Bringing Light to the Darkness of Human Trafficking (Trafficking in Persons)

A couple brought the minor to Mumbai from Bihar 10 days ago on the pretext of admitted her into a school, but instead, they forced her into domestic work

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This picture has been used for representational purpose

In a shocking incident, a nine-year-old girl from Kalina in Santa Cruz (East) was rescued from slavery on Sunday in a joint operation involving the anti-human trafficking unit (AHTU) of the Mumbai police with a labour officer. A couple had brought the minor to Mumbai from Bihar 10 days ago after promising to get her admitted to a school, but instead, they forced her into domestic work and physically abused her, reported Times of India.

A Vakola police officer stated the girl identified as Shama Shah, was subjected to physical abuse and exploited by her employers in Kalina, Mumbai. The incident came to light when a neighbour of the accused, heard the girl's screams and spotted her crying on several occasions. The neighbour alerted the founder chairman of the NGO, Harmony Foundation, Dr. Abraham Mathai who then complained to the Child Helpline. The neighbours had also sent pictures of the victim doing strenuous household chores, including cleaning of the drainage pipeline outside the house to the NGO.

"The girl said her father had died and her mother was unable to take care of her and even provide one meal a day. This forced her mother to hand her over to an agent who seems to have sold her to the Mumbai couple," informed Dr. Abraham Mathai. Vakola police have booked the couple under the Child Labour Act and Juvenile Justice Act and issued a notice to appear before the police and to cooperate with the probe.

The labour officer stated, "Trafficking of minors has become a big racket as the perpetrators save money by paying a pittance to the families." The news agency also reported that under the Child Labour Act, section 3 (prohibition of employment of children in certain occupations and section 4 (employing a child or permitting a child to work in contravention of the provisions of Section 3), the accused, if found guilty, are liable to be punished with imprisonment for a term not less than three months and extending up to one year or with fine ranging from Rs 10,000- Rs 20,000 or with both.

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