HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
BHAKTAPUR: Police today rescued 124 child workers from sari embroidery factories in Madhyapur Thimi, Bhaktapur.
All the children below the age of 14 were rescued from 46 sari embroidery factories with the help of Bhaktapur District Administration Office, Bhaktapur Metropolitan Police Range, UNICEF, CIWIN, Concern Nepal, Save the Children, Child Extraction Network and the Children Development Society.
The children have been taken to Lalitpur-based Carnet Nepal following their health check-up. Police have handed proprietors of 39 embroidery factories over to the labour office for employing children under 14 years of age. Other sari embroidery factory owners managed to flee.
Bhaktapur CDO Jitendra Bahadur Bhandari said the rescued children will be handed over to their parents in a month. “Preliminary investigation shows that most of the children had been forced into the job due to poor financial status of their families. So, we will see if we could do anything to help these families,” said Bhandari, adding that the rescue campaign was launched after non-government organisations working for child rights pledged to extend their support.
Police had earlier summoned the factory operators and warned them not to employ children under 14 years of age and to run their businesses only after getting them duly registered. Today’s crackdown followed after the embroidery factories paid no heed to the warning.
Programme Officer at The Children Development Society Yubraj Roka said out of 320 children working at the 46 sari embroidery factories, 260 were under 14. “Most of them are 7 to 10 years of age and they are forced to work for 10-17 hours a day,” said Roka.
The Children Development Society had been studying sari embroidery factories in the Madhyapur Thimi area for the last two years. According to Roka, the children had been working and living in squalid conditions.