Five years ago, two teenage tribal girls from a remote village in Jharkhand, disappeared without a trace. All their parents knew was that they had gone to Delhi after being promised ‘work’. Last week, they were rescued from two separate homes in Delhi-NCR.
One of the girls, from Nishchitpur in Jharkhand, was rescued from a home in Vivek Vihar, Ghaziabad. The other girl, from Dundigara, was rescued from a house in Pitampura.
Trafficked to the national capital by the same man, the girl from Dundigara found employment in a house, where she was regularly paid and treated well.
The other girl, however, faced abuse at the hands of her employers. For five years, she worked without pay in numerous homes in Delhi, Haryana and Rajasthan. “I tried running away on more than one occasion. I worked at a house in Gurgaon, where the owners used to beat me up. They wouldn’t let me out of the house and would often starve me. I also worked in Kota for a few months,” the girl said.
“Initially, I didn’t want to go back home. When I left my village, there were no roads and electricity. Here, I worked in a house, where my maalkin (employer) was kind to me. She would let me watch television. But I am told that things have changed in Jharkhand and I want to see my parents,” the girl from Dundigara said.
Now aged between 20 and 22, the two girls had left their village in their teens. Police complaint lodged by the parents of the girls says both were promised work in Delhi by a man named Ravinder Kumar Rathi.
When they did not hear from the girls for months, their parents had given up, hoping that they had found a life better than the one they had in the village. But their parents had not realised that their daughters had been trafficked and were facing abuse, until an anti-trafficking programme supported by UN Women and FXB India-Suraksha unearthed the cases.
“Such cases are common in Jharkhand. There is very little income from agriculture and a lot of children go to Delhi for work. Lack of awareness stops parents from realising the horrors of trafficking and even if they can’t speak to their children, they feel it’s not a matter to report to police,” Sampat Meena IG (Crime), Jharkhand, said.
After the cases were registered last year, it was found that Rathi was sent to Tihar jail in a murder case. The Delhi Police Special Cell said Rathi had previously been charged on several counts of trafficking. He runs a placement agency in Delhi called Goodwill Placement Agency. A case has been lodged against him under sections of the IPC pertaining to trafficking and the SC/ST Act.
“After he was traced, we learnt about where the two girls were working and this led to their rescue,” Mamta Borgoyary of FXB India-Suraksha said.