Raid and Rescue
Working alongside the police and the labour department, we run raid and rescue missions to find children that have been exposed to child labour and begin steps to rehabilitate them. The missions are a core part of our operation and are essential in moving towards our vision of a child labour free society. The process of undertaking these missions are as follows:
Firstly, we receive word that a child has been exposed to a crime against children which can come from various avenues including through the CHILDLINE hotline, from neighbours, or from civilians who have seen children working. We then conduct the groundwork for investigating the claim. This consists of asking neighbours and other people that may have encountered the child for information about them and whether they believe they have been working. As well as this, with the help of the police, we find out information such as where the child is from and whether they are enrolled in school. From here, we determine whether the child has in fact been exposed to a crime and if so, we begin planning a rescue mission.
To then run a rescue mission, we must first must alert the police and labour department of the situation and they must both agree with our assessment of the child. Once approval is given, we decide upon a date and time to run the mission in which both the labour department and police can accompany us on. On this date, we go to the house where we believe the child is staying and knock on the door. If answered, we ask if they have seen the child and if so, if they can bring them down
to talk to us. Resistance is common and if problems occur such as the door not being answered, there is an escape attempt, or they refuse to handover the child; the police then take more forceful action to get hold of the child. Once reached, we talk to the child and ask if they would come to the child friendly police office with us so we can talk further. The police then conduct an interview with the child and ask them about their situation. Interviews are also conducted with the accused employer and witnesses to their employment such as neighbours if the child had been exposed to child labour.
If the police conclude that the child has in fact been exposed to the crime, they decide upon what the best short-term course of action is for the child while they await a decision from the CWC (Child Welfare Committee) concerning their long-term rehabilitation. This is usually either returning to their family home or coming to a facility such as BSA while they wait. Once the CWC have made their ruling, the child then begins their rehabilitation plan and keeps regular contact with the case officer from BSA, as well as the police to ensure that the plan is being followed. The plan includes taking steps such as enrolling the child back in school and giving them counselling to get over any trauma they suffered whilst employed, if required.
This process ensures we take proper measures to resuce a child and offer the best possible outcome for them, as far as in our control.
Here is a blogpost written by one of our volunteers recounting her experience in joining the BSA team on a raid and rescue misson: http://gffhelps.org/just-another-day-at-bsa/