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
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 

Links:

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.

Links:

Apr 4, 2012

VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING Jan-Apr 2011

INTRODUCTION:

Children and women from the villages and tribal belts of the North-Eastern and Eastern states of India are most vulnerable to trafficking for domestic work. In order to prevent trafficking and to rescue victims from its clutches, National Domestic Workers’ Welfare Trust  conducts activities at both the source and destination states such as Orissa, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, the north-eastern states of Meghalaya, Assam, Manipur etc. Sr. Jeanne Devos, National Coordinator observes that over 90% of the persons trafficked for domestic work is from the state of Orissa to state of Goa.

Media awareness programs, campaigns and consultations are conducted in order to bring an attitudinal change in source and destination areas about trafficking and forced migration and bring about a responsive action of stakeholders for prevention. The movement facilitates the training and formation of Self Help Groups in target areas and the formation of village level committees to prevent trafficking. Further, agents and roots of trafficking in the source areas are identified. Also networking with NGOs, GOs, policy-makers, churches and police in source areas is undertaken so as to facilitate rescue, rehabilitation and repatriation. NDWWT makes all possible efforts and takes the necessary steps to prevent illegal human trafficking for domestic work that often may take dangerous forms for e.g. girl children trafficked in the name of domestic work often ultimately get caught up in the prostitution racket.

UTTAR PRADESH: CHILDREN RESCUED FROM DOMESTIC WORK

A DREAM COMES TRUE:

12 years old Renu Rawat was fourth among the five children of late Mr. Ram Suchit Rawat and Mrs. Sushila Devi. Following the demise of the father the sole breadwinner, the mother Sushila who was about fifty five years old was unable to earn enough to take care of her children. In the midst of such a situation Mrs. Meena (name changed) their neighbour offered to take care of ten years old Renu and  give her proper schooling, on the condition that she help the family in the house hold work just like the other children in the family do. Sushila trusted Meena and sent the child to the family for her better future. Unfiortunately the child was made to do all the works the family even to the extent of taking care small children for the whole day. This continued for the coming two years.

The matter came to the notice of NDWWT staff in the course of a visit to Sushila’s village, Ethuria and sprung into action immediately.  They discovered on further probing that the child had been working unpaid for the last two years. The child was still hoping to go to school and have a bright future. The team from NDWWT confronted Meena and enquired the reason for not having kept her word to Sushila of taking care of her daughter and educating her. Initially the lady was unwilling to cooperate or free the child. The team citing the Prohibition of Child Labour Act and the Right to Education Act and advised the employer to choose either to free the child or be prepared to face legal action.  Alarmed they agreed to free the child immediately. But the NDWWT team further demanded compensation for the two years the child had slogged for them, for which little money was paid. The child now enrolled in school smilingly says, “I will study, become a social worker and will not allow any child to get trapped in domestic work.”

LEADER BY TRUE LIFE EXPERIENCE:

11 year old Vishal (name changed) is the only son of late Mr. Muttary and late Mrs. Premawati. When Vishal was three years old he lost his father after which the mother also fell ill and died probably due to hard work and lack of food and rest after six years. Having lost both the parents he had nowhere to go. His mother’s employer demanded that he ought to work as a domestic help to repay the loan taken by his mother, leaving no other option for him rather to succumb to the pressure.

It was during the pulse polio campaign that the NDWWT staff came in contact with the child for the first time. After discussions and a preliminary study the team discovered that the child had undergone a lot of physical and mental torture under the employer for the past two years. Overwhelmed by fear and anxiety never spoke to anyone.  After several attempts by the team they managed to have the child open up. The team with the help of a police officer managed to rescue the child. Meanwhile the team also identified the relatives of the boy. His uncle was willing to take the child to his home and educate him. He is happily living with his uncle’s family and is studying in class three in the village school and has become a leader in the class. He is a leader because he has a lot to share from his own life experience which most of us may not get whole of our lifetime. 

 ASSAM: RESCUE & REPATRIATION OF CHILDREN IN DOMESTIC LABOUR

Rose and Bena, two illiterate girls from Assam migrated to Manipur in search of employment. Influenced by their friends, they hoped for better wages and comfortable working conditions as domestic workers as. Thinking that they could earn enough to support their younger siblings’ education they moved to an unknown place and people. However to their surprise and dismay, the scenario was quite different. Employed as live-in domestic workers for the same person, they toiled day and night without proper food and proper place to rest. Often verbally harassed by their employer, they earned a paltry sum of Rs. 200/- INR per month as wages and that too only for the first three months. For the remaining 9 months, they went unpaid for no tangible reason at all.

They finally decided to escape and flee to their homes but had no money and also were unaware of the way back home. Inspite of the uncertainty, they risked their lives and escaped from their employer, into the jungle. When the morning came they moved towards the main road (NH 39) that leads to Dimapur. After several unsuccessful attempts, a vehicle stopped. They requested the driver to take them to Assam. After listening to their plight and pondering the possibilities, the kind-hearted driver referred the matter to Sr. Maria Goretti, Manipur state coordinator of NDWWT.

With the timely and meaningful intervention of the driver, they were brought to the centre and given proper care and counselling. The employer was traced out and with much difficulty the staff of the organisation negotiated with him to pay the remaining 9 months’ wages. Due to the ill-treatment they had suffered they were unwilling to be employed as domestic workers. He agreed to pay Rs. 2,000/- each to the girls. Sr. Maria accompanied them till Dimapur as they were scared to travel back home alone.

 CONCLUSION:

            We aspire not to leave any stone unturned before we witness the end to the human misery caused by trafficking. By no means do we intend to let this rather illicit and lucrative trade thrive and take its toll on the lives of many innocent children and women. Anti-trafficking measures ought to be more organised to challenge the organised and dangerous shape that trafficking is taking. The people of tribal origin and those from rural areas ought to be made aware of how to escape and foresee the perils of trafficking. Also very importantly it needs to be ensured that tangible progress be gained in the direction of the formulation of strong legislations that would protect the rights of those caught up in trafficking especially for domestic work. These ought to be implemented well and put in place and ensure that none of the offenders is able to bypass the law and escape legal action. 

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