Saudi diplomat, wife accused of using two Nepalese women as sex slaves

indexAccording to the FIR filed by the police in Gurgaon, the two women were lured to India with a false promise of jobs.

India could be trapped in a major diplomatic scandal after a senior diplomat belonging to the Saudi Embassy was accused, along with his wife, of keeping two Nepalese women as sex slaves in Gurgaon.

According to the FIR filed by the police in Gurgaon, the two women had been lured to India with a false promise of jobs, and then sold to the diplomat, who is the First Secretary at the embassy.

According to the statements of the victims, aged 30 and 50, they were held captive by the First Secretary’s family for over three months, and were taken to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for a few days as well. During the entire period, the women said, they were repeatedly raped and forced to perform “unnatural sex” for the diplomat and other Saudi nationals, often at knife-point.

An official who was aware of the women’s account of their captivity called the details “horrifying.”

The Saudi embassy, dismissing the charges as “completely false” and “contrary to facts in our possession”, said it would wait for the Indian government to clarify on the matter as per diplomatic norms, IANS reported

An MEA official said the Saudi embassy’s version and that of the Nepalese embassy that has taken up the issue “were different and need to be reconciled.”

Assistant Commissioner of Police (Crime) and Gurgaon police spokesperson Rajesh Chechi said the women were rescued by Gurgaon police after a Nepalese NGO that deals with trafficking heard about their plight from another Nepali victim.

The women had been held in the upmarket residential area of DLF-Phase II in Gurgaon. The Gurgaon police raided the home after the Nepalese embassy in Delhi contacted the government for help. A rape case had been registered, PTI reported, but the diplomat was “untraceable.”

“We have sought a report from the local police,” the MEA spokesperson said.

Officials said they feared the diplomat, whose wife and father have also been charged, has taken a flight out of Delhi already.

An official said that given their diplomatic status “there was no chance” of arrest. “Despite the terrible nature of the crime, unless the Saudi Arabian government waives it, the immunity will protect them completely.”

The victims, residents of Banglung and Biratnagar districts in Nepal, said they had been lured by a woman trafficker to Delhi four months ago on the promise of a job and handsome salary in Saudi Arabia. The two were, however, sold to another agent in Delhi for Rs.1 lakh each and then to the Saudi diplomat, who they identified as ‘Majid’. “Majid first took the two women to Saudi Arabia. The abuse continued after he returned with them to Delhi three months ago and kept them in captivity at his DLF house,” said Bal Krishan, the president of Maiti Nepal India.

The ordeal of the two women came to light when another woman sold to the diplomat 10 days ago managed to escape and alerted Maiti Nepal India that works in the areas of prostitution, trafficking and child labour. The NGO contacted the Nepal embassy and a letter was written to the Gurgaon police in this regard.

The Gurgaon police team then raided the house on Monday afternoon and rescued the women. Mr. Krishan, who was present during the rescue, said the diplomat’s family put up a resistance.

The case mirrors cases of trafficking and slavery in the U.K. and the U.S. In 2011, a case in the U.K. involving two Indonesian women held as slaves by a Saudi diplomat in London had caused an uproar after details emerged of their ill-treatment.

In 2013, another case involving two women from the Philippines, held captive for months by the Saudi defence attaché and his wife living in a mansion in Virginia, U.S., had led to similar outrage.

In both cases, the diplomats could not be prosecuted due to immunity, and a U.K. court ruled that the Indonesian women were not eligible for any compensation either. In this case, Nepal embassy officials said that they were hoping to pursue the case with Saudi authorities, and would help repatriate the two victims to Nepal at the earliest.

(The article has been corrected for a factual error)

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Battered and bruised, some return, some are never to be seen again..

180777_10150095433357197_5102103_nBy N Sai Published in the DNA News

In the last of the three-part series, dna travels to remote villages of India’s ‘slavery belt’, some of the remotest and backward areas of Jharkhand. Rescued slaves and the parents of those who have never come back reveal what makes these tribals easy targets

Ranchi: The road to Jahupkokotoli village in the Maoist-hit district of Gumla is a contradiction of sorts. As the two-lane road snakes through the forests and rolling hills of the Chottanagpur plateau, bauxite-laden trucks are the only constant reminder of activity here. Yet the public transport to this part of Jharkhand from the state capital Ranchi is rickety. The only bus everyday is as uncertain as life in this extremely backward region of India. Despite the lack of public transport, thousands of tribal boys and girls from Gumla-Khunti-Simdega region, India’s unofficial ‘slavery belt’, are transported and trafficked to upper middle class and rich homes of Delhi. After a period of enslavement and unpaid forced labour, many return battered and bruised. Some are never to be seen again. Some still carry on.

