Meagre wages, zero paid offs, left over food, confinement to a specific area, restricted visits and contact with family over years is what a woman rescued from forced domestic labor described as a normal life .
Mitron Kumari, a tribal girl hailing from Simdega, Jharkhand, was freed from forceful domestic help in Delhi by Nirmana, an ngo working for the rights of workers in unorganised sector of Delhi.
Nirmana works for unorganised sector workers in general and specifically for construction and domestic workers (estimated at 44 and 4.8 million respectively in India during 2009-10). "The cases of trafficking girls from rural areas to Delhi has boomed, and won't stop unless there's a legislation to provide regulation of work and social security of domestic workers as India, " says Mr. Subhash Bhatnagar, the founder of Nirmana.
Each of the rescued woman through Nirmana is a survivor of financial, physical and verbal abuse from employers. Incidents of sexual abuse have also been reported.
It is estimated that 94% of India’s workforce are in unorganised sector that contribute to about 50% of its economy (or GDP). domestic workers are a significant portion of unorganised sector work-force.
Where do these woman come from? All women rescued by Nirmana so far hail from tribal and poor regions of Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Odisha which represents the 'Red Corridor' of India. These regions are plagued by Naxalite - Maoist insurgency. The population is primarily tribal, surviving on forests and farming. Apart from this, the region is hotbed for mining thus resulting in conflict between the tribals and the mining entities. In short, the battle for survival is toughest in these regions.
The women bear the brunt of patriarchy in rural regions , making them confined to domestic work and no schooling. Unemployment , ignorance and illiteracy make these girls more vulnerable. The trafficking agents cash this opportunity by luring the young innocent girls though a rosy picture of a desk job and meaty salary. These agents often introduce themselves as placement agencies assuring lucrative jobs in cities. The agencies are usually neither registered nor monitored by the administration.
Over the next few weeks, Video Volunteers will be highlighting different aspects of the Nirmana reports on construction Workers, skills training of rescued women and need for legislation securing domestic workers rights.
Article by Sameer Malik
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