Forced to work in terrible conditions
When outreach workers saw four 16-year-old boys at Villupuram Railway Station in Tamil Nadu they knew something was wrong. The children looked frightened and when the team approached they could see that one of them had a long scar. As they spoke it became clear the boys had been illegally employed in a food factory near Tirukovilur. The visible scar was from a beating the child had suffered while working somewhere else, but conditions at the current factory were just as bad. The four boys were routinely exploited, abused, beaten up for not meeting expectations and made to work for over 16 hours a day. They decided to leave from the factory and return home, which is when they were found.
RCI made sure these children were given the care and comfort they needed at our Open Shelter while their families were traced. At the same time the terrible abuse the boys suffered at the hands of the food factory owner was reported and legal action was taken. Eventually each child was awarded compensation of INR 10,000 for every year they had worked at the factory and all of the boys were reunited with their families.
Follow up work has confirmed that they are all now happy and living in safe environment. One boy is learning to become a tailor and the others are about to start their vocational training through the District Child Protection Unit with support from RCI.