After Delhi, Haryana new traffickers’ den


Ranchi: The recent arrest of two traffickers have alerted the other human flesh traders in the state who are now shifting their base from posh areas of Delhi to its suburbs, especially Haryana.

In just a week, eight persons, including a woman who is reportedly an associate of trafficking kingpin Pannalal Mahato who would traffic girls to Haryana, have been arrested in Jharkhand

Various NGOs fighting against trafficking in both Delhi and Jharkhand claim that the arrest of Mahato, Baba Bamdev and other wanted traffickers has exposed their network and laid bare their modus operandi. As a result, the traffickers are now shying away from taking the girls to the national capital and shifting to its nearby areas.

Rishi Kant of Delhi-based NGO Shakti Vahini said, “The arrest of Mahato has instilled fear in his associates, who are now operating from suburbs like Faridabad, Gurgaon, Karnal extending up to Jaipur.”

Khunti SP Anish Gupta said now that the associates of Mahato and Bamdev are being identified, there is a fear among traffickers. “Also, parents who were afraid to inform police about their missing children earlier, are now coming forward so we are able to take action.”

On January 22, five men from Haryana namely Vijay Pal, Karan Pal, Vijay Singh, Suresh Kumar and Ramanand Sharma, were arrested by the Koderma district police for trying to convince the parents of a seven-year-old girl to marry her to one of them.

Naushad Alam, subdivisional police officer (SDPO), Koderma said, “The five men were brought to Koderma by two brothers — Mohd Mahtab and Amjad Ali — from Koderma. Mahtab lives in Haryana and Amjad in Koderma.

The job of Amjad was to identify poor families with unmarried daughters and Mahtab used to fix their clients in Haryana.”

Mahtab along with the five men of Haryana arrived at Domchach village of Koderma and were trying to convince parents of the minor to get their girl married to one of them when the locals saw outsiders and informed the police.

“After his arrest, Mahtab revealed that in the past he had worked with Mahato and used to supply girls to him. We got to know that he will be paid Rs 80,000 for the ‘deal’ which included the expenses of wedding to be given to the girl’s parents,” said Alam.

He added, “As the sex-ratio of Haryana is very low, girls from Jharkhand are being sold there for marriage. It is becoming one of the favourite business places for the traffickers after Delhi.”


Trafficked tribal girl returns home with employer’s help

Pahariya Girl TraffickingPUBLISHED IN THE HINDU

A minor Pahariya tribal girl, identified as a Particularly Vulnerable Tribe, from Jharkhand who was trafficked to Delhi from Agra to work as a domestic worker was rescued after her employer’s relative, who is an Inspector with the Delhi Police, informed public authorities and NGO Shakti Vahini. The girl’s family and panchayat head reached Delhi to accompany her back to her Jharkhand village.

“A few years ago, an older girl in my village asked me to go away from the village. I had never left home before and realised later that they had brought me to Agra,” recounted Sonali, in her late teens.

“The employer in Agra beat me regularly almost every day. Then after a year, Pinky brought me to Delhi,” she said.

The Delhi employer’s relative, Rajiv Ratan, informed the Child Welfare Committee and Shakti Vahini that the tribal girl appeared to be a minor and trafficked.

‘Scared and confused’

“She appeared scared and it seemed she had been trafficked. I tried to track her local police station, but she could not recall her village name, or even the State she belonged to at first. Then I informed the NGO members.

They traced her village to Pakur in Jharkhand and then we contacted officials at the Jharkhand Bhawan,” said Mr. Ratan.

Shakti Vahini’s Rishi Kant said the organisation had rescued more than 70 girls from Jharkhand since January.

“The girl’s father reached Delhi three days ago. Unfortunately, he gave the girl a sad news about brother’s death. The family was distraught. Tribal children are particularly vulnerable and we need to have more concerted efforts to prevent trafficking from home States and support the children once they reach Delhi,” said Mr Rishi Kant.

