Thirty four child labourers, trafficked from Bihar, were rescued from central Delhi on Thursday, the police said. The children, rescued from Nabi Karim and Amar Pura (near Chandni Chowk), were forced to make rexine and leather bags.
The children were forced to work for up to 14 hours a day.
The raid was conducted by a joint team of Central Delhi Task Force on Child Labour, Delhi Police, labour department officials and members of child rights NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA).
"These small-scale factories were running from illegal structures. Five to six children lived in one tiny room. All of them are malnourished and many are suffering from skin diseases as they work in close proximity with chemicals. More than half of them have been trafficked," said Kailash Satyarthi, founder of Bachpan Bachao Andolan.
The rescued children are from the Darbhanga and Madhubani districts of Bihar and some of them were as young as seven years old.
According to an estimate given by the BBA, an organisation that has been working in the field of child labour for the past 30 years, there are more than five lakh child labourers in the NCR.
“Most of them work as agricultural labourers in the many villages in and around the Capital. Brick kilns, restaurants, dhabas, and the handicraft industry also employ many children,” Satyarthi said.
The police also arrested a man for beating to death a child working in his bindi-making unit in Wazirpur on Thursday.
Thirty five children from small-scale industries in Sadar Bazar and Keshav Pura were rescued last week as well. The rescued children were sent to BBA's Mukti Ashram.
“We are trying to locate their families. We have already spoken to some parents and the children will go home soon,” said Satyarthi.