Forced to work for 22 hours at a stretch with just one meal a day and brutalised for six months with hammers and cutters, 26 boys, in the age group of 8 to 13, have been rescued from a jeans making factory in northeast Delhi’s Seelampur. Indicating towards a trafficking ring, all boys are from Motihari district of Bihar and were brought to Delhi around six months ago. Six of them are from the same village.
“On Wednesday, we noticed six children roaming at Anand Vihar railway station. They were in bad condition and few of them even had injury marks. When questioned, they said that they were working in a jeans factory for last six months and that too without any wages. They were given very less food and were badly beaten with a hammer by their employer. Some of them have blue-black marks on their body,” said Ranjita, coordinator of Don Bosco Railway Childline.
The children said that they had fled from the factory to go want to go back to their hometown. They also told the NGO that there are many other children trapped in the factory. The matter was brought in notice of the Child Welfare Committee in Dilshad Garden, who asked police and NGO to conduct a raid at the location shared by the children.
“A joint team conducted the raid in Seelampur and 20 more children were rescued on the same day. The children were confined in one room and were living in pathetic conditions,” said Yeshu Das, coordinator of Childline in east Delhi.
The medical examination of the boys was conducted and doctors confirmed that injury marks on the head, back and hand was caused by a hammer.
“The children said that the employer also used to beat them with cutter (the equipment which is used to cut threads from jeans). Since, they were not allowed to move outside, they had not even seen the sun for a couple of months. They said they were forced to work for 22 hours a day,” said Bhim of the childline.
The CWC has ordered the shelter home, where the children are put in, to provide a skin specialist and pediatrician for the proper care of the children.
According to a global survey report, India has the largest population of modern slaves in the world, with more than 18 million people trapped as bonded labourers, forced beggars, sex workers and child soldiers. The Global Slavery Index by human rights organisation Walk Free Foundation said the number was 1.4% of India’s population.