Mukhiya Narayan Mahto who accompanied the girl’s family said several children from the village left their homes for Delhi and Mumbai to work and had lose contact with their families.

Shakti Vahini has rescued more than 70 girls from Jharkhand since January

Jharkhand haats, melas hotbeds of traffickers


RANCHI: Wading past the surging devotees, Poonam Devi makes a desperate bid to reach a man walking a few metres ahead of her. Her struggle ends in vain as he disappears in the crowd out to witness the “rath yatra” that attracts thousands to the Jagannath temple every year in June-July. Tired and breathless, she stops to explain that he is the man who took her 14-year-old daughter away to Delhi without her knowledge. It has been a year and she has not heard from her.

The lone breadwinner for her seven children, Poonam is a widow who makes her living as a daily wage labourer. She came to the 300-year-old mela, which attracts both tribals and non-tribals, hoping to find the man who took her daughter away. Most traffickers are known to families one way or other. They either live in the same community or neighbouring villages. Often they operate through intermediaries in the villages. Oblivious to the evils of the larger world, gullible tribals are the softest targets.

Haat 3Over the years haats (weekly markets) and melas, such as the Jagannath chariot festival, have become hotbed of intermediaries and traffickers to track potential candidates. These huge gatherings are social platforms where boys and girls mingle. Targeted young girls are often lured with the promise of marriage and taken outside Jharkhand.

The presence of sleuths of the anti-human trafficking unit from Khunti district at the Jagannath mela further underlines the dangers confronting the youth from poverty-stricken villages of this region. Aradhna Singh, inspector, AHTU, Khunti said that the number of minors reported missing often increases after melas and haats.

Tribal women selling vegetables and other things at a weekly market. (Getty Images photo)

Tribal women selling vegetables and other things at a weekly market. (Getty Images photo)

Poonam said that the man who lured her daughter away had earlier taken her sons too. When the boys contacted her from Delhi she learnt that they were working as domestic helps. Estimates put domestic workers in India at 50 million. Delhi alone has an estimated 10 lakh workers. Most are migrants. There’s no law to regulate domestic work and placement agencies at the Central or state level.

The boys were not happy with the work condition and wanted to return. When she asked the trafficker to bring them back he was non-committal. Finally, she went to Delhi to bail them out of the mess. Before life could normalise, her daughter vanished from the house. It turned out, after a frenetic search that the same man had taken away her daughter too. Poonam now wants the Jharkhand police to catch the trafficker and punish him.

Walking past the stalls in the mela, even a mention of “Delhi” or a casual reference to trafficking invites angry stares from bystanders. A woman is overheard telling another fellow villager to be cautious and not to engage in any discussion with strangers on Delhi and domestic work.
At the sprawling mela, stalls peddle bows and arrows, iron utensils, fishing nets and bird cages made of bamboo. Villager Dileep Kumar, who makes a livelihood selling fishing nets, hesitantly shares his ordeal. He murmurs that his daughter too was taken to Delhi for work about a year ago and he has not heard from her since. Stark poverty drove her to seek work outside, he says. Worried to the bone, he seeks help to bring his daughter back.

Tribal painting on a wall of a house in a Jharkhand village. (Getty Images photo)

Tribal painting on a wall of a house in a Jharkhand village. (Getty Images photo)

Baidnath Kumar from NGO Diya Seva Sansthan admits that the problem is acute and emphasises on the need to create a state-police and NGO coordination mechanism. To that effect, a missing child helpline was set-up in October 2013. The NGO closely involved in rescue and rehabilitation of victims of trafficking is manning the helpline set-up by CID, Jharkhand. Based on calls received 128 cases of missing children have been registered since October last year. Most victims are girls. As many as 78 children were recovered following up complaints made on the helpline.

