The Telegraph
Saturday , December 1 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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19 minor girls rescued from Delhi’s belly, six with salaries

A 12-year-old girl from Kolebira village, Simdega, worked in New Delhi as a babysitter for four months. The smart working couple returned home late every night and condescended to give the girl leftovers for dinner, her only meal of the day. If she asked for more, she was slapped

A 17-year-old girl from Torpa block, Ranchi district, worked as a maid in New Delhi for four years. Instead of money, meals and dignity for her labour, she faced “unspeakable torture”. She can now barely speak

Nineteen minor girls, rescued from the national capital in a series of operations over three months, finally arrived in Ranchi late on Thursday night.

At the residence of state social welfare minister Vimla Pradhan on Friday, countless emotions — from trauma and confusion to anger and relief — flitted across their young faces.

The girls, who are school dropouts from Latehar and Bokaro (one each), Ranchi (two), Khunti and Simdega (three each) and Gumla (nine), were escorted during the Garib Rath ride by members of NGOs Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, Ranchi, and Action against Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation of Children (Atsec), Jharkhand.

Currently staying at Kishori Niketan, a short stay home at Bijupara in Chanho block of Ranchi, the girls will be enrolled in Kasturba Gandhi residential schools or vocational training courses.

The rescue operation managed to extract salaries of six girls, which minister Pradhan termed “remarkable”.

The sums — Rs 13,015, Rs 47,862, Rs 55,562, Rs 79,752, Rs 1,21,796 and Rs 1,61,355 — have been put in one-year fixed deposit accounts.

To successfully pull off the prolonged rescue mission, government and non-government agencies of the two states of Jharkhand and Delhi — State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) and two Ranchi NGOs as well as Delhi Police, Child Welfare Committee and state labour department — worked closely.

Though rural middlemen have not been caught yet, Delhi placement agencies were raided to get details of victims and addresses of their employers.

Delhi-based Child Welfare Committee members summoned placement agencies and employers some of who were arrested to finally facilitate the rescue of the 19 girls of Jharkhand.

Pradhan said the onus was now on the state to give the girls another shot at life.

“It is time for them girls to empower themselves through education. As a part of rehab, the girls will be enrolled in Kasturba Gandhi schools with the help of SCPCR. Directives to this effect will be issued to district superintendents of education and deputy commissioners concerned. Older ones aged 16 or 17 will be trained as security guards or beauticians,” she said.

SCPCR chairperson Roop Lakshmi Munda said for starters, rescued girls would be counselled. “They have been through a lot. We need to understand what suits them. But, we definitely want to equip them with education or vocation,” Munda added.

State Atsec co-ordinator Sanjay Mishra said this year they had managed to rescue 74 girls from only New Delhi.

“We are working in tandem with Delhi officials who have been helpful. Special thanks to Women and Child Helpline toll-free number 18003456526,” he said.

While happy endings may be some time in coming, a 13-year-old rescued girl who now has over Rs 1.61 lakh of her earnings in her name, said her dream of going to school would now materialise.

“I’ll study now,” the girl hailing from Latehar whispered. But her voice was firm.

Is the state finally getting its rescue act together?