In a joint operation, the labour department, police, BMC and NGO Pratham rescued on Thursday morning 52 boys, aged 9-14, who were made to work at various small-scale industries in Byculla west as child labourers. The police also arrested 18 in the operation.
According to the police, the boys hail from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and at least one of them is from Nepal and were employed in embroidery, leather-making and plastic industries in the Kanjarwada area of Byculla (West).
Vasant Dhoble, assistant commissioner of police of the social service branch, said that they raided at least 25 to 30 small-scale factories on Thursday morning after they received a tip off about child labourers being employed at the units.
“Instead of getting them educated, their parents have put them to work at such tender ages. We are now in the process of tracing their families, the number of hours they worked and the wages they have received,” said Dhoble.
The police said that they will record the statements of the children and once their parents are traced, the children will be handed over to them. The children who have no relatives will be educated by the government and will stay at different rehabilitation homes in the city.
“We have arrested 18 employers and managers under the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Act,” Dhoble said.