Kumar said that in 98% cases, the girls and boys are taken to Delhi followed by Mumbai, Pune and Goa. “Girls from this belt are also being pushed into prostitution by traffickers,” Kumar added.
Rishi kant from NGO Shakti Vahini who has been part of the teams that have rescued many tribal girls from Jharkhand in Delhi, particularly over the last two years, warns that more and more women and minor girls are being brought to Delhi for work by traffickers.

“Due to uneven development in states with substantial tribal population such as Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bengal, Assam and Orissa, such migration of women and minor girls is on the rise,” he said. “The migration happens through unregulated placement agencies that often indulge in human trafficking,” he says.

NGOs working with domestic workers say trafficking in Delhi/NCR has grown over 10 years. “Many girls end up in exploitative circumstances and are treated as slaves. Placement agencies make huge profits and the victims never get salaries for their backbreaking work,” Rishi kant says.

Abused domestic help says she is being pressurised


The victim, who was rescued from Vasant Kunj, says she was forced to sign documents

Seven months after Phul Murmu (name changed), who used to work as a domestic help at Vasant Kunj, was rescued with signs of torture and physical abuse, she has complaint to the police of being pressured to sign documents against her will by two men. She made the complaint to the district police at Sahibganj in Jharkhand on Friday, where her family lives.

“On Thursday, two men came to my house at Atgama village. I had left with my mother to help in her work, lifting sand. They forced my sister to bring them to the river bed where we were working and asked me to sign documents, which I could not read. When I refused, they offered me money and then threatened me. They forced me to sign them,” Phul Murmu told The Hindu over the phone from Sahibganj, where she has been living in a hostel run by NGO Mahila Samakhya. “The girl made a complaint of being forced to sign documents by two men. We are investigating the matter,” said Sahibganj’s Superintendent of Police A.B. Ram.

NGO Shakti Vahini wrote a letter to Jharkhand’s Director General of Police and the Chief Secretary asking them to take cognisance of the matter. “There have been instances of victims being pressured and coerced to change their statements, and this could be one of them. This must be checked and investigated thoroughly,” said Rishi Kant, activist with Shakti Vahini in Delhi.

Phul Murmu, a minor at the time of her rescue in September 2013, bore injury marks all over her face. Vandana Dheer, her employer, was then working as the head of corporate communications with French multinational Alstom.

Murmu had stated that during the four months she worked at Dheer’s house in posh Vasant Kunj, she had hit her with hot utensils, used a knife to peel her skin, and made her drink urine twice to punish her. Dheer was arrested in October under Sections 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons), 342 (wrongful confinement) of the Indian Penal Code, and the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, and got bail two months later.

Dorothy, accused of running a placement agency that trafficked Phul Murmu from Jharkhand, got bail in October 2013. There has been a spate of incidents over the last year of domestic workers fleeing or being rescued from Delhi’s residential colonies and placements agencies after they being beaten, and in several instances sexually assaulted. Murmu’s rescue by the Delhi Police and Shakti Vahini was soon followed by a case in November in which Dhananjay Singh, the then Bahujan Samajwadi Party sitting MP from Jaunpur, U.P., and his wife Jagriti Singh were arrested in connection with the death of Rakhi Bhadra, a 35-year old domestic worker, in their house.

These cases have, however, not deterred abuse of domestic workers. On April 27, a tribal girl in her late teens from Singhbhum in Jharkhand working as a domestic worker in Model Town was found dead with injuries.

Her employer businessman Sachin Jindal and his wife Shilpi Jindal were arrested in connection with the death.

