August 5, 2014
Seventeen children, with the youngest only 10 years old, were rescued from laboring more than ten hours a day for street vendors, eating establishments and other shops around V3S Mall, Preet Vihar, one of the prime retail/business areas in East Delhi. Some of the children informed the Labor Department that they slept, worked, ate, and bathed in the street.
This rescue operation targeted a wealthy district, dealing a blow to the stereotype that child bonded labor exists predominantly in poor localities, and creating a deterrent for a new group of employers. Two prominent local eateries were sealed as part of the operation.
Most of the children, all between 10 and 17 years of age, worked for local street vendors selling goods ranging from gutka (a mild stimulant made from crushed nuts and tobacco, among other things, and sold in small, individual-sized packets), coconut water, to mobile phone covers. Others labored washing dishes and serving fast food.
After hearing the children’s statements, the Child Welfare Committee (Dilshad Garden) directed that a police report be registered under sections of the Indian Penal Code and relevant labor laws. Most of the children came from various districts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Jharkhand. Three were from Nepal.
This rescue was a joint effort with JVI’s partner, Salaam Balak Trust, and the East Delhi District Task Force, and Police and Labor Department officials. Recent joint interventions, like this operation, are a testament to the impressive initiative Delhi authorities are bringing to the issue of forced child labor in this city.
*This rescue was conducted with the generous support of IJM under the Google Intervention Project.
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