Trafficked, sexually exploited  15-year-old maid rescued

For the last nine months, Reeta’s parents thought she was dead. A sudden phone call from the teenager, however, revived their hopes. On Wednesday, they were at last reunited with their daughter in the capital.

Reeta (name changed), 15, went missing from her village in South 24 Parganas, West Bengal in January. A missing complaint was lodged with the local police station there.

“However, there was apathy to the case. There was no effort from West Bengal Police to track down the missing child,” said a Bachpan Bachao Andolan activist.

A few days back, she managed to call up her parents saying she was being mistreated at a household in Delhi where she was forced to work. Her employees allegedly manhandled her and did not pay her for the work she was doing. When her parents called back on the number, her employees refused to let her speak to them and even threatened to kill her if they tried to contact her again, the parents said.

Five days back, Reeta’s parents approached Bachpan Bachao Andolan to rescue their daughter.“We tracked the number to Surya Niketan near Anand Vihar. We then approached police and the girl was rescued after a raid at the house today,” said the activist.

Reeta’s disappearance tale from her village is similar to most trafficked girls. One Kamal, who later sold her to a placement agency, approached her on the pretext of marriage. “He convinced her that she will be able to live a life much better than the one she is being born into a fisherman’s family. For two months, he tried to win her trust and then one day, in January, the girl went missing,” an activist said.

The girl was also allegedly sexually exploited by Kamal after she was brought to a placement agency in Chirag Dilli. After keeping her for five days at the agency, she was later sold to the agency by Kamal. Initially, she was forced into domestic labour at a household but later shifted to another one because she faced language barrier.

“Her employer at times let her speak to Kamal who consoled her that he would marry her after a year,” said the activist.

Currently, the girl has been shifted to the Child Welfare Committee. Last week, the High Court had summoned the Labour Secretary of Delhi on non-compliance of its order on regulation of placement agencies.

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