In Jahupkokotoli, an aboriginal hamlet of 160 Oraon tribal families, 45-year-old Mathoo comes running with a picture of his 14-year-old daughter. “Help me find her. I haven’t seen her after she went away in 2007,” says Mathoo. His daughter would be 21 now, but Mathoo doesn’t know her fate after she was taken by a ‘placement agent’ from a neighbouring village to Delhi to work as a domestic help. Within two months, the agent sent Mathoo Rs 1000 as a payment for his daughter’s ‘services’. Next year, he called up the agent again to inquire about his daughter. “The agent said that my daughter had run away and that he did not know her whereabouts. I do not know whether she is dead or alive,” says Mathoo.

A few houses away from Mathoo’s is the hut of Hari Oraon. His 16-year-old daughter Pramila was taken by an agent to Delhi in early 2014. But she ‘escaped’ within four months and came back. According to her statement to police, Pramila was taken to Delhi by another woman of the same village in the promise of a better life. As soon as she arrived in Delhi she was escorted to a Shakurpur-based placement agency by an agent. They took her finger prints on a piece of paper and sent her to work as a domestic maid at three different homes in Delhi. Facing ill-treatment and not having been paid by any of her employers or the placement agency, Pramila escaped. Lost on the streets in Delhi, she begged another woman to take her home. The woman instead handed her over to the Delhi police. The Delhi police handed her over to a shelter home in the capital from where she was taken to Kishori Niketan, a rehab centre for trafficked women in Bijupara, Jharkhand. Finally in April 2014, she was re-united with her family. For her work as a domestic help in Delhi, Pramila wasn’t paid any money. “The police left her in nearby Bishunpur from where we picked her up and got her home,” says Hari Oraon. “She says she will never go back to Delhi.”

Off the road from Bishunpur lies the Dalit village of Hadiya Toli, literally translating into ‘wine village’. There is no road connectivity to the village and reaching here requires walking a kilometre on a dusty track. The name of 15-year-old Sarita alias Budhni evinces a peculiar response from the village men. “That Dilli-return?”, one asks with a wry smile. “Who knows where she is,” says another. “Ask her mother. She might know.” We find her mother working outside her hut and as the conversation about her daughter nears completion, she says, “Who will marry her now? Who knows what might have happened to her in Delhi?”

Sarita disappeared from her house in 2013 with five other girls after an agent in her village promised her lucrative money in Delhi. Sarita says, “I was promised a monthly wage of Rs 5000. After working four months for an agency in Motinagar in Delhi, I asked for some money. They refused and locked me up instead. I begged to let me go home. But they said I cannot go home before I completed five years. Then one day the police raided the place and they took me in their custody,” says Sarita. She was finally sent home in April 2013.

“There were other girls in that house. I do not know what happened to them. I did not even get the money for my work,” says Sarita. When asked about the nature of her work, Sarita maintains an uneasy silence. Sarita is lucky enough to be back in her village. Even though her village doesn’t have either electricity, drinking water supply or roads, she feels safer here than in any of Delhi’s slave holes.

Phulin Murmu, 18, however doesn’t want to return to her village. Phulin Murmu is not a name that would ring a bell. But when she was found burnt, battered and bitten in a house in South Delhi’s posh Vasant Kunj locality it made national headlines in October 2013. She was found in the house of Vandana Dhir, an executive with a French multinational. Murmu’s body bore hot girdle-induced burn marks, deep scars on the head and bite marks all over her body. She was forced to drink urine, prevented from using the bathroom and confined in the house in a semi-naked condition before being rescued. She was working unpaid for two years before being rescued.

