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    When An NGO Organises A Raid And Government Officials Work Along

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    When An NGO Organises A Raid And Government Officials Work Along

    Sixty-two working children were rescued from a toy factory in Delhi on Tuesday. This coincides with the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights celebrating the Elimination of Child Labour Week, beginning June 12.

    By Aryaman Girhotra

    A raid at toy manufacturing units in Delhi’s Bawana Industrial Area exposed an ugly underbelly of the city – child labour.

    The raid conducted by ‘Sahyog Care for You’ an NGO based in West Delhi along with authorities of the Delhi government and the police ended with the rescue of 62 children from five toy factories in Bawana. The children were aged between nine and 15 years. There were 27 boys and 35 girls.

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    According to officials of the NGO, such raids require at least 20-25 days of constant scouting of the area where these children are employed and a constant check on the working condition of children in these factories.  They work discretely to obtain data on wages and document the low payments and the working conditions, especially the long hours of work.

    After all the information has been obtained, the NGO sends a complaint letter to the District Magistrate of that area who calls for a meeting of the district task force that is also attended by the Delhi police, civil defence and labour department, along with officials from the NGO and officials of the Child Welfare Committee. The information is reviewed, documentation is carefully done and the date and time of the operation are communicated to the Sub-District Magistrate, who must oversee the operation.

    Sahyog’s director, Shekhar Mahajan found it more than ironical to rescue children engaged in manufacturing toys for children.

    Paperwork and confidentiality

    In an effort to ensure the confidentiality of the operation, the exact location of the rescue location is not disclosed to anyone, not even the District Magistrate. This is known to a few people from the NGO only and all this is done.

    The actual rescue begins only once the legality of this operation is clear with different groups of people divided into teams. Each team has a person from the labour department and a few people from the NGO and Delhi police together with a staff of the government’s child welfare committee. The contact information and details of every single person on a team along with the vehicle that is assigned to them are recorded.

    The children were from different parts of the country and came from poor families, some of them being the sole breadwinners of their families. They got between Rs 100 and 150 for a day’s work.

    Following the rescue, the children were taken to the district magistrate’s office where their statements were recorded, their identities were verified and they were sent for a medical check-up.

    Sahyog has been able to facilitate the conduct of 21 such raids over the past year. This figure has been gradually increasing. “Of all the children rescued, we found at least 60 per cent of the children were from outside Delhi,” says Mahajan, adding that “it is the children’s environment which forces them to work.”

    The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights is currently “celebrating” the Elimination of Child Labour Week, beginning June 12, as part of the government’s flagship ‘Azadi ka Arit Mahotsav’.

    NCPCR has targeted 75 such raids across the country between 12 and 20 June in a collaboration with different state governments.

     

    Image: UNICEF (Representative image)

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