Tribal minor girl from Jharkhand rescued in Delhi

Shakti Vahini Jharkhand

PUBLISHED IN THE HINDU

Police in Delhi and Jharkhand yet to register FIR

In the most recent of recurring cases of minors trafficked from rural areas to work as domestic workers in the city, a 14-year old Adivasi girl from Jharkhand was rescued from Kashmiri Gate on May 5 after she left her employer’s house in Chandigarh. Despite a Supreme Court order last January followed by a Home Ministry directive in July 2013 that complaints of all missing children be immediately registered as FIRs, Jharkhand police or Delhi police are yet to do this.

The girl Ritika Mundu (name changed) told the CWC that she had been brought to Delhi by a woman Phaguni Mundu from her village in Khunti in Jharkhand last month. She had been taken to Chandigarh to work as domestic worker where she was beaten regularly and not allowed to contact her family. She narrated that her employers had thrown her out of their house on May 4 after which she caught a bus to Delhi. She was spotted crying and in distress by vendors near ISBT who then alerted the Kashmiri Gate police chowki, who in turn informed the NGO Shakti Vahini.

Ritika Mundu, who has been sent to a children’s shelter home, was carrying an Aadhaar card which revealed her father Kunwar Mundu’s name and her address in Hetgaon village in Khunti’s Murhu block. Her father works as a farm labourer.

Usually, the Child Welfare Committee orders registering of an FIR but they did not specify this time. “The child’s father has not yet made a formal complaint,” said a senior police official in Delhi.

“A FIR should have been registered automatically to begin an investigation into who brought her here and if any placement agency was involved. Since the family is very poor, we have offered to assist them reach their child here,” said Rishikant of NGO Shakti Vahini. He added the NGO had rescued over 70 children from Jharkhand working as domestic workers so far this year.

In Murhu block in Jharkhand, the girl’s father Kunwar Mundu told Jharkhand-based NGO Diya Sewa Sansathan that Ritika, and two other boys including Ritika’s 10-year old cousin Uday Mundu, boarded a bus from the village with Phaguni Mundu on April 5 without informing their families.

“She was in my class but stopped coming regularly to school two years back to help her father. She is a simple child but very articulate. If she had continued she would be in class VIII now,” said Devi Kumari who teaches at the government middle school in Hetgaon. The village mukhiya Devnath Mundu said the village had witnessed similar cases last year too. “Two girls who are 12 and 13 years old are missing since last year, their families found no trace of them. We reported to the thana too but there was no information. Then, last month these three children boarded a bus to Ranchi and maybe a train from there. At least Ritika was found, there is no word on the other two boys who are 10 and 12 years old,” the mukhiya Devnath Mundu told The Hindu on the phone from Jharkhand.

Studies estimate the number of children trafficked from Jharkhand is between 30,000 to 40,000. But the number of FIRs of missing children is less than 500 – a huge gap,” said Baidnath Kumar who works with Diya Sewa Sansathan in Jharkhand.

Freed from brothel, girls want to ink new chapter

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AMBIKA PANDIT IN THE TIMES OF INDIA

NEW DELHI: Rescued from a wooden box at a brothel in GB Road on April 26, 17-year-old Neeru (name changed), who had been kidnapped from West Bengal’s 24 Parganas and dumped in Delhi, has been reunited with her family. The girl had appeared for her Class X exams back home. She returned to her village determined to pursue her education. Her father, who appeared relieved to have found his daughter safe, demanded speedy justice and punishment for the guilty.

The girl’s father, a daily wage earner, works as a labourer in farms. He had lodged a missing person report with the local police when his daughter had not returned from school. Neeru is his eldest child. The fact that his daughter was found at GB Road did not deter him from taking her back home.

According to social workers from NGO Shakti Vahini, who were tipped-off about the girl’s presence at GB Road by the father, this case is an example of how family can help in rehabilitation of a survivor from red-light area.

As she waited to board a train to Kolkata at the New Delhi Railway station on Saturday, Neeru narrated how she was befriended by an unknown boy who would give her missed calls on her mobile phone. One day, when she was going to the bank from school, the boy met her and asked her to accompany him. When she felt suspicious and tried to return, he forced her to board a train and she ended up at GB Road. There were many intermediaries in the chain, thrown in to prevent identification of the traffickers.

