By Sabir Nishat
Three children were rescued in a joint operation of the Labour Department, local police, Childline and Child Welfare Committee from three establishments in Hailakandi district on Saturday.
These boys were trafficked and forced to work for long hours and confined as bonded labourers.
Acting on a rip-off that the minors were employed as child labourers, searches were conducted in three establishments, and these children presumably below the age of 14 years, were rescued, District Labour Officer, Alimuddin Barbhuiya said.
The employers have been asked to provide documents to prove age of the children. “We are also looking into the need to subject the children to age-determination test. If the children are found to be younger than 14 years, we shall file cases against the employers under Section 67 of The Factories Act 1948 which provides for a fine up to Rs 2 lakh and jail term extending to two years for employing children below 14 years of age, said Barbhuiya.
The boys were produced before the District Child Protection Society and is presently under its custody.
Barbhuiya appealed to the people to cooperate with the Labour Office and other agencies for protection of children below the age of 14 years from forced labour. “People can call toll free number 1098 in case they find children in distress,” said Barbhuiya.