Maid to Suffer

Published in the Pioneer

Deprived, enslaved and tortured — young girls are being trafficked into Delhi by unscrupulous maid placement agencies on false promises of decent employment and salary. According to activists, labour trafficking is the most organised crime in India, sadly without a law to curb it. Deebashree Mohanty brings you the sordid tale of the Capital’s home helps and why this crime will keep burgeoning in the absence of any effective punishment

  • July 2013: Of the 24 girls rescued from a placement agency by Bachpan Bachao Andolan, 18 were pregnant and under 15 years.
  • August 2013: Two girls from Jharkhand (both minors and seven months pregnant) were rescued from a well established placement agency in Lajpat Nagar IV. So ashamed were they about their plight that they refused to go home despite their fathers pleading with them. They said they would rather die here than face humiliation at home.
  • January 2013: Three girls were rescued from a businessman’s house in Janakpuri East. Aged eight, 13 and 16, they were bonded labour. The eldest one had had two abortions in a year and the younger one has been seriously abused. Their master sent them to his relatives’ houses to work for free. None had been paid for 18 months.
  • May 2013: A 16-year-old maid from Nepal ran away from a house in Ghaziabad. She had injury marks on her head and private parts. She had been assaulted by her employer and his brother-in-law for six months. She said she was raped and beaten up frequently. When she asked the owners to send her back to the agency, they locked her up in their basement and beat her up. Doctors say she is unlikely to recover from trauma.
  • These girls are brought into the Capital, made to work as bonded labour and misguided about where they are being taken and for what purpose. Once they are here from their villages, it’s an unending trail of deceit and torture. They are exploited sexually and thrashed at the placement agency by several men. When they are “placed”as maids, they end up being physically and mentally abused by their employers

Kailash Satyarthi, founder of Bachpan Bachao Andolan

Whether it is the yellow page services like justdial, or portals like asklaila or, for that matter, your friendly neighbourhood helping hand, placement agencies are everywhere — some registered, others working on word by mouth but none regulated by law to protect the rights of domestic workers.

“It is the illegal and irregulated supply chain in the form of agencies and brokers that need to be taken to task. There are no less than 250 large placement agencies in the Capital and law doesn’t recognise even a single one of them. They are all illegal and work under false alias. Most of the people behind these agencies are criminals wanted by the police or have served term for something or the other,” says Satyarthi.

In the long haul of busting such unscrupulous agents, Satyarthi adds that it is difficult to monitor such operators. “We have busted many small agencies which supply girls not just as maids but to brothels too. Still, there are many who manage to escape our notice. These are mastermind criminals who have their network in localised places. These local goons work in tandem and supply children to agency owners who then sell them off as labour. Nowadays, most agencies work under the false name of samitis or welfare societies. More audaciously, some have even registered themselves as NGOs working for child rights! This is one of the most well organised crimes difficult to crack,” senior inspector Abhjeet Ray, investigating the Pritampura maid abuse case, says.

He tells you that in this particular case, the owners had paid the maid agency Rs 35,000 as a yearly contract and a monthly sum of Rs 2,800 due to the girl was also paid to the agency. The sad part is that the agency knew the girl was being tortured but it didn’t come to her rescue.

“When my team went to rescue the maid locked up in the ground floor house No 1178 in Vasant Kunj Sector A, Ms Vandana Dhir made them wait for over four hours and showed up with her lawyer. When she opened the door, what my team saw they we will never forget. They recounted how the maid’s nails and body had been brutalised. She was is extreme trauma. She could not speak much about her sustained torture but the details will come out soon,” Rishi Kant, founder of Shakti Vahini, the NGO that helped rescue this maid from Dhir, says.

And that’s just one case. In July 2013, Bachpan Bachao Andolan rescued 13 girls who were being exploited at an agency called Adivasi Samiti which was registered as an NGO in Kirti Nagar. This so called NGO was supplying maids to houses as far away as Faridabad and Noida. More than 90 per cent of these girls were minors living in pathetic conditions in the NGO’s official premises. “They were huddled up with boys in a 6/6 room. Most of these girls had been molested. To escape the abuse, they had requested the manager to get them homes where they could work. They were so desperate to move out that they were ready to accept whatever was thrown their way. And, what may happen to them at their employer’s place was purely their luck,” Satyarthi says.