Tenacious Neeru managed to inform her father about her whereabouts using the phone of a customer. “When we got a tip-off from the father, we informed the police and a raid was organized on April 17. However, we did not find the girl. Later, a decoy customer found a 20-year-old girl from Midnapore district who was sitting depressed in a corner and it turned out that she, too, had been trafficked by a youth who had promised to marry her. She said the girl was hidden in a wooden box here. A second raid was organized on April 26 and both the girls and six other women were rescued from the box,” said Rishi kant from Shakti Vahini.

On Saturday, the 20-year-old girl from Midnapore also returned home with her father. She, too, plans to pursue her education now.

The brothel owner, Padma, had been arrested under sections of abduction, rape, illegal confinement and criminal conspiracy. Sections under POCSO, juvenile justice and immoral trafficking were also added. More arrests are likely.

In the last four years, Shakti Vahini has helped rescue 670 victims of human trafficking, including those trafficked for prostitution, forced marriage, domestic slavery, child labour, bonded labour and adoption. Around 75 victims have been rescued from GB Road.

Minor among eight girls rescued from an ‘almirah’ in brothel

express newsPUBLISHED IN THE INDIAN EXPRESS

Eight girls, including a minor, were rescued from a brothel on GB Road in a joint operation by the Delhi Police and NGO Shakti Vahini on Saturday.

Senior police officers said a woman identified as Padma has been arrested. The girls, who are from West Bengal, were allegedly trafficked to Delhi after being lured on the pretext of marriage.

The Delhi Police confirmed the raid and said the girls were hidden in a “hollowed out almirah”. “They were hidden in an almirah which had been modified to make a hiding place. Seven girls have been sent to Nari Niketan, while the minor girl has been sent to a protection home,” an officer said.

Rishi Kant of Shakti Vahini said, “The father of one of the girls, who is a minor, contacted us and said his daughter was being forced into the sex trade at a brothel on GB Road. Last week, we raided the place, but could not find his daughter. However, she found a way to get a message to him that she had seen him there, but could not reach out to him out of fear. When we raided the brothel again, we found her, as well as seven other girls, who are above 18 years of age.”

“We will write to the DGP, West Bengal, and the Ministry of Home Affairs to ask for an enquiry into the trafficking of women from West Bengal,” Kant said.

Faridabad maid’s death: One held, second autopsy likely

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NEW DELHI: Six days after a tribal girl from Uttar Dinajpur in West Bengal was found dead in mysterious circumstances at the residence of her employers in sector 49, the Faridabad police arrested the owner of a Delhi-based placement agency, Rafiq, on Saturday. He had been booked on the basis of an FIR on a complaint of the deceased domestic worker’s mother. With a second postmortem to establish the cause of death expected only by Monday, the girl’s decomposing body, for now protected by ice bars, lies in an ill-equipped and mice-infested “dead house” in Faridabad.

The police personnel of Dabua Chowki, under Saran police station, arrested Rafiq, who owns Laxmi Placement Agency in Tughlaqabad. He had allegedly brought the girl from her village after taking the consent of a relative, according to the mother, who was unaware of her daughter’s presence in the city.

The police will also be investigating the role of the affluent family that hired the girl for house work in March allegedly for a meagre Rs 3500 despite the fact that she appeared to be a minor. The police have registered a case against both the placement agency owner and her employers under sections related to kidnapping, trafficking, child labour, abetment to suicide and Juvenile Justice Act applicable to minors. The mother also wants a case to be registered under the SC/ST Atrocities Act.

The mother, herself a domestic worker employed in Janakpuri, has alleged that her daughter was only 13 and a very strong person who could not have committed suicide. She has claimed that the child, who was going to school in her village, was brought to Delhi without informing her husband who was taking care of the children while she worked in the capital.

The mother has, meanwhile, expressed shock to learn that a postmortem had already been conducted without her permission and the report declared it to be an ordinary death due to hanging, making it a case of suicide. She has now sought a fresh post-mortem.

Compounding the tragedy is the growing concern over the decomposing body and desperate search for space for burial. Social workers from NGO Shakti Vahini were seen frantically reaching out to different Christian institutions as they tried to seek space in a cemetery. “We were shocked when confronted by the demand for a certificate to show that she was a Catholic Christian before she could get burial space. When we told them that we did not have any such document and explained the situation, we were turned away,” said Rishikant of the NGO.

Similar resistance to burying a minor domestic worker from Jharkhand was witnessed last year and had led the NCPCR to issue directions wherein a list of churches and pastors in Delhi was drawn up for such cases. On Saturday too former NCPCR member Vinod Tikoo reached out to YMCA to intervene in the matter and resolve the crisis.

