Successful child trafficking case intervention in Gaya

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World Day Against Trafficking in Persons is observed every year on 30th July. This year, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) calls on all to ‘act to protect and assist trafficked persons.’ The issue of trafficking has been a pressing one especially in the context of vulnerable children. With PCVC’s experience on field and ground realities at hand, it has been observed that unsafe migration and trafficking of children for work takes place on a daily basis between source and receiving states. Children are found working in pathetic conditions for 15-16 hours a day with little or no wages in return. Not only are they victims of trafficking but many also end up becoming victims of abuse.

To highlight the significance of this day, we bring to you a successful case intervention done by PCVC in the state of Bihar.

A case was referred to PCVC team in Hyderabad about 3 rescued child labourers in the age group of 7-12 years residing at the Children’s Home in Saidabad, Hyderabad. These children were working in a bangle-making factory from 7 am to 3 am in extremely harsh working conditions. They were tortured, both physically and mentally, by their owner and upon rescue by the Police, were found to be in extremely malnourished and critical condition. The owner used to beat the children by a thick wooden stick if they made mistake at work. When children were admitted in the hospital, even the doctors had doubts about their survival. Mr. Shashikant Gurav, State Head, Telangana referred this case to Ms. Suramya Sadanandan, State Head, Bihar. Immediately the next day, Mr. Birendra Kumar, Field Coordinator, Gaya, traced the family who lived in an extremely remote and difficult to reach village. Since the children were not responding to treatment and speaking to anyone properly, PCVC team in Bihar facilitated parents’ travel to Hyderabad to meet the children. Initially, it was difficult to convince the parents that their children were in such condition, however with constant dialogue and interaction by Mr. Gautam Kumar, District Coordinator, Gaya, parents were convinced to meet their children. Once children met their parents and spoke to them, they were quick to recover, though not completely.

Once the children were discharged, they left for their village. PCVC team in Bihar, once again visited the family to meet them and the children. Here the team understood that children were working in Hyderabad for last 3 years. They used to barely move out of their work station and worked round the clock with little rest. Also, no money was given to the children or family in return of the work done. In 3 years children had no contact with their parents and neither did their parents know where the children were taken. The trafficker who was from a neighbouring village, promised to take the parents to meet their children. He helped them board the train but left them stranded at Allahabad from where the parents had to return back with no information about their children. Not only does this case reflect the exploitation and cruelty faced by children as a result of trafficking but also reveals the plight of the families who are equally vulnerable. Parents are easily lured by traffickers for small amount of money and promise of more money in the future, due to which parents fall into their trap and send their children away for work, not knowing the atrocities faced by them. Hence, it was essential to meet with them personally and sensitise them.

Currently, these children are safely repatriated home and are living with their family. They are still recovering physically from their wounds, however, the mental trauma inflicted on them will stay for a long time. Once children recover completely, PCVC team in Gaya will enrol children in school and maintain their regular follow-up. PCVC will provide necessary help and assistance required by these children in order to mainstream them.