Pinki Senapathy (name changed) was sold to one such samiti by her aunt for a paltry Rs 5,000 when she was only 14. She had been brought in on a ruse of being taken to Delhi for a summer vacation. Little did she know that she would be made to work and carry out all sorts of chores for the “placement agent” to whom she was sold, and his friends. While at this agency, where she was left by her aunt, she was made to cook, wash utensils and clothes of all residents. Her master demanded all kinds of sexual favours, including oral sex which she performed on a number of occasions. Pinki got pregnant five times and bore a child out of wedlock when she was 20. She doesn’t know who the father of her four-year-old son is. Today, she is long dead.

Pinki and her son found owners in Chattarpur in 2011. She was working as a full-time maid on a Rs 2000 a month salary for all household work, including cooking three meals a day. Her employer, a banker and his wife, thought they had got a real good deal. When Pinki came to work here, she carried the wounds inflicted on her at the agency. One visit to a doctor revealed she was AIDS-infected. She was thrown out with her son immediately without a penny to her name.

“Pinki was spotted by a sevasharam karamchari who got her to us. She passed away in July 2012. Her son, who is also HIV positive, is admitted in a ward in Safdarjung Hospital,” Minu Yadav, founder and chairperson of the NGO SAVE India, says. Yadav has rescued many girls from evil agents and employers. But she is appalled that even after so much has been done and so much noise created, the Government continues to turn a blind eye to the issue.

In 2011, 314 minors died due to abuse. In 2012, the number escalated to 789 (mostly reported from Delhi) and in 2013, the number is already alarming. But with no law in place, there is no stopping such illegal trafficking of the fertile domestic workforce.

While New Delhi is the epicentre of such nefarious crimes, most girls are trafficked from Assam, Meghalaya, Jharkhand and Odissa. “In early 2000, girls were being brought from Bangladesh and sold here. But since the borders laws and the police turned strict, inter-state trafficking has increased. These criminals are no standalone individuals. They are well networked and influential,” Yadav tells you.

Satyarthi gives you an example of how such a network works: In January 2013, BBA rescued a girl from Assam when she was being arrested for selling girls of her village to agency owners in Delhi. The truth in fact was something very horrifying. It was her maternal uncle who had sold her off to a placement agency in Patparganj. After being repeatedly raped, this girl pleaded with the agent to let her go. But the agency had something else in store for her. They asked her to bring four girls as her replacement and then she would be free to return to her village.

“At first, she thought of running away. But she had no money or idea about the city. So, she complied. She got four girls to Delhi through phone calls back home. When one of her replacements ran away, she was forced to bring in another replacement. She managed to get her cousin to Delhi under the pretext of showing her the city. When she left for her village, there was quite another scene waiting for her there. The agency owners had informed the local police in Assam that she was their main supplier of girls (even infants). She was jailed and tortured for three months before our NGO rescued her,” Satyarthi recalls.

These multi-million rupee maid business is so murky and well organsied that agents hail from all kind of regions and cater to all kind of demands by future employers. Helps with specific gotra, caste, type, religion — you name it and they have one ready for you as take away.

So, is there a way out of this unending exploitation of rural manpower? Activists say that in more than 60 per cent cases, the woes of these girls only double. These helps are so desperate to get away from the agency that they succumb to whatever comes their way. They are ready to make any kind of compromise. Many die a thousand deaths before being rescued.

In August 2013, Gayatri, 18, was found locked in a servant’s room in Netaji Nagar, Type VI quarters. She had been locked up for two days without water or food. She was lying unconscious in a pool of her own urine and vomit. Gayatri’s employer, a bureaucrat, was away for a get-together when Sai Kripa rescued her on a tip-off by a cook.

Gayatri was being punished for having used the employer’s bathroom and hairbrush. She was beaten up by the bureaucrat’s wife with the same brush and dragged into the room. And this was not the first time. Gayatri had been beaten up, humiliated in front of guests and locked up without food or water on seven earlier occasions. Each time, the couple would give her food only after three days of punishment!

