The boys from Tamil Nadu are aged between 14 and 17
Six boys, aged between 14 and 17 years and hailing from Tamil Nadu, were rescued on Monday by Childline workers from a confectionery unit at Konchiravila in the city, where they were allegedly employed.
S.K. Ratheesh, Childline team member, said that they had received a call on Sunday at the Childline number 1098 saying that the boys, hailing from Tirunelveli and Salem in Tamil Nadu, were employed at A.A. Brands in Konchiravila and on inspection of the unit on Monday, had found the information to be correct. They shifted the boys — Soorya K., Maari Selvan, Ramar Kalanjiam, P. Karthikeyan and Ram Kumar — to the Childline shelter home at Thampanoor. The boys would be produced before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) on Tuesday.
The Labour Department too had been informed of the incident since it involved an issue of child labour and the rest of the proceedings would be as per directions from these agencies. Contact numbers of the parents of three of the boys were available and the parents would be contacted, Mr. Ratheesh said.
Manuel George, one of the Childline team members who went to the spot, said the boys were trained to say that they were aged above 18 years, but none had any documents to prove that. The living conditions in the confectionery unit, the Childline team said, were pathetic, with the boys sleeping where they sat and worked.
As the team asked the boys to get their belongings to move to the shelter home, all that they had to do was to just reach from where they sat working, to take a small plastic cover containing their clothes.
“They said they were being paid monthly salaries ranging from Rs.5,000 to Rs.7,000, with their parents coming to collect it. Some of them reached here through an agent while others were brought by relatives working here,” another team member Christy Abraham said.
Meanwhile, Anburaj, 14, and Kartheesh, 11, lodged with the Childline here after running away from a sweet-making unit in Aluva last week, are likely to be handed over to the CWC in Thoothukudi by Friday. An order in this regard was likely to be issued during the CWC meeting here on Tuesday, Mr. Ratheesh said.