India

India police arrest couple for locking-in teen servant

File photo of Indian child labour
Image caption India has 35 million child workers, aid agencies say

A doctor couple accused of locking up their teenage domestic servant while they went on holiday have been arrested in the Indian capital, Delhi.

Police say the couple did not return from Thailand as planned on 30 March and they alerted all airports to look out for them.

The 13-year old girl was rescued last Thursday, saying she had been locked up for three days by the couple.

A Delhi court has put them in police custody for two days, say reports.

'Not malnourished'

Neighbours alerted police and activists after they heard the girl crying and screaming for help from the balcony.

Police said the girl was locked in the apartment without any food and had been starving.

A lawyer for the couple told the court that medical reports show she is not "malnourished" and that she was given a key but must have accidentally locked herself in, according to NDTV news channel.

She alleged that she had not been paid for three months, police said.

The girl is being cared for in a government shelter and her mother is expected to arrive from her home state of Jharkhand soon.

The United Nations children's agency, Unicef, says there are 35 million child labourers in India.

In 2006, India banned children under 14 from working as domestic servants.

But activists say the ban is regularly flouted and millions of children continue to work in homes.

Many are also employed illegally in other jobs, including hazardous industries.

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