45-year-old rag-picker arrested forcing boy and girl to beg

A taxi driver at the Bangalore City Railway Station helped child helpline volunteers bust a child trafficking racket, leading to the arrest of a 45-year-old rag-picker.

The rag-picker had allegedly kept a 15-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy in his captivity and reportedly forced them to beg for him.

Following the taxi driver’s tip-off, a team of volunteers from BOSCO childline swung into action on Saturday and found the boy begging at the railway station’s taxi stand.

The boy initially told the volunteers he was living with his parents and was begging since his father was ill.

The sceptical volunteers traced Raju, a rag-picker sitting in a corner of the railway station along with a 15-year-old girl.

Inquiry

Raju claimed that the girl was his wife, but a detailed inquiry by the officials of the human trafficking unit and Railway Protection Force exposed the racket.

During the conversation with the children, the girl said she was around 15 years and was from a slum in Kalyan in Mumbai.

The girl said she was a high school dropout and worked as a domestic help until she was lured by Raju in Mumbai 18 months ago.

Raju promised big money and the two went to Rajasthan. Once there, Raju forced her to beg and allegedly abused her when she did not.

“Whenever the girl tried to escape, he would torture her and insist she was his wife,” the girl told the officials.

Runaway

Raju would move from one place to another, and during a visit to Delhi, they found the 12-year-old runaway boy from Uttar Pradesh.

Raju forced the boy to work for him and the three landed in Bangalore.

The boy said he ran away from home a year ago since his parents used to beat him. He met Raju last month in Delhi. Raju took him along promising to get a job and later forced him to beg.

The children have been referred to the Child Welfare Committee and have contacted their counterparts in Kalyan and Uttar Pradesh, seeking their help to trace the victims’ family, Executive Director of BOSCO, Fr. P.S. George said.

Judicial custody

The Anti Human Trafficking unit officials arrested Raju and produced him before the court, which remanded him in judicial custody.

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