DNA tracked her down at a rehabilitation centre in Khunti, one of the hardest hit districts of the slavery belt. She is being educated and trained at the Mahilya Samkhya Society, which she shares with around 30 other minor girls, many of whom are rescued slaves. Phulin can barely write her name, the scars still show on her face. But she details her three years of enslavement with a brave face and with no emotion. “It is for the first time that I am seeing her talk so openly. It seems she is recovering well from the trauma,” says Asha Kusum, the warden of the institution. The Mahilya Samkhya Society is wary of letting Phulin rejoin her parents in her village. They ask her father to come to town for Christmas. They don’t want to take a chance again. “Most kids are from extremely poor tribal families. Their parents will send them to Delhi for any small amount. Phulin is safe here – from poverty and from agents who would want to prey on her again. She is still scared inside. She will only get better,” says Ms Kusum

नाबालिग को शादी का झांसा देकर ले जाने के आरोप में आठ गिरफ्तार

d4328

PUBLISHED IN DAINIK JAGRAN

कोडरमा: एक ओर प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी हरियाणा के पानीपत में बेटी बचाओ, बेटी पढ़ाओ अभियान की शुरुआत कर रहे थे, दूसरी तरफ मानव तस्करी के उद्देश्य से कोडरमा सुदूरवर्ती ग्रामीण क्षेत्र की एक नाबालिग बेटी को शादी का झांसा देकर हरियाणा के एक अधेड़ उम्र के युवक ले जाने आया थे। पुलिस ने दूल्हा समेत इस मामले में लिप्त कुल आठ लोगों को गुरुवार को गिरफ्तार कर जेल भेज दिया।

गिरफ्तार लोगों में हरियाणा के गंगाचाप रेवाड़ी निवासी विजय पाल, करमपाल (दोनों पिता छोटू राम) विजय सिंह, पिता महाबीर सिंह, सुरेश कुमार, पिता तलवीर सिंह, रामानंद शर्मा, पिता ईश्वर लाल, मुनिया मसोमात पति स्व. सिराज डोमचांच, मो. महताब व मो. अमजद अली (दोनों पिता जलालुद्दीन तारानाखो राजधनवार, गिरिडीह) शामिल हैं। इसे लेकर आरोपियों के विरुद्ध डोमचांच थाना में मानव व्यापार अधिनियम के तहत मामला दर्ज किया गया है। पुलिस के अनुसार डोमचांच थाना अंतर्गत पंचगांवा की रहनेवाली एक गरीब परिवार की नाबालिग लड़की से शादी करने के नाम पर उसे ले जाने की तैयारी चल रही थी। इसी दौरान ग्रामीणों ने पुलिस को सूचना दी। डोमचांच पुलिस ने तत्परता दिखाते हुए मौके पर पहुंच कर सभी आरोपियों को गिरफ्तार कर लिया। आरोपियों ने बताया कि वे लोग पांच दिन पूर्व यहां शादी करने के लिए आए थे।

सातवीं की है छात्रा

कोडरमा: जिस लड़की से शादी कर ले जाने आए थे वह लड़की सातवीं कक्षा की छात्रा है। लड़की ने बताया कि वह अभी पढ़ना चाहती है। लड़की की मां ने बताया कि बगल की एक महिला ने आकर कहा कि बेटी की शादी करोगी । गरीबी एवं लड़की के पिता की मानसिक स्थिति ठीक नहीं होने के कारण हमने हां कर दी। उन्होंने कहा कि इससे पूर्व भी डोमचांच क्षेत्र से तीन-चार लड़कियों को हरियाणा शादी के नाम पर ले जाया गया है।

मामले को महिला सीआईडी को भेजा जायेगा: एसपी

कोडरमा: कोडरमा एसपी संगीता कुमारी ने इस मामले को गंभीरता से लेते हुए कहा कि आरोपियों पर सख्त कार्रवाई की जाएगी। इस मामले को अपराध अनुसंधान शाखा के पास भेजा जायेगा। उन्होंने कहा कि उक्त लड़की की कस्तूरबा गांधी स्कूल में नामांकन कराकर आगे पढ़ने की व्यवस्था की जाएगी।

NCW set to propose legalisation of sex trade, Centre expresses displeasure

IBN LIVE

New Delhi: The National Commission for Women (NCW) is set to propose legalisation of sex trade to a committee appointed by the Supreme Court but according to sources the Women & Child Development ministry isn’t in favour the idea.

Ever since the news of the National Commission for Women’s deciding to propose legalizing sex trade before a Supreme Court constituted panel, a debate has been raging. In the dark dingy lanes of Delhi’s infamous red light area, GB road, it’s always been business as usual.

