What seemed a promising proposition three years ago turned into a nightmare for Budhi Ram Munda.
Munda's daughter — who lived in Jharkhand — was brought to Delhi by a placement agency on the pretext of providing her employment as a domestic maid. The placement agency promised to send her monthly salary of Rs. 4000 to her poverty-stricken family. It was the last time that Munda saw her daughter.
Ramesh and Shreya (name changed), who run a placement agency in Shakur Basti, had brought Munda's 13-year-old daughter Rachna to Delhi.
"After staying in touch with his daughter for a couple of months, Munda hasn't heard from her for the past three years. Determined to take her back home, Munda arrived in the Capital with a meagre loan three months ago. However, it has remained an exercise in futility. The owners of the placement agency have been threatening him with dire consequences," said Rakesh Sengar, an activist associated with Bachpan Bachao Andolan, an NGO.
A police complaint has been filed by Munda and the Bachpan Bachao Andolan.
"We have filed a complaint at the Subhash Place police station and they had called us on Tuesday. Rachna has been working as a bonded labourer and her parents are not being allowed to meet her. This is not an isolated case but there are thousands like Munda who come to the city in search of their missing children and get nothing but false hopes," added Sengar.
According to NGOs there are over 310 placement agencies working in northwest Delhi's Shakur Basti, many of these operating out of the same building. Majority of these agencies are not registered and employ minors too.