In one of the biggest operations against human trafficking, a joint team of the Delhi Police and an NGO rescued 39 children and apprehended 21 traffickers from Anand Vihar Railway Station on Thursday.
The operation lasted for four hours and children - trafficked from Nepal and Bihar - between the age group of 8 and 14 years were rescued. "These children were being trafficked to Delhi, Haryana and Jammu & Kashmir to be hired in construction, zari embroidery and glass bangle industries," said a senior Delhi police official.
Sources said a member of NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) saw a group of children being trafficked in Seemanchal Express in Katihaar (Bihar). The member informed the local railway police and managed to rescue six children before the train departed.
According to the sources, details provided by the children rescued at Katihaar were shared with the Delhi Police and a rescue operation was planned.
"The train was checked multiple times before reaching Delhi with several BBA activists boarding the train in Ghaziabad, before it reached its final destination, to ensure safety and recovery of the trafficked children," said a spokesperson of the NGO.
Delhi Police said 16 children have been trafficked from Nepal through Bihar and this raid has yet again brought the issue of rampant cross-border trafficking to light.
"The children belong to low income group families. The traffickers are local middlemen who fleece parents by keeping them in the dark about their children's movement to Delhi for work," added the official.
"I was unaware that I will not be allowed to even say good bye to them. I just want to go back," said nine-year-old Shyam (name changed) from Bihar who was bought for Rs. 3,000.
The Child Welfare Committee of east and northeast Delhi have also ordered an FIR to be registered against the traffickers under the juvenile justice act.
In another case, a 16-year-old nursing student, who was trafficked from West Bengal, was rescued from GB Road on Wednesday.
Employer held for boy's death
A day after an 11-year-old boy working in a sweatshop in Jahangirpuri was found dead, the police have arrested his employer. The boy was allegedly tortured by his employer, who had also employed more than a dozen children for making bindis and bangles.
All the children are untraceable now. "We have arrested Nizamuddin under the Juvenile Justice Act for employing a minor. If the post mortem examination reveals that the boy was tortured, a section of the IPC will be added to the complaint," said a senior police official.