Child welfare officials filed a suit on March 30 against a couple whose 13-year-old domestic worker was found locked in their house for several days without food, according to the L.A. Times.
According to the Times, the girl, who was not identified, told local television reporters her food ran out soon after the family left for a vacation in Bangkok. The doors and windows of the house were sealed and difficult to pry open. The girl eventually opened a window and called for help, which got the attention of neighbors, the Times said.
The Times said she was rescued from the third floor of the home, taken in for a medical examination and then to a shelter.
The girl said her employers, who are both doctors, cut her and pulled out clumps of her hair as punishment according to the Times.
A.K. Ojha, deputy police commissioner for southwest Delhi, confirmed that the girl had several bruises that suggested she had been beaten regularly, the Times said. He said the police were starting an investigation and that the whereabouts of the employers were unknown.
According to police and charity workers, the girl was brought to Delhi and sold to a placement agency, which sent her to the couple's house a year ago, the Times said.
According to the TImes, "statistics on the number of underage domestic workers in India are unavailable, but in a recent survey, Save The Children India found 50,000 in Kolkata alone and estimated that there are 2 million to 3 million nationwide."
Activists and labor experts say the exploitation of domestic workers is often driven less by money than by issues of caste or a desire to feel powerful, according to the Times.