Staff Reporter

Kozhikode: The juvenile wing of the city police will conduct raids on restaurants, gold purifying units, lodges and residences to prevent child labour. Four children hailing from West Bengal were rescued from a gold purifying unit at Chemmangad on Tuesday. Following a tip-off, Sub-Inspector M.P. Abdul Basheer, who is in charge of the juvenile wing, and Assistant Labour Officer K.P. Sarala rescued the children below 15 years from the gold purifying unit, which was doing outsourcing work for jewellery showrooms in the city.

The children were provided accommodation along with other workers at a rented house at Vattampoyil on Francis Road. A Child Welfare Committee later shifted the rescued children to the Juvenile Home at Vellimadukunnu. Preliminary investigations revealed that the children had been brought to the city six months ago. All of them were dropouts from various schools in West Bengal. Nearly 30 child labourers have been rescued in the past two months. Most of them hailed from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Orissa. A few belonged to economically poor families in Kannur and Malappuram districts, Mr. Basheer said.

He said poverty had driven many of them to work in the city. The employers paid very low wages and in some cases one-tenth of what the adults earn. He said child labourers often fell prey to sexual exploitation.

Officials said a mechanism to curtail child labour was in place in every district. But lack of infrastructure facilities and shortage of staff were hampering its functioning. The juvenile wing of the police department is manned by a Sub-Inspector, a head constable and four personnel. The Assistant Commissioner of Police (Crime Detachment), supervises its functioning.

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