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Eleven child labour victims rescued from Indian factory

November 30, 2016

In poor and marginalised communities in parts of India, families that struggle financially are under enormous pressure to send their children away to work. Eleven such children from the Indian states of Bihar and West Bengal were sent to work in a carpet factory in Bhadohi, in Uttar Pradesh state. The children’s parents had overheard from other relatives about the available factory jobs, so they allowed the kids to travel to the factory with their relatives. However, the parents knew little about the factory’s working conditions.

During the first few months after the parents sent their children to work, the families received monthly wages from the children’s labour, as expected. But over time, the wages began to decrease, with the factory owner citing “low productivity” and “non-effectiveness” as reasons for cutting the children’s pay. Matters worsened, and the owner began abusing the children, withholding their payment entirely and forbidding them from leaving the factory. If the children protested, they were physically abused.

Eventually, one of the children who had been physically abused by the owner managed to escape from the factory, contacting the police and a field staff member of the NGO Manav Sansadhan Evam Mahila Vikas Sansthan (MSEMVS), one of the Freedom Fund’s partners. After hearing the child’s story, the MSEMVS team met with Labour officials and local police. This group formed a rescue team that planned how to help the children in the carpet factory return home. With the participation of the rescue team, the 11 child labourers left the factory.

The children were given immediate medical treatment, and their statements were registered with the Child Welfare Committee. The government issued release certificates to each of the children, which should entitle them and their families to important government assistance in the future, and a legal case was registered against the carpet factory owner. After a short stay in a shelter home in Ramnagar, Varanasi, the 11 children returned home to their families. Continued follow-up with these children and their family members is being conducted by MSEMVS, in coordination with staff of another Freedom Fund hotspot partner.

The Freedom Fund’s Northern India hotspot is reducing trafficking, bonded labour and harmful child labour in two of India’s poorest states. Find out more about our Northern India hotspot here.

Photo credit: MSEMVS / Pictured: MSEMVS village-level child rights group.

Written by
The Freedom Fund