

After four days, the girl was sold to Suresh, a resident of Haryana’s Kaithal district and the son of a daily wage earner, for Rs 80,000.

The victim told the counsellors that Suresh and his cousin Mahavir raped her. “Suresh even put pressure on her to bear his child. When she refused, she was beaten up severely,” Kant said, quoting the victim.

The girl said she was forced to do all kinds of household work like washing and cleaning. Suresh confined her in his house and subjected her to the worst form of slavery. She would perform household chores the whole day and at night she was sexually abused by Suresh and Mahavir.

“On January 26, the victim managed to escape and reached Kurukshetra, about 50km away, where she narrated her sordid tale to a person who took her to the railway police who referred the case to Kaithal police. Both the accused have been arrested, along with Meena.

Kant said when Shakti Vahini contacted the victim’s family, “her elder brother told us that they did not have any information about her whereabouts”. Kant said the victim’s family members would go to Delhi to bring her back.

A case was registered under different sections of the IPC at Rajound police station in Kaithal district on January 31. The victim is now lodged at Nari Niketan, a women’s shelter home at Karnal in Haryana.

Several such cases have come to light recently. In December last year, police rescued a 32-year-old woman — a mother of two kids and a minor girl from Haryana. Last month, some minor girls trafficked to work as domestics were rescued from Delhi.

Woman rescued after 9 months in ‘slavery’

Image (725)

PUBLISHED IN THE HINDU

A 22-year-old woman from Assam, who was trafficked to Haryana for a forced marriage and sold to a 43-year-old villager in Kaithal, has been rescued. Two persons, including the victim’s aunt Meena Kumari, have been arrested.

Meena, a resident of Guwahati, allegedly coaxed the woman to accompany her to visit her daughter in Sirsa, Haryana . Meena and the woman, a native of Udalguri, boarded a train from Guwahati on May 7 last year and reached Delhi the next day. The woman was then taken to Jind district and made to stay at a house for a couple of days. Meena then left her at the house with a promise to return soon, but she never turned up. The woman then gradually realised that she had fallen into a trap and was sold to one Suresh for Rs.80,000.

On January 26 this year, the victim managed to escape and reached Kurukshetra. On her way, she met a Good Samaritan, who took her to the Railway Police on hearing her ordeal. The matter was then referred to the Kaithal police.

In the meantime, Shakti Vahini, a non-government organisation, contacted her family. Her elder brother told the NGO that the family had no information about her since she left Guwahati.

The woman, who has now been sent to Nari Niketan in Karnal following a medical examination, told the counsellor that she was subjected to the worst kind of slavery and not allowed to step out of the house.

She was forced to do household chores during the day and was sexually abused at night. Suresh’s cousin, Mahavir also allegedly raped her.

“There is a trend of girls from the Northeast being brought to Haryana for forced marriage and bonded labour. The districts of Mewat, Rewari, Karnal, Kurukshetra, Yamunanagar, Jind and Hisar are the most common destinations for these girls. This is a trend in Haryana due to its skewed sex ratio. The traffickers use Delhi as the transit point,” said Rishi Kant of Shakti Vahini.

4 women from Chhattisgarh, minor girl gang-raped in UP

BY RASHMI DROLIA IN THE TIMES OF INDIA

RAIPUR: Cases of people migrating to other states to work as bonded labour and further getting exploited is common in Chhattisgarh. Four women and one minor hailing from Pamgarh in Janjgir-Champa district were gang-raped at Shahabad in Uttar Pradesh on January 20.

The survivors had gone to work at a brick-kiln to UP in Rampur district by a local contractor with their families.

Talking to TOI, Aarif Sheikh, superintendent of police Janjgir-Champa said: “The incident on January 20 when nearly 10-12 goons barged into the survivors’ huts after midnight and locking the men in one room, gang-raped the four women and a girl of 16-year-old taking chances.

The women said that the goons were carrying guns and knives and threatened them not to resist. They had also beaten the women and thrashed their men.”

SP said that the survivors then travelled back to Chhattisgarh and reported the matter to police. After medical examination, a zero FIR was lodged by the district police as the incident took place in other state.

“A team of five police personnel including women officers would be sent to UP for further investigation and case would be registered with UP police on basis of survivors’ version,” Sheikh said.

The contractor Rajkumar Kemath was on the run after the matter reported to police.

“It is part of Chhattisgarh’s culture that people in large migrate to other states to work mainly at brick-kilns in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Nearly 95 per cent of the more than 60 per cent migrated population works at brick-kilns and get paid few ‘paise’ on the basis of per brick made. During the months of February to August, half of the villages get isolated due to migration,” a local activist told TOI.

Rishikant of national NGO Shakti Vahini in New Delhi stressed that it’s the job of police to first check if it was a case of bonded labour and if norms of bonded labour system (abolition) Act were violated.

“If the survivors were not being paid the minimum wages set by state government under specified hours, the case gets even stronger with violation along with gang rape.”

BBC Media Action has been working since a year in Chhattisgarh’s four districts including Mahasamund, Sarguja, Durg and Korba to prevent and create awareness about bonded labour. “People who migrate to other states need to know that they shouldn’t go too far to work as schemes like MNREGA and many others are available at their own places. Secondly, if at all they move, they should inform to the Panchayat so that in case of such kind of untoward incident administration could take proper action.” Adrian Shepherd, project assistant, BBC Media Action programme said.

NCW recommends special legislation against human trafficking

PUBLISHED IN THE TIMES OF INDIA

NEW DELHI: NCW has recommended drafting of a special legislation against human trafficking which includes the UN definition of the crime, besides setting up of a central nodal authority to curb all such activities.

Taking note of increasing cases of human trafficking in Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, the National Commission of Women (NCW) has sent a list of recommendations to the ministries of Home Affairs and Labour to prevent such crimes.

It has recommended drafting of a special legislation to combat human trafficking, especially that of women and children, by including its definition as per Article 3 of UN Convention 2000 and protocol with the term “abuse of position of vulnerability”, which is missing in Section 370 of the IPC.

The body also recommended extending the jurisdiction clause for any offence or contravention of human trafficking committed outside India.

NCW’s inquiry committee said the special act should also have a provision for police training and information exchange by law enforcement, immigration or other relevant authorities.

The training should focus on methods used in preventing such cases and protecting the rights of the victims along with stepping up of security and control of identity documents.

The committee also suggested setting up of a National Nodal Authority to coordinate all anti-human trafficking activities and said steps need to be taken to ensure that the issues of missing persons are linked up with trafficking.

In its recommendation to labour ministry, NCW said a national policy for domestic workers needs to formulated which ensures their rights, including maternity benefits, can be exercised comprehensively.