Bengaluru Couple Hired 12-Year-Old As Maid. Her Death Exposes Huge Racket

The death of the 12-year-old maid had prompted police to launch an investigation across Karnataka. (Representational image)
Highlights
  • Child fell to her death from 9th-floor apartment last week
  • Was hired by Bengaluru couple through Delhi agency
  • 150 other young girls placed as domestic help by same agency

Bengaluru: It was 9 pm on a weekend when the body of a young girl was found at an apartment building in a fancy neighbourhood in Bengaluru. Phoolmuni, 12, fell from the ninth floor to her death, the police says. Her employers, a married couple named Vishal Mutt, who is a chartered account, and Garima Grover, a dentist, were not home when she fell last week. They have now been charged with aiding her suicide.

They have told the police that they did not know their maid of nearly two years was just a child. They hired her through a placement agency in Delhi which supplies domestic help.

“As it turns out, the girl’s father was looking for her for nearly two years,” said Geeta Menon of Stree Jagruti Samiti, a Bengaluru charity which works to promote the rights of domestic workers. “It took days to track him and when he came to take his daughter’s body back home, he was just heart-broken.”

The police believes the child, whose family is from Assam, was trafficked along with nearly 150 others, all younger than 18, by an agency in Delhi called Milan Enterprises, whose offices have been raided recently; four people have been arrested for supplying the minors, most of them from northeastern states, as domestic help across the country. They were treated as bonded labour, with the agency pocketing their salaries; all they got was food and clothes from their employers.

“These girls are purchased from their parents and then taken to Delhi. From there, they are taken to different cities. We believe it’s a big network. Further probe is on” said, Hemanth Nimbalkar, Additional Commissioner of Police..

There are an estimated 50 million domestic workers in India, most of them women and girls, who are often exploited in the absence of any legal protection.

A bill to improve working conditions for domestic workers by introducing a minimum salary, social security cover and mandatory time off is still awaiting cabinet approval.

“With many northern states framing laws to regulate people being hired as domestic work, south India seems to have become a safe haven for agents,” Ms Menon said.

25 COMMENTS

  1. All persons dealing with child labour and the employers of child labour should be strictly dealt with so that this huge problem is totally routed out of this country to start with by making the laws even more stringent.

  2. I read this and feel so bad. A 12 year old girl who vanished, her father searching for her. She should have been in school instead of toiling for a a spoilt educated couple. Did they not imagine that they were doing wrong? That if they had had a daughter she woud have had a different life? Poor father, taking the girl’s daughter home. It is a shame to be poor, so poor that you cannot even fight the battle for justice for poor Phholmuni.

  3. 1. We should change
    2. We should practice the decision
    3. When visiting tea shop, or a restaurant, if found kids working, should question the owner – if you can’t change, avoid visiting such stores.
    4. Try this…

  4. RIP Phoolmuni. What a tragedy for her father come to take her body home. What a tragedy that educated people employ young girls instead of sending them to school. All for their so-called domestic comfort (hot chappatis etc). I am angry to read this. I would like to know what the future has in store for Phoomùni’s parents? Who will weep for the deathof an underage maid?

  5. We have seen so many scams and exploitations like this, but nobody gets punished or goes to jail in this country. It’s only TRP news.

  6. First, the couple who hired them should be stripped of their professional certifications. Shame to say that one is CA and the other is Doctor. Then they should be arrested for life

    • Right. What a shame that educated people have the barbaric notion of employing a poor, minor girl for domestic tasks! And the educated woman of the house must have employed her!

  7. Hey Jokers, issues like these require immediate attention – not cows, not how many prawns you can be served at a restaurant!

  8. crime patrol ! Strange I remember such crime in one episode year ago.. north eastern states n agencies in Delhi.. Police crack down , shops closed and here you go sprung up again.. same cycle again n again. As long as these so called well educated and well to do people don’t give damn for lives of poor people, they will keep BUYING such innocent children and keep playing with their lives. Imagine the house where one little kid lives as a domestic maid and another given all d happiness of life just by being born to different people. WE are not only doing WRONG thing, even infusing inhumane traits in to next generation of another wealthy/ well to do/ well educated.. poorly raised Indians. How can such people remain hidden from neighbors.. shouln’t we be more SAAVDHAN and SATARK to find such people and report to authorities !
    GOD BLESS CHILDHOOD ! ! !

  9. RIP Phoolmuni. I urge both Central and State governments to take immediate steps to end children becoming victims of fear and greed. It doesn’t take much time for legal announcements to report all workers overnight to the local police stations with their identity, regardless of age, gender to ensure that they are hired through legit sources.

    I’m a father of two girls and I can imaging what must be going through the poor father of Phoolmuni.

    God Bless India.

    • The poor father. The couple should pay him kakhs as compensation. It wont bring his daughter back but enable a poor family to live.

  10. Most bangalore IT Couple engage the domestic helps who are underaged and they torture them. Police needs to do more rigorous search on the IT families. Mostly from North India.

  11. Make the registration of domestic help mandatory with local police station with adhar card as the mandatory id proof. If not charge these owners with life time jail. this can be one solution to this menace . besides life term , human trafficking , child labour IPC acts must also be invoked.

  12. Will AAP take responsibility for this ?
    Why were sitting blind when this was happening ?
    Whom will they blame now ?
    Did EVM’s do this ?
    Did the PM do this ?

  13. Any body found having underaged children working for them should be jailed for 5 years without any trial anda penalty of 50% of their net worth taken away from them and should be placed in a FD for the child and the income used to educate such children

    • I agree. The family of the young girl should receive compensation so that the enormity of the crime sinks into the thick heads of the educated people who hired a poor, underage girL.

  14. Parents selling their kids is wrong.
    Company supplying minors is wrong.
    The couple employing a minor is wrong.
    God save us all.

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