New Delhi - A teenage girl working as a maid in India's capital was
recovering in hospital on Tuesday after being rescued from a home where
campaigners said she was slashed with knives and mauled by dogs.
Police have arrested her employers, a 50-year-old woman and her 85-year-old
mother, who live in the upmarket Vasant Kunj area of southern New Delhi, on
suspicion of illegal confinement and assault, PTI news agency reported.
The 15-year-old's injuries have focused a spotlight again on the abuse of
domestic servants in the capital where thousands of workers, often children
trafficked from remote and poverty-stricken states, toil for long hours in
homes with almost no legal protection.
"It is horrible and barbaric," Kiran Walia, Delhi's minister for
women and child development, told reporters after visiting the victim in a city
hospital where she is being treated for multiple injuries.
The girl, from eastern Jharkhand state, reportedly told police after her
rescue on Monday night that she had been working with her abusive employers for
the past year.
"Such a heinous crime has happened to this girl. The whole head was
smashed, the whole body, dog bites are there," Rishi Kant, from the anti-trafficking
campaign group Shakti Vahini, told the NDTV news channel.
"In this house they are well off, they are not poor people," he
added after a joint operation with police to rescue the maid.
In April last year, Indian police arrested a wealthy doctor couple who
locked up their 13-year-old maid while they went away on holiday. She was
rescued by firefighters when neighbours spotted her crying on an outside
"Rich people are willing to pay any amount of money to get servants who
can clean their houses, survive on left-over food," campaigner Kant told
"Illegal placement agencies offering house maids have mushroomed in
every city across India."
"The rich employers are specifically looking at children because they
come cheaper, complain less and can be exploited."
In 2006, India passed legislation banning employment of children under 14 in
households, roadside eateries and hotels, but the law is widely flouted in the
country of 1.2 billion people.