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19 children rescued from leather factories

Delhi officials and an NGO on Wednesday rescued 19 child labourers from factories manufacturing leather goods in Central Delhi’s Nabi Karim area.

Delhi officials and an NGO on Wednesday rescued 19 child labourers from factories manufacturing leather goods in Central Delhi’s Nabi Karim area.

These children,between seven and 15 years of age,have been trafficked from other states. They were were engaged in making leather bags and purses. Police have reportedly sealed five factories.

They have been sent to Mukti Ashram,a rehabilitation centre in Burari,Outer Delhi.

The children were rescued during raids conducted by Sub-Divisional Magistrate Mani Bhushan Malhotra,the Delhi Police,the Labour department and activists of Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA),a child welfare group.

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Police said the raids were conducted after the NGO alerted authorities that around 200 children were working in factories in Nabi Karim. “This is the fifth raid in the area. Last month,we rescued 80 children. Around 150 children were working in these factories,but by the time we got there we could only rescue 19,” Rakesh Senger from the NGO said.

A police officer said the children are from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. “Most of them are either illiterate or school dropouts. They belong to poor families ,” he said.

Senger said they work in “inhuman conditions”,doing 18-hour shifts per day. “Some of them had been working for the past two months,while there were many who had been in these units for more than two years. They were paid Rs 50 per week,but not always,” he said.

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A seven-year-old child,the youngest to be rescued,said he makes bags from 7 am till midnight. “I get Rs 20 every day… just about enough to buy breakfast,” said the boy,who was trafficked a year ago and sold to the factory by an agent from his village in UP.

Another boy said he was brought to Delhi for “site-seeing”,but his brother put him in the factory. “My employer pays me Rs 10 sometimes,” the 11-year-old said.

Senger said around 400 children have been rescued in the previous four raids. “We have information that around 5,000 children are still working there. We are trying to rescue them,too,” he said.

First published on: 12-07-2012 at 02:08 IST
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