17 trafficked children rescued

October 21st, 2008 - 3:11 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 21 (IANS) Their parents were paid a paltry Rs.500-Rs.1,000 with the promise that they would be sent to schools in the city. But these 17 children were instead being taken to agricultural farms to work as bonded labour when they were rescued by child rights activists and police. In two separate raids by the Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) NGO and police, 17 trafficked children were rescued from railway stations in the flood hit districts of Bihar.

The children, mostly boys, were about to be taken away from their home state by three middlemen when activists of BBA conducted a raid on Saharsa railway station and rescued them.

“The three dalals (middlemen) had paid Rs.500-1,000 to their parents, telling them that the kids would be sent to school as well as earn a handsome amount by working part time,” Umesh Gupta of the BBA told IANS.

“What the parents didn’t know was that the children were being taken to Ludhiana and Patiala to work as bonded labourers in agricultural farms of Punjab,” he said.

R.S. Chaurasia of BBA added: “Trafficking of children for bonded and child labour is rampant in the agriculture sector, but as agricultural child labour is not considered a crime under the Child Labour Act, the children can only be rescued if the government considers them as bonded labourers.”

“Trafficking goes on unabated in these parts as the law enforcement agencies simply turn a blind eye and even the police are not sensitized to the organised crime nature of trafficking. Police, especially railway police, need to be sensitised and rigorously trained to ensure that traffickers are arrested and children should not be victimised,” he added.

The rescued children hail from Madhepura, Supaul and Araria districts of Bihar and Nepal and have been sent back to their parents.

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