It’s unclear how many of these women opt into the flesh trade… and how many are forced into it by others – But an overwhelming majority seemed to back the idea of legalising prostitution.

“If it’s legalised then we won’t get harrased by police..we would have the rights to file a complaint against a customer ,” said a sex worker but there’s also a huge segment against this, “traffickers were get emboldened – rehabilitate us, don’t legalise it,” said another sex worker.

Some members of the SC appointed panel too have their reservations. Making brothels legal will make them vulnerable, we are against any move to legalise prostitution, said president of Shakti Vahini Ravi Kant. .

While the NCW chief who made headlines with her statements supporting legalisation, has suddently gone mum on the issue, “Won’t comment on sex workers issue,” said Laitha.

Women’s groups too are deeply divided, Shabnam Khan said, “It’s a good move provided they get all facilities like helath care etc.”

While women & child ministry hasn’t commented on the issue yet – A delegation of members of women’s groups in India met NCW chairperson and submitted a memorandum urging it to go in for a national-level consultation with all sections on the matter.

Trafficking Kingpin Pannalal Arrest Brings Focus to Illegal Placement Agencies Indulging in Human Trafficking

SUNITASHAKTI VAHINI PRESS RELEASE/ 24 October 2014

The hide and seek of Panna Lal and his wife came to an end on 19th October, 2014 with their arrest by Crime Branch Delhi and Jharkhand Anti-human Trafficking Unit under various charges from Shakurpur area of Delhi. 31 years old Panna Lal and his 37 year old wife Sunita were most wanted in various FIRs in Jharkhand. Human Trafficking kingpin, Panna Lal and his wife have been trafficking minor and young tribal girls from the remote areas of Jharkhand.

Search For Pannalal and His Wife

On 13th October, Panna Lala’s Sister in law Gayatri was arrested for illegally bringing minor girls from Jharkhand and then selling them off in domestic Slavery. Gayatri was also a named accused in a FIR in Jharkhand. Fearlessly, she was running a Gayatri placement agency in M Block, Shakurpur, Delhi and operating from there.

On 13th October, 2014 a raid was conducted by Jharkhand AHTU team and Delhi Crime Branch along with Shakti Vahini (for search of trafficked victims) in which Gayatri was arrested. She was produced in Rohini court same day and was later taken to Jharkhand.

A search for Panna Lal and Sunita was also conducted at different hideout of Panna Lal in Shakur Pur but the couple was not found. Meanwhile a strong informer network was developed by Jharkhand AHTU in Shakurpur to get the details of Panna Lal and his wife.

Arrest of Pannalal and His Wife

Jharkhand AHTU S.I Aradhana Singh kept a watch at the house of Panna Lal in Shakurpur through informers. Getting a tip off from the informer about the whereabouts of Panna Lal and Sunita, Sub Inspector Aradhana Singh immediately Co-ordinated with Delhi Crime Branch and a raid was conducted early morning at Panna Lal’s residence in Shakur Pur and both were arrested on 19th October, 2014.

Jharkhand AHTU team reached Delhi to take the custody of Panna Lal and Sunita. With no remorse on their faces, the Couple was produced before Duty Magistrate, Rohini Court at around 2:30 P.M and were sent to Tihar Jail. Jharkhand AHTU will be given the custody of the couple in their next production before the court.

IMG_5222Modus Operendi of Panna Lal and Sunita

Panna Lal and Sunita were running more than 200 illegal placement agencies with different names in Delhi whereby they were bringing minor girls from Jharkhand and were selling them as domestic slaves with an advance payment of Rs 20,000 to Rs 30,000/- per girl, in the affluent house of Delhi.

Panna Lal and wife Sunita used to target the minor girls and the most vulnerable families of remote and tribal areas of Jharkhand. Once a girl is being targeted, she is lured with false promises of marriage, good job, education or good life. Families were also given assurance that the girl will be given a good life and her salary will be sent to them every month. After the girl is being taken to Delhi, she is confined and placed into houses by these placement agencies of Panna Lal, to work from early morning till late nights without any break or holiday. The salary of the girl is also taken by Panna Lal. Every girl is placed in a house for 11 months and was then after 11 months she is further placed in other house. Victims are not allowed to go back to their home or to meet their relatives.

