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Locked in room by her employers: Minor girl working as bonded labour rescued, FIR registered

Date : 17/10/2018

For a 17-year-old girl, who was locked in a room as a bonded labour, freedom came knocking on the doors of her employers after a team of Delhi Police, National Campaign Committee for Eradication of Bonded Labour (NCCEBL) members and lawyers associated with Human Rights Law Network launched an operation to rescue her from Shresht Vihar on Tuesday (16th October). An First Information Report (FIR) has been registered in the Anand Vihar Police station against the accused.

A distress phone call was made to social activist and NCCEBL convenor Nirmal Gorana, who along with Sub-Divisional Magistrate Vivek Vihar Rajesh Choudhary, Senior Inspector Anuj Kumar, Assistant Senior Inspector Rajkumar, Head constable Narendra, Constable Meenakshi, and lawyers associated with HRLN conducted a raid at the house to rescue the minor girl, who was locked in the house.

The minor girl, who belongs to Schedule Caste community, was trafficked from Chhattisgarh to Delhi by one Akhtar on the pretext of a job. The minor was trafficked from Dispur to New Delhi on 28th July, 2018, by Akhtar. After bringing her to Delhi, he took the girl to a placement agency in Delhi’s Krishna Park.

The minor girl was sold to one Bablu, who placed her at Darshan Singh’s house (R/O D-1/16) in Model Town as a domestic worker. The minor girl was forced to work there for 2 months without payment of any wages and was illegally detained in the house. The minor during her time at Model Town house had suffered from Typhoid, however after two days of treatment Bablu forcefully placed her in a new house, i.e., House Number 90, Shresht Vihar, in the house of Ms. Ritika Bansal w/o Amit Bansal where she is work as a forced labour without any payment.

In addition to that her principal employer kept her locked inside a house from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm and even after that she was not allowed to go out of the house. The minor girl later revealed that there is another girl, who has been trafficked by Akhtar and was placed as a bonded labour at a house in New Delhi by Bablu. The information regarding the other girl’s whereabouts are only known to Bablu, whose arrest is yet to happen.

On the rescue of the minor girl, NCCEBL convenor Nirnal Gorana said, “While the country was celebrating the Navratri festival and worship girl child (kanya pujan), a minor girl in New delhi was being forcibly held in the house as a bonded labour.”

“Bonded Labour is an epidemic which has spread all over Delhi and the national capital has become of trafficking and bonded labour. Repeated demands to delhi government for a survey to identify areas and people, who are being exploited and trafficked as bonded labour has not seen light of the day,” Nirmal Gorana added. The methodology to lure women from tribal parts of India and traffic them to Delhi by proposing lucrative jobs has become a modus operandi of traffickers.

Bonded labour is any labour or service rendered under the bonded labour system, and is illegal in all of its forms. The Bonded Labour System (abolition) Act 1976 provides definitions as to what bonded labour is according to the law. A bonded labourer is a worker who incurs or has presumed to have incurred a bonded debt. A bonded debt is an advance obtained/presumed to have been obtained by a bonded labourer under or in pursuance of the bonded labour system restrictions in employment and movement, working on nominal or no wages and beggar work.

India has laws to protect and promote rights of children against any form of exploitation be it economic, social or physical. The Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act of 1986 prohibits employment of a child in any employment including as a domestic help (except helping own family in non-hazardous occupations), the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) of Children Act of 2015, has made it a crime, punishable with a prison term, for anyone to keep a child in bondage for the purpose of employment.

However, growing instances of child and bonded labour points to the failure of the system, which is responsible for protecting the rights of the children. Lack of prompt action and lackadaisical attitude of law enforcement agencies to keep a track on employers, who hire domestic workers or covertly employ minors, gravely highlights the lack of coordination between government agencies.

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