28 bonded child labourers rescued in Delhi

December 19th, 2008 - 8:28 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 19 (IANS) Twenty-eight trafficked bonded child labourers, including a seven-year-old boy, were rescued from a leather and embroidery unit in northwest Delhi, officials said Friday.Made to work for an inhuman 17 hours every day with no wages since the last one year, the children were found in a condition bad enough to melt anyone’s heart. Found shivering since they were given to wear just tee-shirts and no footwear, the boys looked exhausted, having worked endlessly and treated mercilessly.

Trafficked from Darbhanga district in Bihar where most of their families face harsh living conditions, the children were rescued from the Karampura area of Delhi Thursday by the police and labour department officials, with assistance of members of the NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA).

“The children used to stitch leather purses and did embroidery. A typical day for them started at eight in the morning and ended at one at night. Still, except some of the older children who used to get Rs.20 a week, the others didn’t even get that,” said R.S. Chaurasia of Bachpan Bachao Andolan.

Abdul, a nine-year-old who was one of the 28 kids rescued, said: “My parents were given money by the uncle who brought me here. Ever since I came here, I have never been given any money. My master used to beat me up too. It was extremely tiring to work so many hours. I just want to go home now.”

Chaurasia said that although there are thousands of children working in illegal factories in the northwest area of Delhi alone, there is an evident lethargy of the law enforcement agencies in arresting the employers and traffickers.

“Even in this operation, we had hoped to rescue more than 100 children, but there was an initial delay in sending the enforcement officers to the spot of rescue. Due to this, there were only four police constables who assisted us in the operation in two locations instead of the expected nine locations. This shows the attitude of the law enforcement agencies in arresting the traffickers and rescuing the children,” he said.

The 28 rescued children will be given release certificates under the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, which will entitle the children to a rehabilitation package of Rs.20,000 in their native district.

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