On May 18, 2019, nine children, of which seven were girls, were rescued from two meat processing units, said a child rights body. The children were working as bonded labourers. An official of The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) said that a joint rescue operation was conducted along with the Delhi police on May 16 to rescue them.
The children were presented before the child welfare committee and they have been sent to a child care institution, for now, he added.
“On Thursday, during an inspection conducted by the Slaughterhouse Monitoring Committee, led by Dr Ravindra Sharma, Veterinary Services Director, the units were found to be operating without several mandatory licenses and in abysmally filthy conditions,” the official further said.
“A large number of children were found working among the 300 or so butcher workforce of these factories. Nine minors were rescued. It was discovered that they were working as bonded labourers in extremely hazardous and unsanitary conditions,” he said.
As per the official, the units failed to furnish any records of the workers employed. He also emphasised on how it is mandatory for any unit to possess training and medical records of all their employees. The police have confirmed the incident and also their forces being sent for the rescue operation but said that no arrests have been made as of now.
In 2016, a total of 8,132 cases of human trafficking were reported across India, an 18% jump from the 6,877 cases reported in 2015, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.
The International Labor Organization charts the total of child labourers globally at 152 million, with 73 million of those in hazardous labour conditions. The ILO says 10 million children are victims of abject slavery.
Kailash Satyarthi Prakash, Indian children’s rights activist, Nobel Peace Prize recipient and founder of Bachpan Bachao Andolan believes that the number of child labourers in India and child trafficking is coming down. He also believes that it is practically possible to end child trafficking across the globe if the governments of different countries come together and crack down on offenders.“The number of child workers in India had fallen from 12.5 million in 2001 to 10 million in 2011 and further to 4.2 million now. Almost half of them are victims of the worst form of child labour. They are in a very dangerous situation. About five million of them are slaves who do not have any kind of freedom. They are traded,” said Kailash Satyarthi.
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