Trafficking: 59 Children from West Bengal to be Sent Home

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Thiruvananthapuram:  More than 100 children from Jharkhand, brought for orphanages in Kerala without proper documents recently, were sent back home while 59 boys from West Bengal would be returned to their home state in the next two days, state government said on Tuesday.

A total of 119 children from Jharkhand were sent home last night in two special coaches of Ernakulam-Patna Express from Palakkad, jointly arranged by the two state governments.

Similarly, the government decided to return 59 boys from Malda District in West Bengal, accommodated in an destitute-cum-orphanage in Mallapuram.

The district Child Welfare Committee had recommended that the children be taken back to their home states since procedures for bringing children from other states were not followed.

The children would be sent back within two days with their parents, majority of whom had already come to the state, a release issued from the office of Social Justice Minister M K Muneer said.

The children numbering over 500 were detained by police at Palakkad railway station in two batches on May 24 and 25 after finding that many of them did not have any proper documents.

The transportation of the children from eastern states like Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal to Kerala has snowballed into a big issue, bringing orphanages run by charity trusts under the scanner.

A case was registered after the railway police detained the children on their arrival by a train, followed by the arrest of ten persons who accompanied them.

Though it was initially dubbed as a clear case of human trafficking, many of the 500 children were later found to have proper documents and taken to the respective orphanages with the consent of their families.

The government has ordered a police investigation in the case to ascertain whether it was a case of 'human trafficking' or it just involved procedural lapses.

Though over 150 children from Jharkhand had been brought to the state last month, some of them had already gone back home with their parents, police said.

Besides officials from Jharkhand, Social Justice and Child welfare officials from Bihar and West Bengal also arrived in Kerala, but they were yet to complete the verification process regarding the children brought from their respective states.

In a related development, Kerala High Court today directed the government to inform its stand by June 30 on a petition by an NGO seeking a CBI probe into the alleged human trafficking of the children.

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