12 boys rescued in Assam
Guwahati: Twelve boys, aged between 14 and 17 years and school dropouts, have been rescued from Barpeta Road town in lower Assam while being "trafficked" to Nepal to work in the construction industry.
Three persons, identified as Siddik Ali, Amir Ali and Atikur Rahman of Barpeta district, were arrested for trafficking. They allegedly supply labourers from the district's riverine areas and villages.
Siddik and Amir are from Suterpathar village under Kalgachia police station while Atikur is from Gandhi Nagar area in Barpeta Road.
Based on information provided by a relative of one of the children, Childline Barpeta intercepted a vehicle carrying 30 labourers at Barpeta Road town around 4.30pm on Sunday. They were to board a bus for Siliguri at 5pm from where they would have been taken to Nepal. Twelve of them were found to be below 18 years.
"The children were being taken to a foreign country by three persons who did not possess any permission to supply labourers. Moreover, no child between 14 and 18 years can be engaged in a hazardous industry like construction. Both the suppliers and labourers have told police that they were promised Rs 300 per person per working day on a construction project in Nepal. We handed over all the children to the police at Barpeta Road and a case was registered," Childline Barpeta co-ordinator Rafiqul Islam said on Monday.
The case, 302/2018, was registered at Barpeta Road police station under Sections 370 (recruitment and transportation with the purpose to exploit), 371 (habitual dealing in slaves) and 34 (criminal act by several persons) of the IPC.
The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016, prohibits employment of any child below 14 years. Those between 14 and 17 years can't be engaged in any hazardous industry.
"These children had dropped out of school while studying in Classes VI to VIII. Since the children were sitting idle and their parents are economically weak, the labour suppliers targeted them," Islam said.
Railway police rescued at least 80 children from Rangiya station in Kamrup district this year while they were being taken to Nepal.
Sources said a gang is targeting adolescent boys in lower Assam districts as there is a huge demand for construction workers in Nepal.
"Once they are taken to a foreign country, they often face harassment and violence," Islam said.