Over 1,600 trafficked children rescued from ‘situations of exploitation’ in last 8 months
   Date :07-Dec-2020

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By Uzmi Athar :
OVER 1,600 trafficked children were rescued from “situations of exploitation” in the past eight months, Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi’s NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan said, noting that there has been a rise in such cases as many parents lost their livelihood due to the COVID-19 pandemic and during the lockdown. The lockdown was imposed by the Central Government across the nation from March 25 to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. However, from June 8, the Centre gradually started easing restrictions under ‘Unlock’.
“One of the biggest worries during the lockdown was the fact that the financial crisis of families will lead them to take loans unethically. This eventually increased the vulnerability of children and their families of being lured by traffickers with the promise of a better livelihood opportunity,” Dhananjay Tingal, an executive director at BBA, said. Thirteen-year-old Krishna (name changed) was one of the 1,675 children rescued by the child rights organisation between April and November. Krishna was trafficked from his village in Bihar to work in a garment factory in Gandhinagar in Gujarat, where he toiled for 12 hours a day, and stayed in a tiny room that he shared with six others like him, BBA officials said. Though they were promised payment, they were never given the promised amount. Besides, this he and the others just got half a day to rest every week and were under tremendous pressure to meet production targets, they said. Krishna landed up in Gujarat and became a victim of trafficking after his parents, farm labourers, lost their jobs with the outbreak of the coronavirus, the BBA said.
Moreover, his parents had taken a loan of Rs 20,000 before the lockdown to fix the roof of their house, but being unemployed they were unable to pay their lender, the officials said. It was getting difficult for Krishna’s parents to feed a family of 11 and traffickers took advantage of the situation and for Rs 20,000, Krishna was taken to Gujarat to work, they said. For months he endured exploitation at the hands of his employer, before being rescued by the BBA in July. The story of 14 -year-old Saad Khan (name changed) is no different.