Ill-treating a domestic help will amount to trafficking, the home ministry’s latest directions to the police say. If the employer doesn’t give food or not allow the help to venture outside home, the action will be treat on a par with trafficking even if the employee is an adult.
“In a fresh circular, the ministry of home affairs has issued standard operating procedures to be followed by various agencies, including police, citing a Supreme Court order. So, if a person employs a child then he may not only face prosecution for provisions against child labour but also be punished for ill-treating the kid. Ill-treatment also includes denying minimum wages. This will tighten the strings on placement agencies, who gobble up at least half of the salary paid to domestic helps,” said Rishi Kant, executive director of Shakti Vahini, an NGO.
According to MHA’s guidelines, it is police’s duty to rescue a trafficked child and book the employer for not paying minimum wages, among other offences. The ministry has also asked the police to treat trafficking as an organised crime.
In 2012, 3,734 children employed as labourers were rescued from Delhi of which 2,357 were of below 14 years of age. “It is a growing problem and the police must try to curb trafficking by targeting the economics of crime syndicates. For instance, police must initiate the process of cancelling the licence of factory from where the child is rescued. Such steps can help prevent trafficking,” Rishi Kant added.
The police have also been asked to keep the rescued child away from the employers.