JAIPUR: In a major operation, the Anti Human Trafficking unit in Rajasthan's Udaipur district has rescued 25 tribal children. The rescued children are all minors and were being taken to work as bonded labourers in Surat district of Gujarat. The police has also arrested two brokers who had taken the kids from their poor parents by promising to pay four to five thousand rupees every month.
For the past few years, the tribal zone of south Rajasthan is battling child trafficking problems and in many villages of Udaipur Banswara, Dungarpur and Pratapgarh districts, children are being mortgaged while risking their lives for money.
On Tuesday night, the Anti Human Trafficking unit in Udaipur raided two private buses at the Raiti bus stand and rescued the 29 kids who range from 8 to 17 years in age. The children were stuffed into an area of barely two feet in the sleeper coach. Officials from the NGO who had assisted the cops in this operation confirmed that when they walked into the bus, the kids were stuffed under some seats and some were even made to sit behind the sleeper berths. The two arrested brokers include Khamana Ram from Gogunda town and Mangilal from Jaitaran town who were taking the kids for child labour to Surat in Gujarat. According to Police Inspector Shyam Singh from the Anti Human Trafficking unit, they were tipped off for the raids by some informers and some activists from Aasra Vikas Institute and Bhojraj Singh from Bachpan Bachao Aandolan were integral members of their raiding party.
"Anti Human traffic unit got information that tribal children were being sent to Gujarat's Biti Cotton agriculture for labour work. We reached here with AHTU and rescued all the children safely. Now the children will be asked about their residential details and will be counselled. After that they will be provided shelter, " said Bojhraj Singh, founder of Aasra Vikas Sansthan, Udaipur.
All the children are from Udaipur’s nearby tribal areas like Jhadoll, Saira, Gogunda and Ogana and people who brought them are also from the same area. Both buses were going from Saira and were going to Surat. During the inquiry, it was revealed that the parents of the children had been brought by brokers from the village, tempting them of a salary of 4-6 thousand Rupees. Jhadoll, Ogana's children came to Saira and boarded the bus. Some children boarded the bus from Gogunda.
"The rescued children are from very poor tribal families, they were working as bonded laborers in Gujrat in cotton farming and Sari factories and had come to their home in Udiapur during Diwali. They were going back again. Many children are parentless and the brokers hire them and they are made to work under very hard conditions, from Udaipur alone there are around 2500 children who are working in Gujrat." added Bhojraj Singh
Anti-human traffic unit took the children to an office in Chitrakoot Nagar from where the CWC has sent these children to shelters of Aasra Vikas Sansthan. Earlier, Riddhima Sharma, secretary of the district legal service authority also reached the spot and the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has taken cognizance in the case. Team of the commission visited the shelter home along with the district collector.
There are reports that people of the tribal areas in Southern Rajasthan are forced to mortgage their children due to poverty, lack of education and unemployment. Banswara, Pratapgrah, Dungarpur districts have Ninama, Meena Garasia, Bheel etc tribals residing there.
Issue of tribal children mortgaging had intensified politics in Rajasthan. MLA of the Bhartiya Tribal Party, Rajukumar Raot had raised the issue in the Rajasthan assembly in July this year that children aged 8-16 are being rented out for labour. Raot claimed that children are missing from 60 villages in southern Rajasthan and are made to work in neighboring Gujarat. Supporting Raot in the assembly Rajasthan's former Home Minister and leader of opposition Gulab Chand Kataria had urged for strict implementation of the provision that children below 14 years should not be employed so that their abuse can be stopped. He further asked the Government to take the matter seriously and urged the need for a collective solution.