The trafficking victims were exploited not only by these persons but also by their employers. Those who are fortunate enough get rescued by Police or anti-Trafficking organisation while other stay confined as slaves.

Delhi: A hub of illegally running placement agencies

Delhi has rapidly become a hub for placement agencies in past few years. Areas like Tughlakabad, Ranibagh, Punjabi Bagh, Shakurpur, Shakarpur etc emerged out as centres for these placement agencies. There more than 10,000 placement agencies illegally running in Delhi and more than 4000 of these agencies are situated at Shakurpur only under the jurisdiction of Subhash Place police station. While a very small number of these agencies are registered under Labour Department but they have not comply with the rules yet. There is no law to regulate these agencies so far due to which these agencies are fearlessly trafficking minors from States of Jharkhand, Bihar, Assam, West Bengal and Orissa. Even if an agency is raided and closed down, the agents get away easily and reopen a new agency with different name and address and the never ending cycle of exploitation of minor girls continues.

Jharkhand C.I.D, last year handed over a list of 240 agents and agencies running illegally in Delhi and involved in trafficking minor girls from Jharkhand, a copy of which was also given to Shakti Vahini. The names of Panna Lal and Sunita were also exposed in the list. The Jharkhand police was looking out for these two traffickers since a long time and with the arrest of Panna Lal and Sunita, Jharkhand police hoping that many other names may come out.

PLACEMENTRole of placement agencies in Child Trafficking

Placement agencies are playing a major role in trafficking minor girls as well as children for the purpose of labour, sex slavery and forced marriages. The traffickers have changed their modus operandi with the changes in law and society.

In most of the cases the trafficker is known to the victim who convinces the victim and her/his family and further sell them over to placement agent. The placement agencies generally recruit a person to target the girls and then pick them up (By luring or sometimes by kidnapping) and bring them to main cities of the state. From the main cities another person come in charge and further take the victims to railway station from where they are handed over to another person and brought to Delhi. After reaching Delhi, the victims are further handed over to another person and brought to Placement agencies.

Some victims are then placed in various houses as domestic help with a payment of Rs 20,000/- to Rs 30,000/- , while others are sold off into forced marriages or Prostitution. The girls who are placed in houses with a monthly salary of Rs 1000 or Rs 3000 never get their wages. A girl is placed in one house for 11 months and every month the placement agencies take their salary which never reaches the victims or their families. Once a victim completes her 11 months in house, she is further placed into another house and the exploitation continues.

For objecting the work given by placement agencies, the victims are tortured, thrashed and beaten up badly, many times these victim girls report sexual violence and assault by the placement agents and even by their employers. The girls are kept confined in the placement agencies till the time they are sold further.

These placement agencies keep on changing their addresses, name and contact details to escape from law. Taking benefits of various loop holes in law and government machineries the placement agencies operate freely and actively.

What can be done?

A time when, the Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi is focussing on labour reforms and giving dignity to labour, the country on the other hand fails to recognise one of the main work force i.e. Domestic Labour. Domestic Labour or Domestic Worker constitutes a huge work force in India which usually remained hidden in closed doors of our houses.

Need to regulate the placement agencies

There is an urgent need to regulate the placement agencies operating in Delhi. A bill to regulate the placement Agencies and to recognise domestic worker as a work force, named “The Delhi Private Placement Agencies (Regulation) Bill 2012, was presented before the government. But, the bill is not passed yet.

Chhattisgarh in this context has taken a vital step by becoming the first state to launch the Private Agencies (Regulation) Act this year.

Recently, on 25th September, 2014, Labour Department, Governemnt of National Capital Territory of Delhi in compliance with the order of Delhi high court in writ Petition (Crl.) 82/2009 , passed an executive order whreby the placement agencies are directed to get themselves registered under “Delhi Shops & Establishment Act, 1954” or “Inter State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979 before 25th October, 2014.

Silent Features of the Order:

A domestic worker is defined as the person who is of the age 18 years or more who performs domestic work only sporadically and is employed through a contractor.

Placement agencies shall provide the details of their details, Number of persons/ domestic workers, who are employed through them with their names, age and addresses, Details or salaries fixed, addresses of employers, period of employment, nature of work, details of commissions received from the employers.

The applicant will be given a license to run his/her placement agency after 15 days of issuance of the registration certificate by Labour department.

