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Trafficked teen flees employer’s house, rescued

Gumla Victim CasePUBLISHED IN THE TIMES OF INDIA

NEW DELHI: A 13-year-old school dropout from Jharkhand’s Maoist-hit Simdega district promised domestic work in Delhi was found at Rajouri Garden Metro station by police on Sunday after she ran away from her employer’s house unable to bear the mistreatment. Her story has again brought to spotlight how children from the interiors of the troubled state are finding themselves in the capital’s homes.

The rescue of this girl comes a day after wanted trafficker Pannalal Mahto and his wife Sunita were arrested. Pannalal hails from Jharkhand and is known for his influence among placement agencies. The crime branch of Delhi Police and Jharkhand Police are jointly probing Pannalal’s links with Maoists.

The 13-year-old girl at Rajouri Garden Metro station told a surprised police team that she was desperate to return to her family in Simdega where she said she was studying in a school. She says she wants to return to school. She has been put in the care of Nirmal Chhaya children’s home in keeping with the orders of the Child Welfare Committee. Police are now trying to trace her parents.

Police are also investigating the involvement of a member of an illegal placement agency who brought her here with the promise to provide her work. The child, in her statement before the Child Welfare Committee, said she was brought to Delhi by one ‘Raju’ two months ago. ‘Raju’ then sent her to a private residence where her employer whom she addressed as ‘Aunty’ used to scold her every time she did not like her work. The woman even tried to call Raju but every time his phone was unreachable, the girl said. She has told CWC that she had been asked to leave several times.

On October 19, she left the house and managed to reach Rajouri Garden Metro station where she was luckily found by police. In its order on Monday, the Child Welfare Committee has mentioned that the child does not know the address of the house in which she was placed for work. She failed to identify the house when she was taken to the area by police.

Speaking to TOI, Rishikant from Shakti Vahini, which has been “following the case closely”, said human traffickers are operating in the guise of placement agents and hence “CWC must call for an interstate investigation into how the child reached Delhi and landed up at the Metro station”. The NGO has also contacted the superintendent of police, Simdega, to trace her family.

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