National Domestic Workers' Welfare Trust

As a Movement we commit ourselves to work for: 1. Dignity of domestic work and all domestic workers 2. Justice for all domestic workers and workers rights 3. Empowerment of domestic workers 4. Recognising child domestic work as child labour to be abolished and giving children the right to mainstream education 5. Crisis intervention with rehabilitation, legal and medical aid 6. Networking on local, national and international level
Nov 28, 2012

Child trafficking offering corporate jobs

Enjoying their freedom
Enjoying their freedom

Introduction - National Domestic Workers Movement has been steadily gaining momentum in India. The fight magnifies on the common ground - “Domestic work is work! Domestic work is not slavery! Domestic workers are, like other workers, entitled to wage rights and decent working conditions!” NDWM constantly undertakes Anti-Trafficking measures to contain the magnitude of workforce migration, child trafficking and forced labour.  

Progress of the project - National Domestic Workers Movement (NDWM), India has been actively synergizing the efforts of its regional counterparts in building up the movement and curbing the regional sources of trafficking. Right from keeping constant pressure on the government, appealing for the rights for child domestic workers, labourers, migrants and representation at public forums, NDWM has been on an unstoppable quest.  

Story of beneficiaries - The harassment of cheap labour in the name of “Giant Corporations and MNCs” is a known issue in villages and small towns of India. Our story is about five young boys from Nuagaon, Upper Tola, a tehsil in Nayagarh district of Odisha, India. An agent named Sekh Sarkar lured the boys to work with the popular brand “Pepsi”. The agent whisked away the boys to the capital city of Delhi, with starlit dreams and expectation of big bucks in their pockets. Once they reached the city, the boys exchanged hands unto another agent who took a ransom commission of Rs 18, 000/- from them. However, their dreams turned into a nightmare when they were again sold to a 2nd agent, Raju Samsi Enterprises, E-107, 1st Floor Sakoorpur, near Samrat Cinema Hall, Delhi 110034. Here began the plight of these young naïve boys who were locked up in a room without food and water for an entire week and when they demanded the agent to let them get out and work with the Pepsi company, they were beaten up badly by some hooligans. One early morning, one of the boys was smart enough to find his way out and call up his parents to brief on their misery. The very next day the parents turned up at the premises of National Domestic Workers Movement (NDWM), Odisha and shared their part of the story. The NDWM Odisha staff got into action and took the help of Mr.  Digamber Mahanty (General Secretary of Sundargarh Industrial Workers Association) and gave one written FIR to Additional District Magistrate and Labour Department immediately. The Labour Department contacted Delhi police who swiftly went about their duty and rescued the five young boys from the clutches of bonded labour and slavery. 

Project accomplishments – NDWM traced the trafficking agent in order to reveal them and protect the target group from the clutches of exploitation. It networked with other non-government organizations, government organizations, policy makers, high-end information sources and police to facilitate rescue, rehabilitation and repatriation.

Impact and changes – NDWM initiated the participation of the villages to bring about resolutions toward anti-trafficking. We have been working with village level committees, Panchayats and local government and vigilant villagers to prevent uninformed migration and trafficking of the village youth, women, girls and children.

Future plans – NDWM plans to conduct sensitization programmes on issues of trafficking in villages by highlighting the existence of Child Rights Protection Act, telling rescue stories and explaining the rehabilitation process. 

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Sep 11, 2012

RESCUE OF CHILD DOMESTIC WORKERS

An overjoyed children
An overjoyed children's group

Report for June-Aug 2012

 

Rescue of Meena(name changed):

Meena aged 12 belongs to a large family consisting of ten members. Her brother and 4 sisters got settled in life. The parents are working alongwith their two younger daughters in a brick kiln and earning their living.

A Seth-(caste identity) named Sen from her village with the permission of her brother and parents took her for work as a domestic worker to a Seth in Patna, Ratnesh. She was working in his house for two and half years. She used to do all the cleaning in the house, sweeping, swabbing, washing clothes and utensils, and taking care of the children. She also used to massage the employer’s wife and children.

After all the work, the lady of the house used to scold her all the time and beat her up. Once she was beaten so badly that blood started oozing from her ear. When her parents came, the employer used to give Rs.600/- and would permit them to talk to their daughter only in her presence. When the mother wanted to take her home for Dusshera festival they did not let her go.

