Thursday, July 26, 2007
Placement agencies in trafficking case
20 Jul 2007, 0339 hrs IST , Abhinav Garg , TNN
NEW DELHI: Almost half a dozen placement agencies of south Delhi, responsible for supplying everything from a domestic help to a guard, are under the scanner of Delhi High Court for allegedly indulging in human trafficking.
The court was alerted to such a possibility through a petition which says these placement agencies lured 298 women and children to the Capital from West Bengal on the pretext of providing them job as domestic servants but instead forced them into ‘‘slavery and sex’’.
On Friday the Delhi Police and the placement agencies are likely to place before a division Bench of justice R S Sodhi and justice P K Bhasin, their response to the allegations levelled against them. The police has been blamed of complete inaction by the petitioners.
According to the petition filed by an NGO called Shramjivi Mahila Samiti, these 298 women and children from indigent families in rural West Bengal were shipped to Delhi by local agents at the prodding of various placement agencies in Saket, Malviya Nagar and Lado Sarai areas of the Capital.
The NGO through its counsel Colin Gonsalves claimed before HC that distraught relatives of these 298 missing persons were forced to approach the court for relief because they were unable to contact their kin, who had come to Delhi for household jobs as the placement agencies fobbed them off, even threatening them with dire consequences if they persisted with inquiries about these 298 people.
Relying on the testimony of one who managed to escape back to Bengal, the petition says this man apprised other villagers about the appalling conditions in which the untraceable children and women were kept with some doing unpaid labour, others being forced into sex and slavery.
He said the promised wages were never paid by the agencies which frequently rotated the servants from one household to another to avoid their being traced. The elation of those who managed to get paid through cheque was shortlived as these bounced soon after.
Even the police, the petition complains, was in collusion with the placement agencies which got wind of the fact that relatives from Bengal were coming to question them about the missing persons. ‘‘Police tipped off these agencies,’’ the counsel had informed HC on the last date of hearing.