Fifteen minor children including five girls, who arrived back safely by train, were rescued from a Childrens' Home in New Delhi and were brought back to their native Muniguda block of the Rayagada district in Odisha.
According to a rescued child,Suraj who was only too pleased to be reunited with his family, the children were subjected to illtreatment and made to do rigorous work.
The child narrated horrifying accounts when asked if he was beaten. To this he answered in affirmative and also told how he was made to do household chores.
According to reports, a woman named Sarala Sethi, who was a worker at an NGO had tricked the parents of 18 minor children of several villages of Muniguda and Chandrapur blocks into letting them go with her to New Delhi under the false pretext of providing them good care and quality education.
But the reality turned out to be completely contrary as the Missionary Organisation where the children ultimately landed in, ill-treated them and allegedly engaged them in household chores and tough manual jobs.
Fed up with the ill-treatment and the hard life there, three children managed to escape and returned to their villages where they narrated their own plight as well as of the remaining 15 children.
The families of the children soon filed a complaint with the Muniguda police and the Rayagada Child Welfare Committee who soon launched a rescue operation.
Child protection officer, Ramesh Nayak, explained the massive rescue operation.
"On 11th we got complaint from the parents of the children and based on that complaint, we contacted the Delhi government through our Women and WCT(Works Contract Taxes) department, Bhubaneswar. So, also district administration tried to contact with CWC(Child Welfare Committee) Delhi and finally around the 22nd we got a message that all of our children have been rescued at Delhi. Based on their information, WNCD government Odisha, they sent a team from Rayagada in consultation with the District Collector. So we formed a team of about four members and went to Delhi on 29th and on 29th we rescued all our children from the CWC," he said.
As per the complaint, Sethi was detained by the police on April 24 and based on the information gathered, the remaining 15 children were rescued from the custody of the organisation.
Muniguda and Chandrapur are amongst the poorest regions and are Maoist inflicted. People here have a hard time making both ends meet and education for their children becomes a distant dream. The vulnerable parents often get entrapped under fake promises and hand over their children .
A parent of a rescued child talked about what Sethi had promised them.
"Madam Sarala had told us that since we are poor, we can't send our children to school. She told us that she had opened an English medium hostel. So she offered that she could get our children enrolled in her school and took the children with her. After three children returned, we got to know that she had actually got them engaged in child labour and were not being provided with education." Said Anam Nag, father of a rescued child.
Illiteracy and poverty prove to be a bane for gullible villagers of remote corners of the country.
There are no reliable figures for how many people are trafficked for domestic servitude. The central government says 126,321 trafficked children were rescued from domestic work in the year 2011/12, a rise of almost 27 % from the previous year.
Activists say if you include women over 18 years, the figure could run into the hundreds of thousands.
The abuse is difficult to detect as it is hidden within average houses and apartments, and under-reported, because victims are often too fearful to go to the police.
There were 3,517 incidents relating to human trafficking in India in 2011, says the National Crime Records Bureau, compared to 3,422 the previous year.
Conviction rates for typical offences related to trafficking - bonded labour, sexual exploitation, child labour and illegal confinement - are also low at around 20 %.