Some people who employed minor girls as domestic maids had threatened the volunteers of the Forum for Child Rights (FCR) when they visited the households to rescue the children at work, said Thomas Koshy, chairman of the Child Welfare Committee, on Friday, seeking the cooperation of the officials concerned to rescue these children who were at risk.

“Some people are taking the help of influential persons and bringing pressure on us to send back the rescued children to work. We urge the public to understand the seriousness of child labour problem and contribute their mite to making Vijayawada a child-friendly city,” Fr. Koshy said at the valedictory of the Child Rights Week celebrations at Tummalapallivari Kshetrayya Kalakshetram.

Expressing concern over the plight of the girls working as domestic help, Fr. Koshy said they were being deprived of basic education.

“As a result, they have to spend the rest of their lives as servant maids. Once they are allowed to go to schools, they will certainly have a bright future,” he opined.

Member of the Legislative Council Ilapuram Venkaiah, who was the chief guest of the function, expressed happiness over the services being rendered by the forum to street children and orphans. He called upon the people from various sections of the society to join hands for the cause of eradicating child labour in the city.

Mayor M.V. Ratna Bindu said that the forum became a role model for many other cities and it proved that a combination of governmental and non-governmental organisations could create wonders. “No one is above the law. Those who give work to children must be punished,” she said.

Secretary of the Krishna District Legal Services Authority K. Gurappa Naidu said there were stringent punishments for those who employ children and even stricter laws would come into force very soon.

Forum treasurer B.S. Koteswara Rao presided over the meeting, which was attended by Deputy Mayor S.P. Gritton, SKCV Trust secretary Bhakti Manihara, members of the CWC V. Rajamani, M.C. Das, Project Director of the National Child Labour Project K. Sivasankara Rao and others were present.

Cultural performances by children taking shelter in various rehabilitation homes in the city enthralled the audience.

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