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Kailash Satyarthi NGO 'ensured' freedom to 1623 child, bonded labourers in June

By Our Representative 

In a special drive in June 2022, Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi’s NGO, Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), along with partners and law enforcement agencies, has on an average rescued 54 child labourers each day -- a total of 1,623 across 16 states in the country.
BBA claimed, this was done by launching 216 rescue operations and registering 241 FIRs. In all, 222 persons -- traffickers and employers -- were arrested for various offences under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the juvenile justice (JJ) Act, the child labour act and the bonded labour Act. Founded by Satyarthi in 1980, BBA has so far rescued more than 1 lakh children since its inception, it added.
BBA’s operations in June were conducted in the national capital, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana, Assam, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
According to the communique, BBA activists found that most of the children were trafficked from small villages with the false promise of a better lifestyle and decent wages. Poverty and economic hardship were primarily responsible for the children leaving education and being pushed into child labour.
“To eke out a living and provide sustenance to their families, scores of children had accompanied the traffickers -- either themselves or with the consent of their parents -- to distant metropolitan and satellite cities”, it said.
The rescued included 16-year-old Renu (name change), working as domestic help in a posh locality in Delhi. After being produced before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), Renu narrated her story of being tortured. She was given leftovers for meals, thrashed on several occasions and not provided wages. At present, she has been reunited with her parents in Chattisgarh.
“FIR has been registered against her employer and the trafficker who brought her to the national capital. BBA is following up on the case with the concerned officials to provide her back wages and link her family with state-sponsored schemes”, BBA note said.
Sunil (name changed), 16, was rescued from a bakery. At the age of his alcoholic father passed away. He then dropped out of school and accompanied his mother from a village in Tamil Nadu to Chennai. To earn his daily bread, he started working in a bakery.
Poverty and economic hardship were responsible for the children leaving education and being pushed into child labour
“Sunil was paid meagre wages and forced to work for over 12 hours daily. After the rescue, BBA is now facilitating Sunil’s enrolment in a vocational training institute. The activists are helping the mother-son duo get linked with the relevant social security schemes of the government”, said BBA.
Similar is the story of 13-year-old Sonu, a resident of Sitamarhi, Bihar. He was rescued from a welding shop. Sharing his story after the rescue, Sonu said his family comprised of his parents and two elder sisters.
Sonu’s father, a daily wage worker in Pune, was the sole breadwinner of the family. Because of the marriage ceremonies of both his sisters, the father incurred huge debts. The burden of repaying these loans was so high that Sonu was forced to drop out of school and work. After the rescue, BBA got him enrolled in Class 7 in his village school.
“The focus is to rescue children who are forced to work, besides ensuring their educational rehabilitation”, said Manish Sharma, director of BBA. “What we have accomplished recently is a massive withdrawal of children forced into labour.”
He added, “To eliminate child labour completely, we need to strike at the root of the trafficking rackets -- often operating with impunity and total disregard for the law. To handcuff those who exploit childhood and extinguish the dreams of children, we need better implementation of law. We urge the union government to pass the anti-trafficking bill in the upcoming session of Parliament.”

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