14 minor girls rescued

Berhampur: At least 14 minor girls from Odisha's Ganjam district were rescued here by the police with the help of child rights activists when they were allegedly being trafficked to Chennai, the police said today.

Two women have been detained on trafficking charges, besides four victims since they are adults, they said.

"We intercepted them while they were on their way to the railway station yesterday. The girls aged between 13 and 17 years were handed over to Child line, while the accused and four victims were detained," an officer at Baidyanathpur police station Deepak Mishra said.

He said the two women from Polasara were taking the girls to Chennai to work in a garment factory.

Pranati Kaur, an activist of Child line, said they were trying to find out addresses of the children. "The children will be united with their families after their identities are ascertained by the district child welfare committee. We will also verify whether the children were being taken to Chennai with the consent of their parents," she said.

"Minor girls from poor families of Ganjam, Gajpati and Kandhmal districts are being trafficked to other states by middle men who promise them jobs with handsome salaries. But in most cases they are engaged in hazardous work", alleged state convener of Campaign against Child Labour (CACL) Sudhir Sabat.

He urged the government to increase surveillance at strategic locations to stop it.

In August and September, police rescued over 100 children from Gajapati districts in Tamil Nadu, Kashmir and other places and arrested three middlemen for misleading the parents and trafficking the children.