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Police, activists rescue 32 children from sweatshops in New Delhi

June 11, 2011 - New Delhi

In a major crackdown on child labour, activists from a local NGO, along with police officials, rescued over 32 children from sweatshops in New Delhi on Saturday.

Activists of the Bachpan Bachao Andolan, along with police, swooped on units operating in Delhi's Mongolpuri area and rescued the children.

Most of the children belonged to Jharkhand and Bihar, and were working in dingy, subhuman conditions when rescued.

Interestingly, the NGO's action came a day before the World Day Against Child Labour.

The rescued children would soon be repatriated to their families as per the legal provisions.

Ten people have been arrested in the case and would be punished under the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act and Juvenile Justice Act.

"We have rescued 32 children working as bonded labourers from this area. All these children are victims of human trafficking. All of them were not only child labourers but also bonded labourers. Most of the children rescued by us hail from Jharkhand and Bihar," said Kailash Satyarthi, founder of Bachpan Bachao Andolan.

"We will repatriate them to their homes as per the legal provisions. Ten owners of these units have also been arrested. Since our action was conducted as per the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, they can be punished for two years. They can also be additionally punished under the Juvenile Justice Act. We will try our best to ensure the offenders get maximum punishment for their act," he added.

Though child labour is banned in India, the country is still one of the largest employers of children in the world.

According to certain media reports, over 12 million children below the age of 14 work as domestic servants, or in other labour-intensive jobs, such as in stone quarries, embroidery units, mines, carpet-weaving units, tea stalls, restaurants and hotels across India.

The growth of child labour in India is propelled by a potent combination of growing poverty, adult unemployment and a lack of basic services such as schools and child welfare institutions.


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