Six tribal children of the Jawadhu Hills were rescued by a Childline team in Tiruvannamalai on Sunday, barely a week after the rescue of four tribal children in the district. Interestingly, all these children are from the same village, Nammiyampattu, in the Polur taluk.
Childline officials said they got an alert in the afternoon about six boys waiting with an agent at the Polur bus terminus. After informing officials of the District Child Protection Unit and the National Child Labour Project, a team, led by district coordinator A.R. Ashok, rushed to the bus terminus and spotted the children with Perumal, the agent. With the help of the Polur police, the team rescued all the six boys.
However, Perumal escaped on seeing the team. “All the rescued boys are school students. They have been rehabilitated at the district reception house by the child welfare committee,” said S. Murugan, Project Director, Childline.
All the rescued children were being taken to work on cotton fields in Kallakuruchi district after their parents were paid ₹1,000 each. Officials said poverty and labour migration were the major reasons for child trafficking in the Jawadhu Hills. The abled men go to Kerala and Karnataka to work as wood-cutters, leaving their families to fend for themselves, making it easy for traffickers to trap children.
Along with other students, those who were rescued on Sunday had received government school kits a week ago.
Child traffickers are booked under Section 79 (whoever engages a child in bondage for employment) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act. Childline officials said that even parents could be found liable because trafficking could not happen without their knowledge.
( Childline operates a toll-free helpline 1098 for children in distress across the country. )