In India, following the directions of the High Court of Delhi to regulate trafficking for domestic work, especially of girls and women through placement agencies, the Delhi Government has cleared an Executive Order for regulation of the same.
The High Court of Delhi had given elaborate directions for the regulation of placement agencies in a case filed by Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), Global March Against Child Labour’s partner in India. However, when the orders were not being complied with, a bench headed by the Chief Justice had summoned the Secretary Labour to explain the reasons for non-compliance. The Executive Order was issued in compliance of the High Court decision in BBA vs Union of India and others in December 2013.
The Executive Order defines “domestic worker” as a person of the age of 18 years or more, engaged to do domestic work through private placement agencies. Further, the salient features of the orders are:
- No placement agency shall be allowed to function in Delhi without registering itself with the Labour Department
- Details of the agency, employers, workers, living and working conditions, commission, etc will have to be furnished to the Labour Department
- Every domestic worker should be issued a passbook (for record keeping), and an agreement for employment shall be in writing
- Strict penalty of Rs. 50,000 for non-compliance of the Order
- Additional powers to the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) and the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) to decide upon the complaints within a period of 30 days
- The complaints may be regarding non-payment of minimum wages and other living/working conditions
Kailash Satyarthi, Chairperson Global March Against Child Labour applauding this step said, “It is a landmark decision by the Government that will provide protection to over 100,000 of domestic workers trafficked through placement agencies in the capital and are working in deplorable conditions often being sexually abused as well. In just one case of a trafficker arrested in August, he has claimed to have trafficked over 5000 girls and to be involved in running over 400 placement agencies. He claims that there are over 10,000 placement agencies in the Delhi National Capital Region. We hope that now this Order will be strictly imposed in protection of domestic workers and elimination of child labour and trafficking.”
Internationally, the International Labour Organization had laid down Convention 189 on Decent work for Domestic Workers. This promotes protection of domestic workers and calls for elimination of child labour in domestic work where it is hazardous or detrimental to their well-being. Countries are encouraged to ratify Convention 189 and adopt laws/regulation in line with it. The Executive Order is the first national regulation that will promote the rights of workers and contribute to elimination of child labour in the domestic sector. Child labour in domestic work continues to be a focus area for Global March with action in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
View the copy of the Executive Order here