16 children rescued from Sadar Bazaar area working in leather factories
As many as 16 children, who were trafficked from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, working in leather goods factories in Delhi’s bustling Sadar Bazar area were rescued by authorities on Friday afternoon.
The children were rescued in a raid conducted by a team consisting Administrative staff, Task Force on Child Labour, Delhi Police, Labour Department and members of NGOs and Human Rights Law Network.
“In an industrial unit located at the Azad Market in Sadar Bazaar area, the children were found to be working in most pathetic conditions,” said S R Katariya, Commissioner Industries and Taxes.
Katariya, who was present at the time of the rescue operation said: “The children, trafficked from the different districts of Bihar, UP and West Bengal were working in purse, bag and shoe manufacturing units.”
An NGO member, who was part of the team, meanwhile, alleged that local community leaders and owners of the manufacturing units resisted the raid but the presence of police officials made the search operation almost swift.
“This is becoming a trend. Recently, a rescue team of our NGO was attacked during an operation to rescue child labourers therefore, the team was prepared to neutralise any such repetition,” a member of the NGO said. Another NGO member who was part of the rescue team said: “Their hands had turned blue because of hard work in factories. This initiative came in the form of a savior after many years of exploitation.” Officials said most of the children were suffering from viral fever as they were forced to stay in ill-furnished camps.
Activists said the children were hardly paid enough money per month to compensate their 12-14 hours work and forced to stay in a camp in which all kids were packed in one room.
“All the kids are being taken to Mukti Ashram and Nirmal Chhaya (rehabilitation centres) from there they will be sent back to their homes. Strong action shall be taken against the employers. Pending wages shall be provided to the freed children as per law at the earliest,” Katariya said.
Officials said the operations were a part of the state government’s plan to eradicate child labour
from industrial zones and from the streets of Delhi.