127 child labourers rescued in six months
India – The Child Safety Network (CSN), a project of Bosco NGO in Bengaluru, rescued a total of 127 child labourers from Bengaluru between July 2021 and January 2022.
Children trafficked from various parts of the country to Bengaluru were made to work for meagre wages. They hailed from poor families and had been trafficked into Bengaluru over the last six months.
The children were all aged between 11 to 18 years. Reportedly, 22 children were under the age of 14. Many of the rescued children were also tested positive for Covid-19.
They were forced to work in garages or factories. They were forced to stitch bags, stitch caps, dye saris, cut glass, and prepare ice cream and candies. Other workers were forced to do scrap and construction works.
They were forced to work from 8 a.m. till late at night in small, gloomy and suffocating conditions. They received no medical care while working under harsh conditions. They were not even provided face masks to protect themselves against the deadly Covid-19 disease. They were not even allowed to talk to their parents without the consent of the employers. They were paid miserly wages of Rs 4,000 to Rs 8,000 a month.
Reportedly, 77 child labourers were from Bihar, 41 were from different parts of Karnataka, and 3 were from Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. The rest of the bonded labourers were from Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, and West Bengal.
The child labourers were brought to the city by agents. They allegedly made advance payments to their parents. The employers have been booked under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act and the Child Labour Act.
Deprived of nutrition, education, and a safe environment, the number of child labourers in India is increasing. The covid-19 pandemic has further worsened the situation of child labourers in India.