A special court here has sentenced two accused to 14 years’ rigorous imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 5.64 lakh on the charge of trafficking of minors.
On October 16, 2018, Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) activists along with the police and Anti-Human Trafficking Unit (AHTU) conducted a raid on a house in Sudamapuri, Painter Colony, Shastri Nagar in Rajasthan’s capital Jaipur. The BBA activists had received a tip-off that several children had been employed as child labourers for bangle manufacturing in the building. A total of 33 minor children — 17 from the first floor and 16 from the ground floor — were then rescued.
The rescued children were trafficked from Bihar and were forced to work “with little food and water” from 8 a.m. in the morning to 12 a.m. at night. They were not given any wages. They were also not allowed to step out of the building. When the children resisted, they were threatened with dire consequences. The children also said that they had been trafficked on the pretext of being provided with educational facilities.
The children were subsequently produced before the Child Welfare Committee, which directed them to be lodged in a Child Care Institution.
Meanwhile, police registered an FIR against four people under sections 370(5) (trafficking of more than one minor), 374 (unlawful compulsory labour) and 344 (wrongful confinement) of IPC along with the relevant provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act and the Child Labour Act. The accused included Mohammed Qudus, Mohammed Yunus, Hasmul Miyan and Mohammed Shamshad.
When the judgement was announced, special judge Tara Agarwal sentenced Mohammed Qudus and Mohammed Yunus to 14 years’ rigorous imprisonment along with a fine of Rs. 5.64 lakh. Mohammed Shamshad died during the trial and the charges against him were abated. Hasmul Miyan was acquitted.
The judge said that both the accused had violated the rights of the children and forced them into child labour. Physical and mental cruelty towards children and forcing them into child labour was a heinous offence and any leniency shown towards the accused could result in a spurt in such offences in the society.
“We are grateful to the court for this judgement. Stringent punishment is the only deterrent for such heinous crimes. For several years, we have been rescuing children employed in various commercial establishments across Jaipur. We will continue our efforts for a child labour free society. We hope that the union government passes the anti-trafficking bill in the upcoming session of parliament,” Manish Sharma, director, Bachpan Bachao Andolan, said.
The judgement was pronounced on April 16 while its copy was received on Tuesday.