Faridabad maid a minor, trafficked to Delhi

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AMBIKA PANDIT IN THE TIMES OF INDIA

NEW DELHI: The tribal girl who was found hanging from a grille at her employer’s house in Faridabad five days ago was a schoolgoing teenager at a village in Uttar Dinajpur, West Bengal till about seven months ago. Her mother has alleged that she was not more than 13 years old and was lured to Delhi by a placement agency owner. The girl’s parents did not know that she was employed here. An FIR under legal provisions for trafficking, Juvenile Justice Act and Child Labour Act has been registered on the basis of the mother’s complaint.

Shocked to learn of her daughter’s death, the woman has sought a thorough probe into the role of the family that hired her daughter in March for housework, and strict action against the unregistered placement agency involved. The case was registered by the Dabua police chowki of Saran police station in Faridabad late on Friday evening, five days after the death occured.

The girl’s decomposing body for now lies in the “dead house”. A second postmortem may be carried out to rule out foul play before she is laid to rest at the burial ground of a Christian cemetery here. “I want to know why my daughter died? I don’t believe she committed suicide. She was very strong,” the mother told TOI after identifying the body. Despite her loss, the mother, a Christian, stood strongly rooted in her faith as she fasted through the day to mark Good Friday. Now she only wants justice for her daughter.

She has been employed at a house in Janakpuri since October and says her husband daughter and sons were all staying at home when she left her village in September. “My daughter said bye and left to get wood for cooking. She was a very hard-working child and studied in class 1. She took care of the house and also did housework to help me. She was not the kind to kill herself.” The woman said she came to Delhi to earn for her family as extreme poverty hounded homes in her village where most people, including her husbands, have only day jobs.

She got to know of her daughter’s presence in Delhi and her death only on April 17 when the placement agency owner who brought the girl to Delhi tried to reach her through another agency that had provided her employment in Janakpuri. The woman has alleged that Rafiq, the owner of Laxmi Placement Agency in Tughlaqabad, never tried to contact her before to inform her about her daughter’s presence in Delhi. “I worked for the agency that employed my daughter in my previous stay in Delhi as a domestic worker. Despite knowing me, the agency owner never told me that my daughter was here. Even my husband did not know her whereabouts as the placement agency brought her to Delhi by taking permission from a relative,” she told TOI.

Police say the girl was found hanging from a grille on April 14. Her employers reported that she had been hired on March 24 from Laxmi Placement Agency at a meagre salary of Rs 3,500 to do housework in an upper-middle class household in Sector 49. The agency took about Rs 22,000 from the family as commission for placing her

ILO says poor laws aid the abuse of maids

article-2564179-1BAF51FD00000578-966_634x617By 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

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Girl trafficked from Bengal rescued

UTTAR PRADESH TRAFFICKING CASE

PUBLISHED 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

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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.”

Trafficked Ranchi girls rescued in Delhi, one held

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RANCHI: Two trafficked girls from Ranchi were rescued in Delhi-NCR on Thursday when police teams from Ranchi, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh conducted raids, jointly with an NGO, at two places.

An 18-year-old girl was rescued from a house in Ghaziabad. Rishi Kant, member of Shakti Vahini, an NGO that was part of the rescue team, said, “The girl informed us that she was trafficked by one Ravinder Kumar Rathi alias Akash Rathi and his wife Fulkriya Rathi, four years ago. She was then made to work as domestic help at Sandeep Madaan’s house in Ghaziabad from where she was rescued.”

Rishi said the girl also mentioned that her employer used to pay her salary of Rs 2,700 to Ravinder every month in cheque. But her parents did not receive any money so far.

Another 19-year-old girl was rescued from West Enclave area in Delhi. The girl said she was trafficked by Ravinder, the same person who was involved in the earlier trafficking case, six years ago.

She was kept in a placement agency – Goodwill Placement Agency – for a night and the next day she was sent to work at a house. During these six years, she was not paid for her work.

“The girls were trafficked and then made to work in houses without any payment. Besides, they were confined to the house they worked in and not allowed to step out. This is not just an issue of trafficking but also bonded labour and action should be taken against the employers as well,” said Rishi.

Accused of trafficking, Ravinder has been arrested by Delhi Police under different cases. Rishi said, “Police sources say that Ravinder has trafficked around 50 girls in the past four years and both the victims were trafficked along with a group of girls.”

Assam girl sold & raped in Haryana flees captivity

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PANKAJ SARMA

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.