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Balprafulta's Rescue Mission

By Amruta Lovekar
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Mumbai, Jun. 15. On June 12, World Anti Child Labour Day instituted by the International Labour Organization, to remind people of the atrocities against children, 12 children all below the age of 18 were rescued from Sakinaka, Chandivali Mhada, Yadav Nagar near Kherani Road in the Andheri area. The rescues operation was spearheaded by Bal Prafulta, a Don Bosco Organization, with the assistance of the Labour Department, Police and the BMC.  
For this rescue operation, the areas were first scanned.  We found 40-45 child labourers working in the above mentioned areas.  Scanning involved understanding the history, background and composition of these areas.  It also involved visiting these areas several times to ensure that children were actually employed.  These children ranging from 9 to 17 years of age were mostly working in garages and hotels.  A report on this basis was compiled and subsequently a letter was submitted to Mr. Vhatkar, the Senior Police Inspector of Sakinaka police station, who decided a date for the rescue operation.  

On the day of the rescue operation, we made arrangements for hiring a bus. The police officers had to be convinced that the children up to the age of 18 cannot be employed.  Journalists and television reporters were informed about the whole process of rescue and rehabilitation of the children.

Of the 12 children rescued, 10 were working in hotels and 2 in garages. Five employers were booked under the Indian Penal code (Section 374), Juvenile Justice Act (Section 23 and 26) and the Child Labour Act (Section 3).  They were then produced beore a metropolitan court on Friday.  The rescued children were sent to the Children's Home at Dongri. These cases are being followed up with the Child Welfare Committee and immediate rehabilitation of these children is being organized.  Bal Prafulta continues to safeguard the rights of children exploited by unscrupulous elements in society.  
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