Officials of Integrated Child Protection Programme and UNICEF considering action

: In a move that would discourage employment of child workers in cross-pollination work in BT cotton fields in Salem district, officials of the Integrated Child Protection Programme (ICPP) and UNICEF are considering initiating legal action against the employer and the middlemen for employing them.

Despite strict monitoring, engaging child workers from nearby districts continues in interior villages in Thalaivasal blocks here as 10 children of less than 14 years of age were rescued by officials recently. Officials said that as per law, trafficking of children for economic exploitation, bonded labour and forced labour is a crime and hence action can be taken.

The officials explained that under Section 365 and 367 of the Indian Penal Code if a child is brought to work with or without the consent of parents, it is a non-bailable offence that may attract punishment and fine up to seven years. Likewise, if advance money is paid to parents for employing their children, Section 370 of the IPC could be invoked to impose a fine and seven years’ imprisonment, and also three years imprisonment with fine under Section 17 of the Bonded Labour System (Abolition), Act, 1976. If the child is not allowed to move freely or return home as per his or her will, it amounts to wrongful confinement and Section 368 of IPC invites imprisonment up to 10 years and fine amount.

The ICPP officials told The Hindu that legal experts, child welfare and protection officials and the police were being consulted on the course of action to be initiated.

The Village Administrative Officers of Veeraganur and Thalaivasal, from where four and six child workers were rescued respectively, would be lodging a complaint in the police stations in the respective areas soon, they added.

  • Legal experts, child welfare and protection officials and police being consulted

  • VAOs of Veeraganur and Thalaivasal will lodge complaints with police