10 children from Barpeta trafficked to E/Kameng, adults kept against will

Staff Reporter

ITANAGAR, Oct 2: Ten male children were reportedly trafficked to Dada village in East Kameng district by a person identified as Ali, a contractor, on 9 September.

The children, along with 17 adults, are from various villages under the Baghbar police station in Barpeta district of Assam, and were taken to East Kameng by Ali, who had told them that they would be engaged in road construction work in Lakhimpur, Assam.

However, they were taken to East Kameng instead and handed over to a local contractor. They all want to return home but are not being allowed until the money paid in advance for their labour is returned.

Ali reportedly gave them small amounts as advance money.

“All of them are from flood-affected rural areas of Barpeta district,” said Abdul Kalam Azad, a community worker and researcher based in Barpeta. He appealed to the state police and the child protection authorities to ensure safe return of the children and the adults.

The coordinator of the Barpeta Childline, Rafiqul Islam has lodged a complaint at the Baghbar police station, stating that the children have been trafficked and the adults have been forced into bonded labour.

In his complaint, Islam stated that they are engaged in stone-breaking work amid adverse situation and are not being allowed to go back to Barpeta.

Two people managed to escape from the work site and later informed the families about the deplorable work condition and the forcible detention of the workers by the contractor.