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 Saturday, 11 January, 2003, 11:25 GMT
Nepal police free child labourers
Kathmandu
Nepal attempted to ban bonded labour in 2000

Police in Nepal have rescued 14 children, forced to work as bonded labourers at a weaving factory in the capital, Kathmandu.

Police said the children were working as wool spinners within the dark, cold rooms of the secretly run factory.

Children
Children are often caught in a cycle of debt
They said the children, aged between 14 and 17, were treated inhumanely and were not paid.

A police team rescued the children after raiding the factory on Friday after a tip off.

Increase

The children have been sent to a child rehabilitation centre in the capital run by the charity Child Workers in Nepal Concern Centre (CWIN).

The chairman of CWIN, Gauri Pradhan, said the number of children visiting the cities for employment and shelter had gone up as a result of Nepal's Maoist insurgency.

Police said they had released two people working as contractors at the factory, after preliminary investigations and were looking for its owner.

They said a legal case will be filed against the owner of the factory for forcing children to work as bonded labourers.

Large numbers

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) announced a programme in 2,000 for the rehabilitation of bonded labourers who were supposed to have been freed.

A senior ILO official estimated that the number of bonded labourers around the world could be as high as 100 million.

In the same year, a law banning child labour in the tourism industry came into force.

Estimates put the number of child workers in Nepal at more than two million, and a large number of them were employed in the tourism industry.

See also:

17 Dec 02 | South Asia
12 Dec 02 | South Asia
11 Oct 02 | Country profiles
20 Nov 02 | South Asia
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