Beware of ‘work less, fleece more’ domestic helps

  • Karan Choudhury, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • |
  • Updated: Feb 27, 2011 02:14 IST

Looking for a domestic help? Beware of advertisements that claim to be government-approved agencies, promising solutions to never ending household chores.

In the past few weeks, plush areas like Greater Kailash I and II, Kailash Colony and other such areas have witnessed a spurt in crimes in which domestic help placement agencies have been involved. Four such incidents have occurred in Greater Kailash Part-I E-Block in Southeast Delhi alone in the past month and a half. In one of the cases, the domestic help that was  employed through an agency decamped with Rs10 lakh in cash and jewellery.

Although the police have registered complaints in these cases, nothing concrete has been done so far.

“After our previous help left, we contacted two different placement agencies. I saw an advertisement of one Jeevan placement agency in Shakurpur. I called them up and one person then came the very next day with a girl and claimed that she had previously worked in Chandigarh. The person took Rs18, 000 from me and left the girl behind. The next day when we woke up, the girl was nowhere to be found. She even left behind the bag that she had brought with her.

We realised we had been duped and informed the police,” said Sudhir Kalra (44), a resident of E-Block, GK-I.

Another family living in the same locality was duped in a similar fashion. “They took Rs5, 000 from us and within two hours the girl  disappeared,” said Anita Mago (57).

Most of these agencies start off in markets near residential areas running their business from dingy rooms. According to police, these agents have the same set of domestic helps, whom they send  to different households. After they take commission from their victim, they change their cellphone numbers.

In a few other cases, the domestic help works as information gatherer for these agents who in turn sell the information to thieves and robbers, who later commit the crimes. These agencies promise much more than just a domestic help for household chores. They also claim to provide nannies for infants, nurses for the elderly besides cooks.

“These domestic help agencies give out advertisements in newspapers. They open small shops in residential areas, take mobile phone connections on fake addresses, and the dupe people,” said a  senior police officer, on the condition of anonymity, as he was not authorised to speak to the media.

However, a little alertness on part of the employers can help crack down on such fake agencies. The officer said employers should keep their eyes and ears open and must ensure that the agency provides a copy of  the police verification certificate of the domestic help. Also,  they can contact NGOs that help provide domestic helps rather than going to placement agencies, he added.

Household truths
2,650:Number of illegal domestic help agencies in the city
1,200:Number of registered agencies (with trade licences) according to Mohan Baraik president Mashal Welfare Society, an NGO
650:Number of domestic help agencies with licence according to Delhi Police
2,650:Number of illegal domestic help agencies in the Capital
379:Number of complaints against domestic agencies in 2009
417:Number of complaints against domestic agencies in 2010
4 lakh:Number of maids working in Delhi
Areas from where these maids come from: Orissa, West Bengal, Jharkhand
You can save yourself by ensuring that the agency provides a copy of the police verification certificate of the domestic help


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