Surat: Child trafficking racket busted; 135 kids rescued

Vaibhav Jha
Surat: Child trafficking racket busted; 135 kids rescued

Out of the 135 children, 128 are from cities such as Udaipur and Dungarpur in Rajasthan while others are from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand. (Representational Image)

Multiple agencies busted a major child trafficking racket and rescued around 135 kids, all boys, from a housing society in Surat on early Sunday morning, who were allegedly brought to the city from other states for “work”.

Officials said that the raid is still going on and the kids who have been rescued, were allegedly brought to Gujarat for household and factory work.

The raid was conducted by Gujarat CID Crime (Women Cell), Gujarat Police, Rajasthan Police and New Delhi, Rajasthan and Gujarat units of ‘Bachpan Bachao Andolan’.

According to officials, the raid was conducted around 5:30 am on Sunday at three building blocks in Sitaram Nagar Society in Pankaj Nagar of Surat. 20 people have been detained and are being interrogated, officials said. Police said the detained accused were living with the kids in the housing society.

Out of the 135 children, 128 are from cities such as Udaipur and Dungarpur in Rajasthan while others are from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand. The age group of rescued kids is between 10 and 16 years.

Officials said that employing kids for household and factory work is a violation under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, which prohibits child labour.

“We had received information regarding the presence of children in a housing society in Surat and along with other agencies, a raid was conducted. In this case of human trafficking, parents of most kids were aware that their kids were being sent to Gujarat to work, as a result of unemployment and acute poverty in their surroundings. However, employing a child below the age of 14 in any work and below the age of 18 in a serious, hazardous work condition is illegal according to the Juvenile Justice act,” said Anil Pratham, Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) CID Crime (Women Cell).

Officials present during the raid said the kids were allegedly sold in Rajasthan and then brought to Surat in different groups.

“Out of the 20 accused, each was handling a group of 4-5 children and were staying in rented apartments of the housing society. A few days ago, Bachpan Bachao Andolan of Rajasthan had done a recce of the place and then shared the informaton with its Gujarat counterpart. After that Delhi unit of Bachpan Bachao Andolan and CID Crime were roped in and a decision was taken to conduct a raid on Sunday. We are interrogating the accused to find out about their network,” a police official in Surat said.