BENGALURU: Two Adivasi women from Jharkhand, who were brought to Bengaluru for employment in October 2019, were rescued recently by a migrant worker from their district with the help of the Migrant Workers’ Helpline of Karnataka Janshakthi and Stranded Workers Action Network (SWAN). The plight of the women came to light, when Nicholas, one of their countrymen who is also a migrant worker from their district Dumka in Jharkhand and working in Ramanagaram, alerted some Good Samaritans in their state about their condition and one of them tweeted about it. “The tweet was read by SWAN and the Migrant Workers Helpline and we managed to get the contact number of Nicholas. We contacted him and managed to get a shelter for the women and their two daughters,” said Rajendran Narayanan of SWAN.
“The women were trafficked from Jharkhand to Bengaluru via Delhi. They have one daughter each aged four and eight years old. They were working in an incense factory in Kumbalgodu, where they were hired for a salary of `9,000 and `7,000 per month but were reportedly paid `200 per week. They had long working hours, stretching up to 15 hours per day and their living conditions were extremely inhospitable. They tried to escape in January but were brought back to the factory by the contractor and one of them was reportedly raped by a supervisor and another employee,” said Narayanan.
“The women tried to escape again in March and were living hand-to-mouth, when a man spotted them and took pity on them. He turned out to be another predator, who started making sexual advances towards one of them,” he added. Two FIRs have been registered at Kumbalgodu and Kengeri police stations. All three were arrested based on these FIRs.
On May 5, the two women went to the Kumbalgodu police station to register for permission to return to Jharkhand. “There they met Nicholas and narrated their story to him. Nicholas had also gone to the police station for permission to return home. Nicholas called his people in Jharkhand and one of them tweeted about the plight of the two women. This is how we came to know about them,” said Narayanan. Later on, the migrant workers helpline and SWAN contacted Nicholas and managed to get a shelter for the women.
“The supervisor was arrested last weekend and he is in judicial custody,” said Narayanan. He added that the Social Welfare Department responded and has paid compensation to the two women. Speaking to TNIE, Nicholas said, “A man from their village brought these women and three others to Sahebgunj in Jharkhand and handed them over to a man from Assam. The latter took these women and two children to Delhi, where he allegedly sold them. The women were spared because they had children. They were brought to Bengaluru to the incense factory,” he said.