I am so sorry for being a little late with this report we have been so busy ay the centre. If you visit our face book page here https://www.facebook.com/pages/People-First-India/106083302779969 you will see we have another group of supporters visiting the trust at the moment, here is what one person wrote in the visitors book ,
"When we had finished playing games with the children ( it was musical chairs) we were enjoying a cup of tea in the office when some anxious parents arrived. They had a picture of their son, aged 11 years on their phone. He had gone missing one month previously whist outside playing and it was feared that he had been probably abducted . They had come to Rescue Junction as Sunita had called them and told them to see her immediately as she had good news to tell them. Through the work of the specialist staff at the centre her son had been found ( over 1,000 km away) safe and well. The mother burst into tears with absolute relief and was comforted by the staff, even the father was overcome and could only mutter thank you- thank you so much!!
Anybody that spends some time here cannot fail to be impressed with the happiness of the children, the great need for the work they do here, and the absolute dedication of the staff,
I certainly will try and help and I would recommended anybody else to do so, it is a haven of safety and security in a dangerous part of the world, especially for children".
Thank you for your fantastic support everyone, if you time please take a little time to look at the full video of the centers work which can be found here, already nearly 15,000 people have watched it. http://youtu.be/nBBB-B9Lf1A
With Thanks to you all,
This is Sunita with our regular project update and I hope you are all enjoying pleasant summer weather. Here the monsoon has started but here in our part of Bihar very little rain has fallen in contrast to the terrible floods affecting our fellow Indians in Uttarkhand which is very far from here, but only if you measure in terms of kilometers . Here at People First we are all concerned and all the staff are contributing something from thier salary and even the children have given a little from their pocket money to help relief efforts. I am sure there is a page on GlobalGiving where people can help.
So what's been happening at Rescue Junction since out last "bangle" report? Well as usual quite a lot! Many comings and goings and we are stepping up our campaign to eradicate child labour from the town of Gaya with raids on shops garages hotels and sadly places where we have received reports of underage sex workers. We have our special appeal of course for girls on GlobalGiving, our special initiative for girls - no abuse for life.
We very recently received information from an anonymous phone call made from Bodhgaya about a Tibetan Refugee who had "purchased" two young boys for domestic labour and was taking them to Dehradun in the Himalayas. Following this information we gained authority from the police to detain and search express trains going in that direction, and after many searches the person was spotted boarding with the children , and he was immediately arrested and subsequently charged , whilst the boys are receiving counseling and support at Rescue Junction. If you visit our Facebook page you can see a copy of the press coverage, without the boys photographs of course.
We now have a toll free number 1098 as part of the nationwide childline system for people to call if they suspect child kidnapping or abuse, and of course for children themselves to call if they need help. We guarantee to respond to urgent calls within 30 minutes, often less.
For all of the ground breaking work of the centre of which I know you are aware we still do not have the support of any big non profit or organization, in fact very few organizations seem to want to reach out to street children in a meaningful way. We have to rely on donations like yours to keep the centre open. We are not idle in seeking funds from other sources perhaps even getting the state government to take responsibility for the welfare of the children in the state, but this work is ongoing and takes time. The example above is just one of dozens of interventions since our last report. it costs $50,000 to run the whole centre for a whole year, reaching out to hundreds of vulnerable lost and missing children, so every single donation, no matter how small is so important. .
Thanks so much for your help!
Greetings from everybody at Rescue Junction!
In this update I want to tell you a story , the Jaipur Bangle factory story, It is a story of systematic organised child labour ,of the buying and selling of children, some as young as seven and the slavery of young people just for the purpose making a profit.
The story begins some months ago when an off duty Railway Protection Force officer noticed 10 young boys in the company of an older man about to board the Howrah to Jodphur Express at Gaya Junction. After questioning them he arrested the older man and admitted the boys to Rescue Junction. They were all successfully returned home under a parental bond and with help from the labour department towards their education.
But from the counselling given by Rescue Junction staff and interviews with the arrested man by the Police a picture began to emerge of a large scheme in the selling and exporting of children which had gone on for years without any hindrance from the authorities. This was all about to change.
Following on from information received a factory in Jaipur was raided and 60 children were rescued. The staff at Rescue Junction however were convinced there were more children being kept locked up , being made to work long hours with little or no pay, being physically abused in Jaipur over 1000 miles from home. Operation "Full Stop" was begun. Over the next few weeks in conjunction with the police and labour department and officials, (some officers working undercover in Jaipur posing as potential customers) the process began of gathering evidence:names and addresses of factory owners, the child traffickers, and their modus operandi were all carefully compiled and documented.
The traffickers in Bihar would tell parents their children would only have to work two hours a day would be well cared for and earn a stipend. they told them a school was there for them.
They made them sign what they called "travel documents" and paid them 2,000 INR ( about $40) which were in fact "Bills of Sale". As the children's parent were all desperately poor and illiterate, (after being targeted for their very vulnerability) they had no idea what was written on the documents.