The matter came to the notice of NDWWT, Bihar after a tip-off by the top workers associated with the movement and working in the vicinity. With the help of the “Raid Team” (Dhawa Dal) - of the Bihar Child Labor Department, the child was rescued from the house of the employer on the 6th June-12. She stayed at “Muskan Manzil”, a shelter cum transit home run by NDWWT, Bihar. On the 20th July-12 her parents came and took her with the permission of the labor department and in the presence of an official, with the assurance that they would educate her.

 

Rescue of a child domestic worker:

A girl named Sony (name changed) aged around 11 years had been working as a domestic help in the house of a doctor in Mecon colony. The girl was brought by her alcoholic father to work from Tangerbasli in November against her will. However being underage which is legally prohibited she had to work for long hours and was also ill-treated by her employers. Therefore one day she fled away from her employer’s place but didn’t know her way back home. However few of our women working as domestic workers found this girl crying and after enquiring came to know about her story and took her along with them. They informed us about the girl and we went and met the girl and talked to her and discovered that she had been forced into domestic work by her father against her wishes. She had not been paid any money and when she asked for money they said that her father had taken the money whereas he had never come to take the money since he had left her. We asked the child whether she wanted to go home, she said she wanted to go back home but feared that her father would again place her somewhere else. We assured the child that we would take her back home. The girl was then brought to a shelter home for temporary shelter and Fr Chetan met with the officials of the labour department and informed them about the girl’s story. She was then taken to the labour department on 2nd of June by one of the NDWWT staff.  The officials had a talk with her and then on 5th June 2012 Fr Chetan along with the Labor Superintendent, 2 other Labor Enforcement officers and two of the domestic workers’ union members escorted the girl to her village and also counseled her parents and villagers never to send their child since she is underage and also the law prohibits children under 14 to engage in any kind of work and it was her luck that she didn’t fall into wrong hands.

The labour department made the employer of the girl to pay Rs 20,000 and the state government added Rs 5000 for the rehabilitation of the child. The money has been now deposited into the State rehabilitation fund after proper dialogue with the family of the child the money will be used to rehabilitate the family of the girl.

 

 

These are just few instances of the many similar stories of small children ending up in domestic work untold and unreported. Several thousands are trafficked indiscriminately as if they were a commodity. Child domestic workers are in high demand owing to the prolific growth of the nuclear families in the urban hubs of India. The scenario is still aggravated in families where both the husband and wife are working and the need of a domestic worker arises.

 

 

 

 

 

A bunch of elated children (previously domestic workers) during a monthly meet-up 

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Jun 22, 2012

REPORT APR-JUNE 2012

QUARTERLY REPORT: APRIL-JUNE 2011

INTRODUCTION:

The ever-widening gap between the rich and poor has led to the rapid increase in the number of Child Domestic Workers. The National Domestic Workers’ Movement while focusing on and working for the rights of domestic workers comes in contact with Child Domestic Workers. Their plight is unheard of, unseen and unknown. The movement caters to CDWs in distress and makes all possible efforts to restore their childhood.

Trafficking at all levels and in all forms cannot be tolerated at any cost. But it is observed that there is a rather high-incidence of trafficking of children for domestic work. The anti-trafficking and migration activities of the movement are specially focused on the children who are trafficked to be employed in domestic work.

During the second quarter of 2011 the following activities were conducted to cater to Children in Domestic Work:  

1. Capacity Building: NDWM believes that exposures to the world reality make the person what s/he is.  Several workshops and seminars were organized for Child Domestic Workers. They included the following:

  • Street theatre
  • Leadership skill training
  • Personality Development seminar
  • Workshop on Right to Education Act, 2010 (RTE), Child Right and Child Labor Act 1986.
  • Sessions on 100th ILO Convention: “Decent Work for Domestic Workers”
  • Training on Right to Participation
  • Healthy completion on painting, dance and singing
  • Talent training
  • Professional  training in housekeeping for the ones older than 15 years

The purpose was to enhance the self-esteem of the children, make them aware of the rights they enjoy, ensure that their opinion is voiced in public forums, to protect them and their peers from abuse and exploitation.

