Empowering Children Bodies at Village Level to Fight Trafficking

Empowering Children Bodies at Village Level to Fight Trafficking
Wednesday 29 July 2020

The majority population living in Guigaon village in West Singhbhum district of Jharkhand are tribals. The primary source of earning for the people of this village is agriculture. They cultivate the paddy crop once in a year, after the cultivation of paddy, most of the villagers go outside the village to work as daily wagers. It is one of the main reasons for children to engage in child labour and migrate.  

In September 2018, two children, who were neighbours too, were identified to be missing from the village by the  Village Level Child Protection Committee (VLCPC’s) secretary and the village Anganwadi worker Smt. Chandmuni Jamudra. The VLCPC in this village was strengthened by Save the Children. Most members of the Committee are our Child Champions who actively address issues addressing children. They all had organized a meeting to know more details about the missing children. A formal letter was sent to the District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) for the same.

Both the children were taken by the broker (Dalal) to Tamil Nadu, where these two children were made to work in a factory. The children were taken away without informing anyone, so the VLCPC felt that it is a case of trafficking. After a few days of going missing, the children called up their family members and told them that they were in Tamil Nadu and were working in a boring machine vehicle unit. The working conditions were hard as they were not allowed to eat properly and sleep properly. Further, both the children were stripped of their identity cards, mobile phone, and money. The helpless families had no clue as to how to help the children. They told the panchayat cadre Manoj Khandayat who worked in Save the Children’s programme intervention area. The information was immediately given to VLCPC, who further informed the Childline and the nearby police station. The local police then got the Tamil Nadu police department involved. By tracking the phone call, the Tamil Nadu police were able to identify the children and ensured that both the children safely get back to Jharkhand. Tamil Nadu police have strictly notified the boring machine vehicle owner that child labour is a legal offense and he will be punished for the same.  After that, he ensured the safe return of all the children working for his unit along with their wages.

After both the children safely reached home, a VLCPC meeting was organized in which both children and their parents were invited. During the meeting, parents and their children were asked about the future of the children in which the guardians told that children could do whatever they want, even if they want to continue their study, they will support the same. Presently, one of the child Rautu Chaki has been enrolled in school, and the other child Budhlal Chaki got enrolled in Skill Development course.