Noida: Noida police have rescued two minor sisters working as domestic helps here, months after they were sold off during the Covid-19 pandemic by some people in their native Jharkhand state, officials said on Monday. The girls, aged 13 and 12 years, hail from Gumla district in Jharkhand, where an FIR related to their trafficking was also lodged but the duo remained untraceable, they said.
"The girls were brought to Noida for work by a man named Basant, who had taken consent from their mother. The elder girl came in August 2021 while the younger one came in January 2022. They were working at a couple's house in Sector 27 here and rescued by officials of the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit (AHTU) on Sunday," a police spokesperson here said.
"The police had inputs that the girls were kept as slaves and forcefully made to work in the household here after which the action was taken," the spokesperson said.
Vinod Panwar, in-charge of the Noida AHTU, said when rescued from the house, the financially weak sisters did not complain about any ill-treatment from the couple employing them.
The employers were paying a monthly salary of Rs 8,000 to the elder sister and Rs 7,000 to the younger one. The girls had taken only a small amount of their money, which was kept with the couple only, he said.
However, recently when the girls expressed a desire to take leave to visit home, they were not allowed to do so by the couple, Panwar added.
"They had lost their father in 2014. Their mother is understood to be working in Delhi. They have an elder brother and a sister, both of whom are married and live in Jharkhand only," he told PTI.
"During the investigation of the case, it also came to light that an FIR is lodged in Gumla, Jharkhand, mentioning that the girls had been sold off by traffickers and three people had been booked for it," the official said.
When asked about them, the girls told AHTU officials that they had studied till Classes 7 and 8, respectively, but their school had shut down at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Panwar.
The girls were taken for a medical examination, and thereafter, to the Child Welfare Committee under the supervision of the local Sector 20 police station officials, he said.
Further legal proceedings in the case are underway, he added.