She had hoped her move to Delhi will help her support her family of six. But within a week of her arrival, she became a victim sexual abuse. She is now two months’ pregnant.
The 18-year-old tribal girl was brought to Delhi by a woman in March on the pretext of a job. “She told the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) that she was kept at a placement agency in east Delhi’s Shakarpur. She was raped not only by the owner but his friends too,” said Rishi Kant, an activist with Shakti Vahini NGO.
She was repeatedly assaulted by the owner and his friends and all her requests of being sent back home went unheeded. The man kept her locked inside the agency office and made her do all the work. He would not even pay her wages. According to the girl, he was negotiating with someone to employ her in a home as a domestic help.
The girl can barely speak Hindi and had come to Delhi from West Bengal. She did not even know she was pregnant till she saw the medical report.
Originally a resident of Odisha, she had managed to escape by locking the placement agency owner in the washroom and stealing Rs. 1,000 from his wallet. She was found sitting at the Old Delhi railway station, looking lost, when members of Shakti Vahini found her and took her to the hospital.
“An auto driver dropped her to the Old Delhi railway station where she was sitting quietly and looked very scared. A person, who was from her village, noticed her and informed the West Bengal police. They informed us and we rescued her,” Kant said.
The NGO informed her mother, who works at a tea garden in New Jalpaiguri and earns barely Rs. 70 a day. Both mother and daughter will now return to their hometown but are scared of the rape stigma attached to her.
“The police need to investigate the case thoroughly and find out the culprit. If we don’t take action, such people will continue to assault women,” said an activist working with the NGO.