Woman abducted, trafficked as minor rescued from bonded slavery; reunited with parents after HRLN intervention


WP (Crl) 1482/2018 In this case, the petitioner filed a writ of Habeas Corpus to trace and produce before the court her daughter, (aged 19) who had been missing since 2013. According to the petition, her daughter used to live in West Bengal with her before she was abducted in 2013 and taken to Delhi by two persons to be employed as household help. She was then a minor and was forcibly employed as a modern-day bonded slave. In 2015, her mother filed a complaint in West Bengal stating that she had been attempting to contact her in Delhi, but had been threatened by the persons who had taken her. The mother also travelled to Delhi several times to look for Urmila, but was harassed and even beaten up by persons connected to her daughter’s traffickers. While in Delhi, the petitioner finally managed to speak her with her daughter over mobile, but was rebuffed by her daughter's employer, who refused to let her go. In March, 2018, she got in touch with some social activists, who traced the mobile phone number’s registration details and address associated with it. The convener of HRLN’s National Campaign Committee for Eradication of Bonded Labour (NCCEBL) then wrote to the SDM, Rohini, informing him of the trafficking and requested that an FIR be registered and proceedings be instituted under the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976 and IPC provisions. He also wrote to the Deputy Commissioner, North-West District, Delhi to notify him of the case. In her writ petition, the petitioner said that authorities in West Bengal and Delhi had both been criminally negligent and complicit in the kidnapping and bondage of her daughter and thus, she sought the writ of habeas corpus and the prosecution of all persons responsible. In its order on July 4, 2018, the Delhi high court noted that after the intervention, Urmila had been located and produced in court. Since the daughter had said that she wished to return and live with her parents, the court directed the IO to ensure her safe return to her house the same day.