With the aim of curbing rampant trafficking of women and minors and their abuse by unscrupulous placement agencies, the Delhi government has directed all such private agencies to register themselves with the labour department by October 25.
The government told the Delhi high court Tuesday it notified the Delhi Private Placement Agencies (Regulation) Order, 2014 on September 25. This new set of rules makes it mandatory for agencies to not only register themselves but also keep a registry of all domestic helps employed through them.
Each worker, in turn, will be issued a passbook by the agency with details including name and address of the employer, period of employment, rate and periodicity of payment, and bank account details. Furthermore, all work contracts will be in writing with details of the commission received by the agency.
The rules are a stop-gap measure taken by the government till a concrete law is passed. It was nudged into action by the high court, which was acting on a PIL filed by an NGO, Bachpan Bachao Andolan, seeking compulsory registration of placement agencies.
Delhi sees a steady stream of trafficking victims from remote corners of the country, mostly from states like West Bengal, Odisha, and Jharkhand. In the Capital, they are exploited by illegal placement agencies and end up either as abused domestic workers or in prostitution rackets.
In 2012, 3,734 child labourers were rescued from the city — 2,357 of them below the age of 14. Making a child below 14 years of age work is considered child labour and is illegal under law.
The Delhi Commission for Women and the Child Welfare Committee will monitor the implementation of the new rules. If they find that an agency does not possess a licence or is not registered, they can recommend a penalty of R50,000 or prosecution under the relevant laws. Agencies that flout the rules also stand to lose their licence to do business in the Capital.