In a major crackdown of a trafficking ring, 26 boys between the ages of 8 and 13 were rescued last week from a jeans-making factory in Seelampur area of northeast Delhi.
The boys were found to be bonded labourers working for at least 22 hours every day, with just a single meal. The wounds and the scars that have been found on their bodies suggest that they have been subjected to heavy torture, often beaten by hammers and cutters. All the boys who have been rescued are from the Motihari district of Bihar.
How were they found?
On 1 February, six boys were found roaming around the Anand Vihar railway station in New Delhi. They had severe black and blue marks of injuries on their body. On suspicion, the Railway Childline officials approached and asked them about their details. The children told them that they had been working in a jeans factory for almost six months without any wages and just one meal a day. “The boys had been left abandoned at the railway platform by their employer. Initially, the children were scared, but they finally opened up. They were produced before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC),” said Ritu Mehra, Member of CWC, to The Logical Indian.
The Rescue Operation
The children who were brought to the CWC revealed that there were more children who were working in the factory. Taking note of this fact, the CWC in Dilshad Garden ordered the Railway Childline, NGO Don Bosco Childline, and New Usmanpur Police Station to rescue the children. The labour department was also called up for the rescue mission.
“Two of the six boys were sent to identify the place, and the joint team conducted the raid. They saved 20 more children from the factory in Seelampur. All of them were found with several marks of injuries on their body. The employer had ruthlessly beaten them,” Ritu told The Logical Indian.
“They have been working in the factory for at least four years. They were not given a single penny, and in some of the cases, their parents wilfully offered them as bonded labourers for an exchange of a measly Rs 500. The boys were not allowed to move out of the room in which they were working. It was dark and gloomy inside, and they were living in inhuman conditions,” Ritu added.
After conducting the medical examination on the boys, doctors confirmed that hammers caused the injury marks on their head and body. The children also revealed that sometimes their employer used to beat them with a cutter.
The children were brought to a special shelter home, and several medical check-ups are being conducted.
The employer was not present at the moment the raid took place. The room was locked, and the police had to break the door to rescue the boys. An investigation is underway to find out about the employer, and whoever else is associated with the racket.
Child trafficking is one of the major concerns in India. The country has the highest number of modern slaves in the world according to global surveys, with more than 1.8 crore people trapped as bonded labourers, forced beggars and sex workers.
The Logical Indian appreciates the actions taken by the Child Welfare Committee and the NGOs. We hope that the boys are able to find rehabilitation and start a new chapter afresh.