22 children rescued from forced labour

September 30, 2014, New Delhi: “I wanted to eat that red ice cream selling before my factory but never got that 10 rupees in two months. My mother is waiting for me in my village but in no way,I feel I can reach her”,said 12 year old Manish whose little hands had pliers in hand to fix the wire of a bike instead of pen. 9 such child labourers who were trafficked from different districts of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh for forced labour, were rescued from automobile and motor vehicle repair shops in Kotla,East Delhi. The rescue operation was headed by SDM Mayur Vihar, Labour Department and the members of Bachpan Bachao Andolan. All the children ranged between 10 to 14 year of age and have been trafficked from Madepura and Bulandsheher districts of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh respectively.

During the operation, five employers were arrested and all the six units were sealed immediately. The arrested employers will be prosecuted under different provisions of the law. The children were involved in hazardous work of denting and painting,repairing automobile parts. Most of them worked for more than 14 hours a day and were found clad in bare minimum clothes .Chronic cough and watery eyes was a common sight among the children and most of them worked without fans in this sweltering heat. “I wanted to read the colorful textbooks and go to school but my father convinced me to come here and earn money. He has taken loan from someone for our family and we have to repay it soon”,said 11 year old Dinesh who spends the entire day in fixing punctures and brake wires.

“I was exposed to extreme conditions and had to work among dangerous gas some times and my hands were burnt due to this” said Prakash,a thirteen year old trafficked from Bulandsheher, Uttar Pradesh.

The incident has once again brought into focus the plight of thousands of children who are forced in exploitative labour every day. Ironically, thousands of people who see these children every day in the tea stalls and workshops don't have any apathy with them. The children have been taken to a shelter home,Sanskar Ashram with the directions of Child welfare committee.

In another raid in Burari,North Delhi, on 26th September, 13 children were rescued from motor workshops ,repair shops and dhabas. The rescue operation was led by Sub-Divisional Magistrate (Civil Lines) accompanied by police, personnel from Labour Department and activists of Bachpan Bachao Andolan. These children were trafficked from West Bengal,Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and ranged from 10 to 16 years of age. Eight employers were also arrested during the rescue operation.

R.S. Chaurasia, Chairperson, BBA said, “Child labourers continue to work across the capital despite various laws and directions of the court. Thousands of children are still working in sweat shops. The bill prohibiting employment of children below 14 years in any form is still pending and awaiting approval of the parliament for last several years. More painful is the fact that adult working in thousands of shops and factories are not getting the prescribed minimum wages making them to send the children to such places.