Considering the number of migrant child laborers and beggars in Kolhapur district, the child labor and beggars rescue and rehabilitation project has been started by Avani. surveys are conducted in hotels, Dhaba’s, brick yard, factories, construction and other places They are released from these fields. If children are being exploited, voices are raised from Avani.
Situation : Every year Avani conducted surveys in various locations know for child beggars and trafficked children in the city of Kolhapur. We realized that most of the children being used for begging are under the age of 2. The majority of them are taken on rent for as little as 200 Indian Rupees (US$2.67) per day. The babies are made to look malnourished and sick. Only then can the women hope to earn 300-400 (US$4.00-$5.30)per day. This horrendous practice is total exploita-tion of the baby. The local police and Child-line Govern-ment Hotline Service are not sensitive and mindful about the protection of these babies.
Our Action During the survey while wit-nessing the inhumane conditions these babies were being exposed to, we coun-seled all of the women who were abusing babies for begging. We made them aware of the legal action that would be taken against them by us. We also talked with and involved the police and made them realize that they also needed to take action to protect these children. We visited the Chief District Police Officer to plan a rescue operation.
Result:Along with help of the police we were able to rescue 42 children between the ages of 3 months to 2 years old. 26 were female and 16 were male. They were taken into protec-tive custody with the District Child Wel-fare Committee (CWC). Under Indias Ju-venile Justice Acts, The Results All the women we counseled have stopped begging. Two women went back to their original villages (300 km away from Kolhapur) search of other work. They regularly keep in touch with us by phone.
Suraj, age 8 who was a street beggar was given admission in a government boys home in Kolhapur. He is now continuing his schooling online. The police have become more sensitive about Avani’s work and appear more will-ing to help. All 42 children who were used for the begging have been protected from any further exploitation.
As part of Avani’s follow up procedure, the Coordinator makes special home visits to observe the impact of our counseling. During the last two months, 42 family home visits were conducted. We realized all of the families were living below the poverty line (BPL) which is under 2,000 rupees (US$26) per month. None of them had a proper means of livelihood. The literacy rate was low among these people. None of these families send their children to school. The families either lived in slums communities or on the road side.
Our Action Along with our home visits, we did group and community counseling and made the people aware of the different government schemes available to them.
The Results The women stopped begging with children. They started looking for other work and the women have been convinced to not their own children as well as other chil-dren on rent. They have decided to no longer send their minor children for the begging.
Avani created and dis-played posters, drawings, and hand outs in 58 different strategic locations creating awareness. The goal was to educate people to not give money to child beggars. Instead, help us to send him / her to school and how they could contact Avani and Government.
The Results 900 children from the 12 schools became aware of the rights of all Indian children according to the constitution and how to protect them. We estimate that more than 10,000 peo-ple have read our posters on the streets. 197 people called Avani and said they respected and appreciated our work.
The Situation In just two months, Avani has already conducted 157 surveys in Kol-hapur city in search of child laborers. We find many of them in grocery shops, mar-ket yards, weekly markets, brickyard labor camps, and sugar cane farms. We found 17 children between the ages of 6 to 14 and 29 children between the ages of 15 to 18 working as a child labor-ers.
Our Action We counseled the employers and made them aware of the legal action we would be bringing against them if they did not stop employing children. We collected information about each employer in writing. We informed the Assistant Labour Commissioner of government department and provided him with written proof. We demanded that he take action against the employers who continued to employ children in their establishments.
The Result After 8 days, Avani’s coordi-nator revisited the establishment in ques-tion to find out if children were still work-ing there. He was pleasantly surprised that none of the shops were employing any children. The employers had good attitudes and promised they will not ex-ploit children in the future.
Avani contacted every applicable government department responsible for protecting children in need. We sensitized them specifically with our current finding on child laborers and child beggars. We submitted demand letters to each of these department and demanded they take all the necessary actions to protect these children.
In Kolhapur, there are a total of 5 police stations. Our team has already submitted letter to each these 5 police stations in person regarding appointing a specific Child Labour Officer. We have given them detail information about how to conduct efficient child labor rescue operations. As a result, we already received positive replies from 2 of the police station and that they now have an appointed officer and rescue unit in place. The District Women and Child Welfare Department has responded in a positive manner about their responsibility in forming Village Child Protection Committees and Ward Child Protection Committees. Some of the departments are ready to help us after the Covid-19 pandemic is under control.
Child Laborers and Child Beggars Rescue and Rehabilitation Statistics from February 2021 and March 2021 Child Laborers 6 - 14 Years Old: 14 Male 3 Female 15 - 18 Years Old: 21 Male 8 Female Total: 46 Child Beggars 3 mo - 4 Years Old 11 Male 19 Female 5 - 12 Years Old: 5 Male 7 Female Total: 42 Cases Submitted to the CWC for Rehabilitation 3 mo - 18 Years Old 3 Male 7 Female Total: 10 Project Photos Survey Identifying Child Laborers in the Brickyard Labor Camps Avani Child Labor Rescue Project 5.