The Delhi Police raided four zari units in Garhi near Lajpat Nagar on Monday and rescued 27 children in the 8-15 age group with the help of members of the Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), an NGO.
The BBA had conducted recces of the area over the past one week to identify units where children worked. But the employers received a tip and sent the really young kids away just before the raid took place. In all, around 50 to 56 children were believed to be working at the zari units.
The police reportedly detained two traffickers, against whom cases will be registered under the Juvenile Justice Act and section 370 of the Indian Penal Code for child trafficking.
The children were bought from their parents in the rural areas of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal for paltry sums of around Rs 3,000 and brought to the city a year ago on the promise of finding employment and a good pay. The work at the zari units, however, involved weaving intricate embroidery patterns for 16 hours a day with little to no remuneration.
"My uncle brought me here. I hate doing this work because I can barely see from one eye now. The work is too intricate and my wages are deducted if I don't get it right. I get Rs 1,500 per month, but it is often held back," said a boy from Bihar.
The Child Welfare Committee (CWC) has issued an order for the children's rehabilitation.
A compensation of Rs 20,000 will also be offered to each child's family and employment to each child's father under the rural employment scheme.