“Gayatri had several internal hemorrhages and she doesn’t remember any of her family members. She told us that once she was beaten up so mercilessly with a steel rod that she fractured her hand. Her employers did not take her to a hospital to get her a plaster. She was made to work in this painful condition,” Anupama Goswami from Sai Kripa tells you. The matter was reported to the police but nothing concrete has yet been done.

The biggest gap in dealing with the situation lies in the lack of appropriate measures for the recovery, rehabilitation and integration of victims. Post rescue, there are no effective measures available, particularly for victims of sexual exploitation.

“It will go a long way to have a Standard Operating Procedure, which not only defines the standards that need to be followed during the different stages of rescue, rehabilitation, repatriation and reintegration, but also define the roles of stakeholders such as the police, medical professionals and civil society organisations in this process. In the context of minors, this assumes greater significance and all-out efforts need to be made to ensure that processes and procedures are child friendly and do not allow for retraumatisation,” Vijaylakshmi Arora, Cry’s policy research and advocacy director, concludes.

Torture tale

Sitting motionless in the surgical ward of Safdarjung Hospital, Gauri (name changed), the maid rescued from 1178, Sector A, Vasant Kunj, has only wish. ‘Mujhe yahan nahin rahna hai,’ she keeps saying even in sleep. Although doctors say she is stable and will recover from the physical trauma soon, they are concerned that she may never be able to forget the atrocities meted out to her.

“When they got her to the hospital, there was swelling on her face, arms and legs. There were deep gashes, burn marks from a hot tawa and infected open wounds. There was a six- inch cut on her head infected by maggots close to the skull bone. Gauri was in shock,” a hospital attendant says.

Today, Gauri has her mother for company but she wants to go back to her village Sahibaganj in Jharkhand as soon as possible. Her mother can’t stop blaming herself for all that her daughter has gone through.

“I am to blame for all this. She came to Delhi looking for a living after her father passed away in 2010. For the first two years, she was doing quite well. She earned decently. Gauri would keep in touch, updating us about her whereabouts. In June, she wanted to leave everything and return. She was then working with a doctor couple in Lajpat Nagar. But the agency asked her to wait till December. Unwillingly, Gauri started to work with the Dhirs in Vasant Kunj,” her mother recounts.

Pallavi, who has been working with Shakti Vahni for 11 months, was present at this raid and she recounts how horrified she was to see Gauri at first.

“In just three months she was a battered girl. Gauri told me that the first time she was beaten up was when she used the western toilet wrongly. She was made to lick her own urine and served food in the bathroom. She says she spent most of her days locked in the washroom,” Pallavi says.

Incidentally, the employer was known for inhuman behaviour. “Most residents of this colony told us that there was something wrong with the Dhirs,” Pallavi adds.

Railway stations to get child protection panels


Stations are a major hub of human trafficking

Known to be major transit points for human trafficking, railway stations will soon get Child Protection Committees (CPCs), as per the standard operating procedure developed by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).

The committees are being instituted in compliance with a Delhi High Court directive on safeguarding child rights.

The procedure mandates a provision for CPCs, comprising a station manager, superintendent or master, representatives from the Government Railway Police and the Railway Protection Force, a ticket inspector and a section engineer.

“The CPCs at every major railway station will be responsible and authorised to set and ensure the mechanism for care and protection of children at and around railway stations. It will function as a nodal and apex body for provision of all child protection issues at the railway station-level,” said a recent note of the Railway Board.

Instructions have also been issued to establish children assistance centres at railway stations, with a pre-defined provision for food, temporary shelter, clothing, toilet facilities, first-aid and medicines for the children in need.

A woman Railway employee will manage the centre to ensure that girls get proper attention till they are produced before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC). The centre may be managed with the help of non-government organisations.

