Placement Agencies supplying minors as domestic help flourish as police look on helplessly

NEW DELHI: A husband and wife duo, both college graduates, have been arrested following their alleged involvement in running a placement agency for providing minor domestic helps in Saket in south Delhi. The arrested have been identified as Lalita and Manoj Singh, hailing from Jharkhand, said police. 

"We found an 11-year-old girl crying on a street, alone. On enquiry, she told us that she is a native of Gumla in Jharkhand and had been brought to the city by the accused persons and made to work in a house in Saket. However, after three days she was sent to a different house to work. She ran away from that house as she was unhappy there. At her instance, we lodged a case against the accused who we nabbed after a raid. They were running a placement agency by the name 'Citizen Service Centre' in Lado Sarai for the past six months," explained a senior police officer. 

Cops said Lalita was the proprietor of the agency. The duo has been booked under various sections of the Juvenile Justice Act, Child Labour Act as well as the Indian Penal Code for confinement and inflicting minor injury. A day's police custody has been obtained and they are being interrogated. "We suspect that the duo had brought several other minor girls for this purpose and are probing the same. We have sent the girl to a welfare home after medical examination. She went through mental torture and was shaken when we rescued her," explained a senior police officer. 

The police are yet to register a case against the persons who had employed the minor girl in their house. Residents of Saket, the employers of the child are working in highly placed positions in multinational companies and are affluent, said cops. "We will investigate whether they knew that the child was underage and will accordingly take action," explained a senior police officer. Meanwhile, DCP (south) H G S Dhaliwal explained, "We have registered a case against the two accused and are interrogating them closely. Our investigation will progress accordingly." 

According to the police, the duo would promise Rs 2,000 salary per month to these girls in exchange for one month's salary from them. Police sources claimed that three other girls, all majors, were also found after the police conducted the raid at the placement agency, two of whom were found to be extremely unwell. "The duo would promise the victims' parents that their children would get good salaries," said a police officer.