The culmination of all this work was a combined simultaneous raid by the Ralasthan Police and Labour Department on many factories, the Times of India in Jaipur covered the story,
JAIPUR: Nearly 184 children, who were working as labourers and rescued in Bharatpur, travelled to Bihar by Kota-Patna Express on Saturday night. Two special bogies were attached to the train for the children. As many as 210 children were rescued in Bharatpur on March 9 and 13. Apart from the 184 children, a few others belonging to Jharkhand and other states had already left for their states but those from Bihar stayed back for seven days in a childcare home in Bharatpur. Majority of them belonged to the age group of 7 to 14 years. A 12-member team from Bihar reached Bharatpur to take the children back to their houses. When the children were boarding the train for Bihar, they looked happy as they received many gifts from the state government. The government provided the children with two dresses, one bed-sheet, soap, toothpaste and tiffin box with food and biscuits and water bottles for the journey. Also, the government bore the tickets for the journey. Bharatpur collector Gyan Prakash Shukla said, "We ensured that the journey of the children are comfortable. So we have arranged two special bogies in Kota-Patna Express. We have provided various items that will be useful for the children in their journey." Moreover, chief minister Ashok Gehlot has given Rs 10,000 to each child as a relief. Since there are chances that these children would again work as child labour due to certain reasons, the government has also written to the Bihar government suggesting proper tracking of these rescued children along with their rehabilitation so that these children would not work as labourers again. Some children were rescued on March 9 when they were travelling in Jodhpur-Sealdah Express along with their alleged agents, who were arrested by the Government Railway Police (GRP). The others were rescued from the same train on last Wednesday. The Rajasthan State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (RSCPCR) claimed that majority of the children worked as child labourers in Bhatta Basti area in manufacturing units of bangles.
You can find out more details and pictures on our Facebook page , the link is below.
In the end 183 children arrived at Rescue Junction .
Several arrests on serious charges have been made and all are in Jail.
Whilst the breaking of this child selling ring is a major achievement for all concerned, indeed a discussion between the Chief Minister of Rajasthan and the CM of Bihar has taken place over this very case, and the measures that both State Governments can take to ensure prevention of such schemes in the future, staff at Rescue Junction are under no illusion of the task that lies before them. This is just the beginning and child labour remains a problem as does child abuse and neglect. I believe if India is going to take its place amongst developed nations this kind of abuse must stop, but I am encouraged by the progress in recent years in India regarding child rights.
Recently our Chairman Deepak Kumar met with the minister of labour in Bihar personally to start the process of a special school offering free education and vocational training for child labourers. This may be a year or two down the line, but it is a move in the right direction.
In the meantime we need your support to keep the doors of Rescue Junction open 24 hours for all children, no child is ever turned away . For all these services, for all these children reaching out where there exists no alternative provision costs just $50,000 per year. The centre serves over 3,000 meals a month to street homeless and missing children
Please help us reach out to even more of them.
Support rescue Junction today.
I hope this report finds you all well!
One of the problems here in India especially here in Bihar is child trafficking.
I will let one of the boys pictured above speak for himself,
“A man came to our village, he promised us work in a factory very far away, he said we would only have to work for two hours a day and we would get 1500 rupees a month ( about $28.00 - less than a dollar a day) and we would be looked after well and get some education. He made our parents sign a document they could not read but he said was just permission for taking us away from home. They gave our parents 2,000 rupees (about $38) , a lot of money for them”
“We left home early the morning and made our way to the train station. We rode the train and it stopped at Gaya. A boy selling water bottles talked to us briefly through the bars of the train window and asked us where we were going. He went away. But within minutes the carriage was full of police shouting and moving quickly towards us, for a moment we were very scared but they spoke to us quietly and said do not worry, but they asked some questions about where we were going and why. The man with us tried to leave, but then one policeman said come with us and outside there were some people who spoke to us very softly and kindly and said come with us. They were from Rescue Junction . As we walked down the platform the last we saw of the man was him being led away in handcuffs. We never saw him again”
Rakesh Age 7
These are the facts . These children were on their way to Jaipur in Rajasthan to work in a bangle factory. In the past we have rescued children from a different factory. They were made to work up to 16 hours a day, were kept in confinement, poorly fed and denied medical care and they were forbidden from leaving the factory compound. If they tried, they were beaten. The document the agent made the parents sign was a deed of sale. It is time, if India is truly going to move into the modern age, for this to stop. With your support you are helping us move towards this goal, albeit at a local level. For the rescued children of course you have changed their whole world. They will be reunited with their families with help towards their education and under legal bonds to ensure they are not sold into labour again, follow up work will be done. Each Child will appear before the District Child Welfare committee, which is actually held in Rescue Junction and his or her best interests will be paramount. On this occasion 16 children were rescued.
We really do need your support,
Every little helps!
May I send our very best compliments of the season to you all from everyone here at Rescue Junction.
Here the nights are already becoming cool, and soon will become bitterly cold for a few weeks or so. Of course street children and those living in simple shelters are most vulnerable, particularly young children, so may I draw your attention to a new micro project we have started on Global Giving to help these children.
It is called “Winter Warmth for Street Children in Bihar” and a food blanket costs only $10.00 so thank you for your concern and generosity .
We are so busy these days here at the project, after the Diwali and Children’s day parties, ( the children do not know their birthdays so on children’s day its everybody’s birthday!, please see photo! We are continuing to admit lost and trafficked children, including one boy from Bangaldesh . Our staff have recently received training in cooperation with the Childline foundation of India. There is a new video on our website, with our own music on our website, take a look! It was filmed recently and concentrates on our work with missing children.
I would like to send our heartfelt appreciation for the kindness in your hearts, and I think it would be good if the children themselves wrote the next update, so look out for that!
Thank you so much,
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Project Liason Officer