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Beware of criminals in garb of domestic help

They are nameless; their antecedents unknown and they have no official record. Karan Choudhury reports.

delhi Updated: Apr 26, 2011 02:13 IST
Karan Choudhury

They are nameless; their antecedents unknown and they have no official record.

The domestic help you employ to look after your house and loved ones could be anyone. And by the time you get to know who they really are, it might be too late.

This is what happened to 30-year-old Vikram Singh when a nanny he had recently employed kidnapped his 18-month-old son on Sunday evening. The incident took place in southeast Delhi’s Maharani Bagh. Just like any other Delhiite, Vikram had not got her verified by police.

The dearth of good domestic helps has forced many to not get their maids verified by the police though rising crime in the city has made this exercise very important. Though police now and then come up with special drives to get these helps verified, residents still do not approach them.

“For them, it is more important that their work gets done. They fear that their helps would run away if asked to get themselves verified. We try and tell the residents to get it done, but to no avail,” said a senior police officer on the condition of anonymity. According to Delhi Police records, only 183 people have turned up to get their helps verified this year.

Sources say that more than 90% domestic help agencies in the city are being run illegally. Most of these agencies begin operations in markets near residential areas from a room sometimes not bigger than five feet by four feet. These agents rotate the same domestic help to different houses.

After they take commission from their victims, they vanish and change their phone numbers. In other cases, the domestic help gathers information for the agents who in turn sell it to thieves and robbers.

And most agencies promise much more than a domestic help needed for sweeping and cleaning the household. From nannies to nurses and cooks, they promise to cater every need of their clients. “These agencies give out advertisements in newspapers. They open small shops in residential areas and get mobile phone connections on the basis of fake addresses,” added the officer.