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Preeti was trafficked to Delhi two years ago by a resident of her village in Assam. She was taken to an unauthorised placement agency named Krish Enterprises in Shakarpur where she was kept for two weeks before being pushed into back-breaking labour for a family of 10 in Rohini, north-west Delhi.
She was rescued three months ago and now stays at Mukti Ashram, a transitory rehabilitation centre, awaiting to be sent back to her village, Ranabari, in the Lakhimpur district of Assam.
“There were ten members in the family. My day would start at six in the morning and end at midnight. I would keep my clothes in a semi-broken, rusted almirah and was made to sleep outside the house in the common entrance area of the building,” she recalled.
Her wages were not paid to her by her employer but given to Dolan, her handler. She was even barred from speaking to her parents over the phone.
Mamuni, Preeti’s mother, who works as a farm labourer along with her husband in their village, got her daughter rescued with the help of the Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), an NGO which works for child protection, three months ago.
“If convicted in the Labour Court, Preeti’s employers will have to pay the monthly minimum wage of `7,752 for each of the 25 months she worked for them along with the penalty fixed by the court,” said a BBA office-bearer who did not want to be named.
Once repatriated, Munni wants to stay with her parents in Assam. Would she like to work or study on going back to her village?
“My parents have no money. I do not understand the meaning of school. I have never attended one, hence I remained unlettered,” she said shyly while writing her name in English on a piece of paper, which she learnt after coming to the Ashram.