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Victim still in trauma a day after being rescued

Shubhomoy Sikdar
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The young girl, who was rescued on Monday, remained traumatised a day later, so much so that she could not even speak when representatives of the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights visited her in hospital.

A member of the commission, Vinod Tikoo, said they have sought a report from the Delhi Police within 10 days. Mr. Tikoo visited the victim at the Safdarjung Hospital on Tuesday morning.

“While doctors told us that there was no immediate threat to her life, the nature of injuries, particularly on the scalp, appeared quite severe. There was blood oozing out of her wounds and worms coming out of them,” said Mr. Tikoo.

Activists said the abuse of domestic workers (minor or otherwise), mostly women, was rampant in the Capital and the lack of a protective environment and legal framework was primarily responsible for it.

Speaking to The Hindu , Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Brinda Karat expressed shock over the incident. She added that there was no nationwide law to protect the interests of domestic workers. She, however, added that there were specific laws in some States such as Maharashtra, but Delhi is not one of them.

“When girls move out from their villages or towns to big cities like Delhi, no record is maintained of the placement agency. If this is done at the village-level itself, it will be easier to identify the perpetrators if the victims go missing or are held in illegal confinement,” said Ms. Karat.

According to NGO Save the Children, statistics for minors in domestic work are difficult to come by. “It is estimated that an additional 5 million children, who are above the minimum legal age of work in their countries, are involved in paid or unpaid domestic work globally,” the NGO said.

Harsh Mander, former member of the National Advisory Council, said: “There is a certain degree of apathy among those who employ these vulnerable children. Poverty is more of an outcome of child labour than its cause. The State, too, has to play a part here and build residential schools where these destitute, and often homeless, children can build their future,” he said.

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