Bangalore: In one of the biggest child trafficking rescue operations in Karnataka’s recent history, the police saved 42 girls, including 31 minors, and 16 boys while being taken to the flourishing textile mills in Coimbatore district of neighbouring Tamil Nadu recently.
The police have arrested four people who were allegedly trafficking the boys and girls, unaware that they were being sold to slavery. The children were being taken from Tumkur in Karnataka to the textile mills of neighbouring Tamil Nadu, when the police rescued them on a tip-off by an NGO, Oasis.
The children from impoverished Pavagada town of Tumkur district were stashed along with 21 others, who the accused claimed were some kids’ parents, into a Karnataka State Roadways Transport Corporation bus and a four-wheeler as they began their journey to bondage and servitude, hoping that it would take them out of destitution.
Unaware of the sufferings they were going to face, the prospective bonded labourers were happy that they would not have to sleep hungry anymore as they would soon be employed. They did not know how trafficked children are forced into backbreaking work in hellholes and even forced into flesh trade when lights dim.
The infamous Sumangali scheme has been prevalent in poverty-stricken parts of southern states as it continues to trap children in a vicious cycle. Often these girls never get to return their homes.
However, the Bangalore-based NGO proved to be their saviour. Taking help of the police, its volunteers busted the child trafficking gang. Four touts were arrested.
Tumkur SP Raman Gupta confirmed the arrest of four people, who were booked under Section 370 of the IPC (human trafficking).
However, even after one of the biggest rescue operations against child trafficking in Karnataka, state’s Home Minister R. Ashok delivered a shocker by saying such things happen all over the country.
In the dark underbelly of Tamil Nadu’s booming textile industry lurks a heart-wrenching story of thousands of minor workers trapped in hellholes. They have been caught in a vicious cycle of the infamous Sumangali scheme