Every Domestic Worker will issued an attested pass book by his/her placement agency indicating name, age, address, employer’s name, period of employment, payment of wages etc.
Agreement for engagement of domestic workers by the employer through placement agency shall be in writing.

If placement agencies do not comply with the provision of the order, a penalty will be imposed or the registration/license will be cancelled to run the agency in Delhi-NCR

The Delhi Commission for Women and Child Welfare committee are given special powers and duties in virtue of the direction of Hon’ble High Court of Delhi.

Taking a strong stand against the trafficking of minors in Delhi for domestic workers and their exploitation, the order has also given power to Delhi Commission for Women and Child Welfare Committee to examine the complaints related to withholding wages not less than minimum wages, harassment or abuse by placement agencies and employers, non-compliance of the agreed terms, abusive working conditions, long working hours, lack of basic facilities etc.

State Plan of action to Combat Human Trafficking.

States have to come up with a state plan of action for the Rehabilitation of trafficking victims and preventing trafficking of children and Women. The State plan of action will focus on ensuring protection, Rehabilitation, and rescue of trafficking Victim, and providing Training, education and awareness at mass level about human Trafficking.

Providing training and skills to Domestic helps

The domestic helps working in our houses shall be treated with dignity and shall be given training for skill development. The harassment and exploitation of domestic helps can come to an end if they are provided with education and skill development training.

slavery freeGive Dignity to your Domestic help.

It is very much needed that each and every person shall come forward and give respect and dignity to the domestic help. Make sure that you are not employing anyone who is below the age of 18 years. Verify the identity of your Domestic help’s. Check the registration of the placement agency with local police. Pay the salary according to the minimum wages prescribed by the government, directly to him/her in bank accounts.

Most of the domestic worker comes from the back breaking poverty background with a hope of assisting their family in financial condition. But Irony is that the amount that we pay to placement agency as advance or as salary of our domestic help never reaches them. Hence in cases a girl is rescued and restored back to her family, have the high chances of getting trapped by the traffickers again.

RWAs have to come forward

Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) are playing a vital role in cities like Delhi to look into the general affairs of the locality. RWAs have to take up the command to see that no child or a woman is forced to work in its locality. RWAs shall time to time sensitize residents about the Domestic helps. They shall take the responsibility of their locality and make it a slavery free locality.

Every day, Thousands of innocent children and women are being at a risk of trafficked and forced to work as slaves in and around our houses. The number of missing children and girls is increasing day by day.

We at Shakti Vahini have been actively working in bringing the victims close to the justice.

Jharkhand haats, melas hotbeds of traffickers

PUBLISHED IN THE TIMES OF INDIA – BY AMBIKA PANDIT

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.

Eight girls rescued from placement cells

TIMES OF INDIA

NEW DELHI: Eight girls from Assam, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh have been rescued from four placement agencies in east Delhi allegedly involved in human trafficking. Four persons, including a woman, have been arrested.

“There was a tip-off from an NGO, Shakti Vahini, and we raided the four placement agencies, Babita Enterprises, India Maid Bureau, Deepika Placement Agency and Mission Welfare Society,” said Sanjay Kumar Jain, deputy commissioner of police (crime). The arrested have been identified as Ravinder Yadav, Pradeep Toppo, Vimal Kerketta and Babita, all residents of Shakurpur in east Delhi.

Four of the rescued girls are from Assam, one from Chhattisgarh and three from Jharkhand. “The girls were terrified and have disclosed that the placement agencies had employed them as domestic help across Delhi. When they wanted to go home, the agencies had detained them and withheld their earnings. These placement agencies wanted them to employ further as domestic helps

,” Jain said. After medical examination, the girls were sent to the children’s home for girls at Nirmal Chhaya in Hari Nagar. Ten girls, who were lured on the pretext of employment in the capital, were also rescued from GB Road brothels in central Delhi. The girls in the age group of 15-18 years were rescued from GB Road brothels following a tip-off by Rescue Foundation, an NGO. Nine of them are from West Bengal and one from Bihar.

“They all belong to poor families and were lured on the pretext of providing them employment in Delhi,” Devesh Srivastava, Additional Commissioner of Police (Central), said. The raid was conducted after the NGO informed police that a a minor girl who was missing from 24 Pargana in West Bengal is confined at Kotha No- 58, GB Road. Out of ten, nine are residents of West Bengal while one is from Bihar.