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.
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Project Liason Officer