35 bonded child labourers rescued in Delhi


New Delhi: As many as 35 bonded child labourers were rescued from zari sweatshops in the capital Thursday by police and an NGO.

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Trafficked from rural parts of Bihar and Jharkhand, the children – all boys in the age group of 10 to 14 – were brought to the city by middlemen almost a year back.

In almost all cases it was a familiar story – the middleman, a relative at times, promises the parents’ of the children a better future in Delhi. But once in the city, the kids become bonded labourers.

Kamal, a 10-year-old who was rescued, said: “My father was in heavy debt. My uncle gave him Rs.500 and said I will be admitted to a school and will assist him in some minor work, so that we are able to pay off the debt.

“But I was forced to work in the zari industry. There were many other boys like me. We we all had to stay in a small, dingy room and work for 13-16 hours daily,” he said.

If his work was not satisfactory, the factory owner beat him.

R.S. Chaurasia, chairperson of the Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), a NGO which frequently rescues bonded kids, said: “Children in the sweatshops were kept in the most inhuman conditions. All the children were working in poorly lighted and ventilated rooms in the scorching heat. Most children had allergies because of poor and unhygienic working conditions.”

Sub Divisional Magistrate (Preet Vihar) Radha Charan said: “Since the children were not given any wage, a case was registered under the Bonded Labour Act. Upon release all the kids have been given a rehabilitation package of Rs.20,000.”

She added: “The kids will also be enrolled in schools.”