2.      CDWs’ in forefront:  Leaders meetings’ are organized for Child Domestic Workers, to discuss the issues relating to their life and work.  The leaders are encouraged to prepare  an action plan, to organize an event from beginning till end, they are helped to evaluate and to improve their skill. NDWM in partnership with Anti-Slavery International (ASI) facilitated a workshop for leaders of Child Domestic Workers to submit young Domestic Workers recommendation to ILO. The Child Domestic Workers participated in the Art Workshop as part of Children Unit’s advocacy program. Apart from these two international advocacy events, Child Domestic Workers actively participated in the below campaign programs mainly to protect the rights of Child Domestic Workers and educate the civil society on “Child Labor Act, 1986”  

 They also participated in several activities to demand the Indian Government to support 100th ILC: “Decent Work for Domestic Workers” and to include Domestic Workers in the “Protection of Women from sexual abuse and exploitation at Workplace Bill, 2010” like the following:

  • Poster, Post card and Signature campaigns
  • Rallies
  • Demonstrations
  • Press Conferences
  • Public Meetings
  • Interactive sessions and Round Table Conferences
  • Door to door Campaigns
  • Painting and Dance programs

 

Child Domestic Workers in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Bihar, Jharkhand, Goa, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur and Assam actively participated in the campaign programs.

3.      Campaign with prospective employers: Programs are organised for the children in the elite schools, where the middle class are enrolled. The movie “Luchhi” was screened and it was followed by discussion on the rights of Child Domestic Workers and former’s role in promoting the latter’s rights. Child Domestic Workers along the elite children participated in 16 days Campaign on “Breaking the Conspiracy of Silence” in schools and colleges through drawings, painting, poster designing, elocution and debates along with elite children.  CDWs Participated in the painting completion, “Child Labour Free” organised by Labour Department to create awareness in the civil Society along with elite school children (perspective employers) and won second prize.  Performed dance on the issues of Child Domestic Workers and the audience were the elite college students. 

4.      Crisis interventions: NDWM also involve along with Labor department or Child Line to rescue and rehabilitate Child Domestic Workers. These rescued children are admitted either in the homes run by NGOs or state Home for Girls. Thereafter they are repatriated with her families. 

 

CASE I:

Radha (Name changed) hails from a village in Theni District from Tamil Nadu.  Her father, Joseph is a daily wage worker. Due to utter poverty and to ease the financial burden, Radha was sent to Kerala when she was 9 years old for the domestic work. She was working in Aluva in Ernakulam District of Kerala.  She was placed in a lawyers’ house for domestic work. The employer has a 2 year-old child whom the nine year old had to care for. One particular day while carrying the child by mistake slipped from her hand and fell down. For this reason Radha was tortured by the employer couple. They kept a hot iron rod on her chest. She was brutally ill-treated even branded.  The extreme punishment was that she was made to stand outside the house whole day.   Radha used the chance to escape by climbing out from the compound wall. Seeing the scars on the body, the neighbors rescued her.  Soon legal proceedings were initiated by NDWM and memorandums were submitted to the both Chief ministers in Kerala and Tamil Nadu requesting for justice to Radha. Consequently the family was traced and Radha was repatriated with her family.

  5.      Efforts to Minimize Trafficking:  Village level meetings are organised for leaders, parents, women, youth separately and together to empower them on the negative impact of sending children for Domestic Work to cities through middle man. 

The unique change for better among Child domestic Workers is their growing leadership with active participation in all the campaign programs. Today, they are the spokesperson for themselves and for their co-CDWs, who still exist, beyond the Child Labour Act, 1986, with elected representatives, media and civil society.

CONCLUSION:

 On one side the increasing poverty and on the other side rise in the number of nuclear families and working women has led to the high demand for Child Domestic Workers, though children entering in to Domestic Work is not the solution.  National Domestic Workers’ Movement’s vision is to promote Domestic Work, only for above 18 years.  However NDWM responds to the day to life of below 18 years and they are organized in groups. The Child Domestic Workers, who are below 14 encouraged for main stream education through regular house visit and dialogue with their parents. The above 15 years are motivated to continue their education, while working.

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