The Committee, which will be required to hold monthly review meetings, has been made responsible for the upkeep of the assistance centres, arranging emergency support, maintaining emergency contact numbers of stakeholders, monitoring child protection systems, maintaining records of the children and displaying advocacy messages.

It will also coordinate with the CWC and the Juvenile Justice Board, besides ensuring pro-active vigilance on potential child abusers loitering about the stations.

The responsibilities of ticket-checkers have also been outlined; they are to keep a close watch on potential child abusers/traffickers and alert the security personnel accordingly.

The station’s Assistant Manager (Commercial) will be appointed the nodal officer on behalf of the Chairman of the Railway Board.

Railway officials, as part of the unit, will undergo training on issues of child rights and protection.

Several non-government organisations working with victims of child abuse and trafficking have welcomed the initiative, stating that it would help check crimes against minors.

“The Old Delhi, New Delhi, Hazrat Nizamuddin and, now, the Anand Vihar railway stations are vital transit points used by child traffickers,” said Rishi Kant of NGO Shakti Vahini.

He added: “The children are trafficked into the city from Bihar, Assam, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh for various purposes, including bonded labour in factories and embroidery units. Minor girls are also pushed into prostitution and taken to Punjab and Haryana for forced marriages. The setting up of the Child Protection Committees at railway stations will help curb forced migration and consequent abuse of children.”

Woman, girl rescued from Haryana

Haryana Trafficking


Guwahati, Dec. 27: A mother of two who was sold off as a bride and a minor girl who was held captive by a man, both from Morigaon district of Assam, were rescued from Haryana in two separate raids this week.

A police source said the 32-year-old woman, a mother of two kids, was lured by a man from Bongaigaon district with the promise of a job in Delhi.

While her husband and children stayed in Morigaon, she went to Delhi in the hope of a job that could get her out of penury but was instead handed her over to a trafficker who sold her to a man in Haryana for Rs 67,000.

The man forced her into marriage and subjected her to the worst form of slavery. “She would perform household chores the entire day and at night the man would exploit her sexually,” the source said.

After three months, the woman somehow managed to call her family, following which a police team from Assam went to Haryana and rescued her with the help of their counterparts in that state on Wednesday. A case has been registered in Morigaon.

The minor girl was rescued from Faridabad town by police with the help of an anti-trafficking non-governmental organisation, Shakti Vahini.

Rishi Kant of Shakti Vahini said the 10-year-old revealed during counselling that she had been taken to Haryana by her elder sister, who is married into a family there. Her sister got her a job with one Nempal, who kept her confined in his house under Sarai Khwaja police station.

“The victim was forced to do all kinds of household work, including washing utensils and clothes, cleaning and taking care of Nempal’s kids. During the rescue operation, the girl was found extremely traumatised,” Kant said.

“Unable to bear the torture, the girl somehow escaped from the house but was caught by Nempal. When the residents of the locality opposed this, he shifted her to another house in a nearby lane.”

The NGO was tipped off about the girl’s plight by one of its sources. “We immediately contacted Haryana police who sent a team to rescue the girl from Nempal’s residence. During the rescue operation, the team faced stiff resistance,” he said, adding that the girl was held captive for 21 days.

The minor was produced before Faridabad Child Welfare Committee after a medical examination.

According to the committee’s directive, the girl was given shelter at a children’s home. Simultaneously, Shakti Vahini contacted the Morigaon superintendent of police and told him about the girl.

“The SP took swift action and sent a team of Assam police to Faridabad. He also sent a letter requesting the girl’s custody. The Child Welfare Committee, Faridabad, handed over the girl to Assam police and directed them to produce her before the Child Welfare Committee, Morigaon, and submit a report,” Kant said.

Reasons for trafficking from Assam
Displacement and loss of livelihood because of communal violence, flood and erosion
Acute poverty
Demand for domestics in metros
Shortage of girls for marriage in Haryana and Punjab
Lack of sustainable job opportunities