Eight bonded labourers (boys), including six minors, were rescued from two pani puri making units in Chennai in the past week. All the boys who were natives of Bihar, belonged to families categorised as Scheduled Caste. The youngsters were in charge of preparing dough and rolling, frying, and packing the puris in packets.
- On August 25, four labourers, the youngest just 12 years old, were rescued from a unit in Perambur
- They had run away from their workplace and were reportedly found by a human trafficking crisis team at the Perambur Railway Station
- According to S Prabhakaran of Shout For Freedom Coalition, the boys seemed to have been physically abused as well
- One of them even had a big burn mark on his hip
- Labour department officials said all eight had worked 12-hour shifts for Rs 500 a month
- The boys were found in 10X10 ft room, where they made and packaged the puris
- They were forced to stay in the same place and barely ever allowed outside
- They were rescued in two operations, the first conducted on August 25 and the second on Thursday
An official quoted:
Both are clear cases of bonded labour. Their parents had taken money in advance and let the children work in extremely difficult conditions for long hours.
They were not allowed to leave the unit or visit their home. They could not handle it anymore and decided to flee.
A medical test will be conducted shortly to confirm if the rescued children had faced physical abuse. The children have been temporarily housed at a State-run children’s home in city and the two adult bonded labourers are staying at another government shelter. All rescued labourers are awaiting their release certificate after which they will receive their relief funds and be repatriated with their families in Bihar, the revenue department official said.
In another child trafficking case reported, Vijay 17, who hails from Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh was working at a socks making factory in Shehzada Bagh in Delhi until October 2016 when he was rescued. Nearly three years later, he is yet to receive the final compensation amount of Rs three lakh from the central government as the summary trial is still pending. Click Here To Read More.
At a time when the centre is strongly focusing on Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (Save Girl Child), we certainly cannot ignore the horrid treatment faced by several boy children across the country. If a girl child is killed in the womb, a boy child is given birth to be exploited by all possible means. Campaigns for child care should not focus merely on one gender only.
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