Suchita, 22, stood perplexed when she was suddenly asked to de-board Jharkhand Sampark Kranti Express at Ghaziabad junction on the intervening night of June14/15. The train was halted at the station for checking as the police had received a tip-off from an NGO that more than 100 women were suspected to be trafficked from various states across to work as domestic help in Delhi.
“I could not understand what had happened. I was asked to de-board the train even though I had a valid ticket and had not committed any offence. I come from a poor family and work as maid in Gurgaon,” she said.
Suchita was not alone. Nearly 20 other women/girls were made to de-board under suspicion of human trafficking. Many pulled out lost some of their baggage in the train.
“I don’t know the reason but I was also asked to de-board. I was going to my sister’s place at Zamrudpur in Delhi,” said Merlyn Khalkhoo, 25.
Some women said they willingly worked as domestic help. But some could not produce their identification proof or inform their family. They pleaded to the NGO workers and police to allow them to go.
“There is no employment opportunity back home. So my parents told me to go to Delhi. I don’t think that I have done something wrong if I choose to work as a domestic help,” said Sunita, 20. Most women who were asked to de-board are residents of Jharkhand and belong to poor families. On interrogating them, the police did not find the human trafficking issue true and hence, did not take them in custody.
“We did not register an FIR as no suspects were found,” said Ramabhilash Tripathi, SP (crime).
However, the misery of the women/girls did not end that night. The NGO later produced them before a child welfare committee (CWC) at Raj Nagar where eight of them were found to be above 18 years of age. They were allowed to go only after their family arrived and produced their identification proofs. Four other girls were allowed to leave in a similar way.
On Saturday, the CWC referred the remaining eight girls to a shelter home in Ghaziabad. “Eight girls have been sent to a shelter home. We have ordered for their medical test to ascertain their age,” said Dinesh Kumar Sharma, chairman, CWC.