Hundreds of child slaves rescued in Hyderabad

Police have rescued hundreds of child slaves, some as young as six, during days of raids on workshops in Hyderabad. During raids on bangle making workshops, police discovered 120 children, some of them sick, underweight and traumatised. The children complained of being forced to work 16 hours a day without breaks, and they were threatened with violence and starvation if they disobeyed orders. Many were transported from the impoverished state of Bihar last year, after their parents sold them to traffickers for $100-200. They were housed in dingy rooms with no ventilation and exposed to harmful gases. Police began a massive clampdown recently against dozens of workshops in the city's narrow alleys, after tip-offs from child rights activists and police informers. 220 children were rescued last week and 31 traffickers and agents have been arrested and charged with child slavery. Police are also making efforts to reunite the children with their families. Sadly, in India eleven children are reported missing every hour and almost 40 percent remain untraceable. Some are trapped by gangs and forced into prostitution, child labour and slavery. One activist said the rescue of child slaves is the beginning and they have to ensure the children are rehabilitated and compensated for their work, and the offenders are penalised for the crime. Rights Activist Kailash Satyarthi won the Nobel Peace Prize last year for his efforts to halt India's rampant child labour including the trafficking of children into slavery.