A 12-YEAR-OLD child labourer was recently rescued from Shivam Nashta Centre at Mograwadi in Valsad, where she had been working for the last 15 days to repay her father’s loan of Rs 2,000. The owner of the food joint, Usha Mishra, has been booked under the Juvenile Justice Act.
A native of Uttar Pradesh’s Chandauli district, the minor was rescued by the police with the help of NGO Pratham. She was later sent to a children’s home in Dharasan village in Valsad. Her parents have been informed, said police.
The girl told police that her father had come to Valsad from UP in search of a livelihood in 2016. He used to work in a private company and eat at the Shivam Nashta Centre. An alcoholic, he soon started facing financial problems. “To buy liquor, he borrowed Rs 2,000 from Usha Misra. When he could not repay, he fled to UP two months ago. After learning about it, Usha called him up to threaten him. She said he sould send her daughter to work at her home and at the food joint,” said Valsad police’s Assistant Sub-Inspector Govind Pandey, who is probing the case.
“She threatened him that if he fails to do so, her brothers — who stay at a neighbouring village in Chandauli — would forcefully recover the dues from him,” he added.
“In her statement, Usha said that she forced made the man send his daughter to Valsad to work for a month. She also sent tickets for the girl and her elder brother. The brother dropped her at USha’s house 15 days ago and left for UP,” said the officer.
Pratham coordinator Manisha Solanki said, “We counseled the girl and made her feel safe… We have assured her that she would be sent to her village. She had also spoken to her parents on the phone.”
“The girl said that she used to wake up at 7 am and clean utensils, broom the floors and wash clothes. Later, Usha used to take her to the hotel, where she cut vegetables and washed utensils, among others. She used to work till 10 pm at the food centre and return home with Usha. She was made to sleep on the floor there… The girl said she was studying in Class VI when in the middle of her exams, her father sent her to Valsad,” she added.
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