[The Hindu] 19 rescued minor girls restored to parents

Visakhapatnam | 29 June 2017

All the 19 minor girls from Gajapathi district of Odisha, who were rescued by Childline and Saathi an NGO with the help of Railway Protection Force (RPF) at Visakhapatnam railway station on Tuesday, were handed over to their parents after a counselling session on Wednesday.

The minor girls, all aged between 15 and 17 years, were reportedly being taken to Akiveedu in West Godavari district to work in shrimp hatcheries.

The girls, who were seen roaming on the platform suspiciously, were confronted by the Childline and Saathi volunteers.

And when they were not able to give a proper reply, they were shifted to Government Girls Shelter Home under the Juvenile Welfare Department, with the help of RPF personnel.

According to Abdul Raqeeb member of District Child Welfare Committee, the girls who were scared on Tuesday night divulged the details and their addresses on Wednesday.

“We immediately contacted their parent and handed over the girls to them after checking the authenticity,” he said.

The District Child Welfare Committee contacted the Joint Labour Commissioner in West Godavari district and efforts are on to book cases under Minimum Wages Act against the employers, said Mr. Raqeeb.

It is learnt that a number of girls from Odisha are already working in the hatcheries in West Godavari district and one among them was advised to bring a fresh batch from their village.

The girls were accompanied by a 25-year-old youth from the same village.

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