They come to Delhi from the boondocks with dreams of a job, and most often with the hope of not going to bed on an empty stomach. Instead, they encounter an ugly reality – backbreaking work with no pay, little to eat, sexual abuse and physical assault.

Women and child rights activists claimed that one in every five domestic worker rescued in Delhi complains of sexual abuse, either by the employer or people in the ‘placement agency’ that helps her get the job.Shakti Vahini and Bachpan Bachao Andolan claimed that they rescued 220 housemaids last year, most of them juveniles. Every fifth rescued girl told a similar story of sexual abuse by their employer or the placement agency owner, officials of the two NGOs said.

It was always suspected that those who run these agencies sexually abuse the youngsters the moment they reach Delhi…

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