A city court has asked the Delhi government to probe allegations against the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) that it released victims of human trafficking and child labour to their relatives, who again pushed the children back to areas from where they were rescued.
Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau’s order came in a case pertaining to a series of raids conducted by the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police and NGO Shakti Vahini last year. During the raids, several girls, including minors, were rescued from illegal placement agencies. Their custody was handed over to the CWC. During a recent hearing of the case the NGO officials told the court that they could not trace a few of the victims as the CWC has not provided the details of rehabilitation of the rescued children. The officials said they needed the children to depose in court.
“Subhir Roy, Director (Programmes and Projects), has also pointed out that many of the children, who have been rescued by them, have been released by the Child Welfare Committee to their relatives, who have again pushed them back into the same area of work and exploitation from where they had been rescued earlier,” the court said. ASJ Lau said the grievances of the NGO appeared to be genuine and could not be ignored. The court also took note of the fact that a rescued child was back to work through a placement agency and had been brought to court by her new employers.
Also, another child had given her address as that of Bangladesh, but the CWC had released her to some other relative, instead of being handed over for deportation, the court said. “It is writ large that the rescued children are
being again pushed back into placement through other agencies. The entire purpose of the rescue and rehabilitation, as contemplated under the act, appears to be defeated,” the court said.
ASJ Lau asked for a copy of the order to be sent to the Department of Women and Child Development and the Social Welfare department. The two departments have been asked to look into the allegations and inform the court on the remedial action taken. The court also said steps should be taken to ensure that the rescued children are present before the court for their examination as witnesses.