Toll-free number launched to help children of migrant labourers

Published - February 26, 2021 12:36 am IST - UDHAGAMANDALAM

The Nilgiris Collector J. Innocent Divya (centre) launching  the free helpline in Udhagamandalam on Wednesday.

The Nilgiris Collector J. Innocent Divya (centre) launching the free helpline in Udhagamandalam on Wednesday.

Collector J. Innocent Divya launched a dedicated toll-free number for the children of migrant labourers here on Wednesday.

The dedicated helpline number, called “Saheli”, has been designed in such a way that the children of migrant labourers facing any sort of abuse or harassment can speak to child welfare workers in their own native languages. “In the coming weeks, a dedicated helpline number will be assigned, but for the time being, it has been attached to the 1098 Childline number,” Ms. Divya told reporters.

Ms. Divya said the labour department in the district would work on identifying the children of all migrant workers in the district. The department would compile a database of all migrant labourers employed in factories, plantations and hotels, and ensure that their children were also identified.

The Collector said the safety and welfare of these children was of paramount importance, especially when their parents were away at work and the children were left alone at home.

The steps to address the concerns surrounding the safety of the children of migrant labourers had been taken following the murder of an 8-year-old girl, the daughter of migrant workers from Jharkhand, whose body was found almost a month after she was reported missing from her house in a tea estate in Coonoor.

Sensitisation campaigns would be targeted at both the parents as well as the children, to make sure that they were aware of the helpline service, said the Collector. Child welfare workers would also conduct awareness campaigns in school, with two “ambassadors” being selected among the student body in government schools in the district, whom the children could approach requesting help for reporting abuse.

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