The title is not a setting of an 18th century play. It reflects the  reality of modern day India. According to the Mid-Day news report, a child labour racket operates every morning in Bangalore. Mid-Day reporters, posing as restaurant owners conducted a ‘sting operation’ and ‘bought’ 4 children.

A tout who called himself Ravi said, “Business is not so easy these days… we have to contend with competition and the activists. We can manage the police, but the media are dangerous.”

They have to ‘contend with activists’, but claim to ‘manage the police.’  I am curious to find out how they ‘manage’ the police. If you are wondering about the ‘cost’ of this purchase,

Ravi demanded Rs 1,200 a child, while we bargained for Rs 3,000 for all four.

And these children are ‘used’ for many purposes.

Buyers mostly use children for labour, but some use them for abuse or begging.  If the kids are small, the beggar mafia maims them and sends them out for begging. Chances of some children being exploited for organ transplantation could not be ruled out.

Some individuals claim that news about child labour rampant in the hotels are propaganda by NGOs.

Vasudeva Adiga, president, Bangalore Hoteliers Association, said, “I can say no hotel in the city employs children. This is just propaganda by NGOs like Bosco Mane.” The downturn in the garment industry was helping hotels find women workers, he explained.

B N Bachche Gowda, labour minister, said, “We conduct a monthly drive to check hotels and shops employing child labourers. The problem has come down.”

Irrational statements don’t always warrant a response. Do they?  Thanks to the entire team of Mid-Day who were involved in bringing this report out. Read more here.

Note: The four children were handed over to the custody of Child Welfare Committee and escorted to ‘Balamandira’, a government home for  orphan and runaway children.

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