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Kavita’s Story: How a young domestic worker was rescued from abuse

Social workers are pushing for a Bill to protect the rights of domestic workers. We document the story of one such young woman who was rescued from her abusive employers.

india Updated: Dec 12, 2016 19:45 IST
Domestic workers,Domestic help,Employer abuse

In 2015, Kavita (name changed), a poor 17-year-old from Jharkand arrives in Delhi to work as a domestic help. Agents scour villages for vulnerable girls like her, offering them a better life. Often, the girls are minors, says Gaurav Tomar, a legal officer at the NGO, Chetanalaya. This is Kavita’s story.

The main characters of this story are (from left to right): Kavita, her employer, Gaurav Tomar and Kavita’s employer’s son.

Kavita is sent to work for a family of four – an old woman, her son and daughter-in-law and their child. “She (the employer would scold and slap me,” she says, and the young boy would tell tales to get her in trouble.

“I wanted to leave, but didn’t know how to,” says Kavita. One day, she accidentally breaks some crockery. The boy sees this and threatens to tell his mother. “I was so scared that I ran away. But the guard stopped me,” says Kavita.

She is too scared to go back and even though it is winter, she spends the night hiding on the terrace.The next morning, after her employers leave for work, Kavita tries to leave again. Her employers have made no attempt to find her the night before.

But the guard again stops Kavita. A Chetanalaya worker who is passing by hears Kavita crying. The social worker goes to investigate.

On hearing Kavita’s story, she calls Tomar. Tomar instructs her to call the police.

Kavita is rescued. Since she is a minor, she is taken to the Child Welfare Committee. Based on Kavita’s statement, a case of cruelty is filed against her employers. The agents are accused of trafficking.

Text by Poulomi Banerjee and illustrations by Sudhir Shetty.

First Published: Dec 12, 2016 19:45 IST