Rescued as child labourers, courageous Nili and Alia reshaped their lives' narratives
Caught in the charade of being given a lucrative job in Delhi, Nili* and Alia* were traded to a placement agency and employed as domestic help where they were forced to work up to 18 hours every day.
Nili, at the tender age of 13 was trafficked along with her friend Alia from the remote village of Jharkhand, India. Every day at her employer's house, Nili woke up around 5 am, cleaned the house that spanned across 2200 square feet, prepared morning meals for the landlord’s family, cooked breakfast as well as lunch, cleaned the dishes, washed and ironed clothes, took care of the garden and headed to the local market to purchase groceries, and by evening, again cooked dinner and carried out other household chores.
Nili would usually go to bed by almost midnight each day. She had hardly anything to eat and found very little time to sleep. It was taking its toll on her little fragile body. She struggled in the gruelling condition of work for many months. Alia’s situation was no different except her landlord’s house was much bigger than compared to Nili’s. This ordeal continued for both girls every single day for a span of 120 days.
Soon upon receiving information about the crime, VIHAAN along with the local authorities rescued Nili from her inconsiderate employer. VIHAAN intervened at the right time and thanks to our specially trained team, we were able to track down and report the horrifying situation to the local police. The next day, she helped her friend Alia escape her circumstances and was also able to file an FIR with the local police against the crime.
“It was unbearable and I would have committed suicide if you wouldn’t have come today”, Nili said with tears on the day of the rescue.
After several counselling sessions, the girls joined their families in their villages. VIHAAN continued to work with them and provided educational, medical, counselling and legal support.
During the pandemic, to prevent re-victimisation due to the economic situation, VIHAAN supported both families with monthly groceries. Nili was able to continue her studies and made everyone proud by passing her Standard 10 with impressive marks and Alia completed her high school too.
In September 2022, Nili was summoned to the Delhi court to appear as evidence against the accused. With the help of team VIHAAN and a partner organisation, she appeared for the hearing along with her father and testified against the trafficker, placement agency and her illegal employer. The social worker assisted Nili to transfer her wages of INR 50,000 to her savings account, which she received as worker wages. Alia's wages of INR 1,80,000 have also been recovered with the help of the Child Welfare Committee.
Nili now lives a wholesome and fruitful life in Jharkhand and is employed as a receptionist in a girl's hostel while pursuing her education. Alia is married happily.
“You are the reason for me to live and lead a decent and dignified life. I will continue my studies and make a name for myself. Thank you so much", said Nili.
“I had lost all hope to return to my family. But when you came, I got back my hope and trusted that you would take me back to my family and I would be safe again”, expressed Alia.
VIHAAN strives to create a world free from abuse and exploitation, where every person lives with dignity.
*Names changed to protect identity. Images are for representational purposes only.