Over 50 children - 27 girls and 24 boys - have been rescued from two "children's shelters" in Jaipur, where they had been confined illegally under appalling conditions for years.
Jacob John, the man running the illegal dens - one in Mansarovar for girls and one in Jagatpura for the boys -- has been arrested.
"We found the girls in a dreadful state. The house was filthy, the food was full of fungus and the toilets were dirty," said Govind Beniwal, a member of the Rajasthan State Protection of Child Rights Commission, which helped rescue the children on Tuesday.
Some girls had lesions on their skin and at least one has developed rickets due to non-exposure to sunlight. Hundreds of liquor bottles were recovered from both houses.
"John was illegally bringing children from various states since 1996 and collecting funds from different donor agencies," said Beniwal. The commission suspects he was collecting funds from Christian agencies abroad. The children were being brought on pretext of enrolling them in schools, but they were kept locked in the two houses he had rented.
Of the 51 children, 20 are from Manipur, nine from Nagaland, six from Uttar Pradesh, three each from Nepal, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan, two from Delhi and one each from Assam and Chhattisgarh.
On Wednesday, women and child development minister Bina Kak met some of the girls and announced a cash assistance of Rs 5,000 for each child.