Police question employers for ‘brutalising’ minor help; CWC says child labour law violated

Labour Department told to submit report after probe into child labour accusations; FIR says girl held in captivity for over five months, sexually assaulted and burnt with acid by her employers

Published - December 11, 2023 01:40 am IST - Gurugram

A day after a minor domestic help was rescued from an upscale locality in Gurugram, the Child Welfare Committee has directed the police to initiate proceedings against her employers for violation of Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act.

The 13-year-old was allegedly held in captivity, tortured and sexually abused for over five months before she was rescued by her family on Saturday.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (East) Kavita said the police have interrogated the woman employer and her two sons, who have been booked for outraging modesty, criminal intimidation and causing hurt.

The police have also added provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act in the FIR.

Gurugram Child Welfare Committee panel member Upasana Sachdeva said the Labour Department has been told to investigate the allegations and submit a report.

‘Thrashed with rods’

According to the FIR lodged by the girl’s mother, the employers burnt the minor girl with acid, thrashed her with a hammer and roads, and “threatened to push her into prostitution” if she told anyone about the torture.

The girl’s mother told the police that her daughter had been working as a full-time domestic help with the family since June 27 for a monthly salary of ₹9,000.

It went well for the first month but her employers did not let her parents speak to her thereafter. They also stopped paying her salary after the first month, said the complaint.

The teenager told her family that she was tortured, not given enough to eat and made to work throughout the day.

Ms. Sachdeva said the girl was counselled and admitted to the Civil Hospital in Sector 10 for treatment.

“I spoke to her for over an hour, she was traumatised. She was tortured badly. Her employers would tie her up so that she could not escape. They filmed her nude and threatened to upload the videos on social media,” the CWC member added.

‘High chances of abuse’

Meanwhile, Gharelu Kamgar Union convener Maya John said the scope of such brutality and sexual exploitation is high in a domestic help’s job, given the prevalence of full-time paid domestic work contracts.

“This form of work agreement must be prohibited as it compels a large number of impoverished women and children into a situation akin to slavery, wherein they are under the control of their employers,” Ms. John said.

“Forced to work on the beck and call of their employers and tied to the private residence of the employer, such full-time domestic work breeds high levels of exploitation,” she added.

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