The 17 Manipuri children, who were rescued from a house in Sholinganallur on Wednesday, were malnourished, had developed rashes on their bodies, were beaten up and treated shabbily, with one of the girls even facing sexual harassment, according to Dr P Manorama, chairman of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC).
CWC members, who spoke to the children, nine of them girls, on Friday with the help of Manipuri interpreters, learnt that the NGO, Reach Home Children Foundation, locked them up in a small room of a house in Mogappair after they reached Chennai on July 28, 2009. The children — the eldest being 12 years old — said during their stay at the Mogappair house, where NGO head Immanuel also resided, they were made to do minor household chores and were regularly beaten up or kicked by Immanuel and his son, Binny.
Manipuri girl Ross, who worked as a warden in the home, and another girl, Geeta, who stayed with the children, also faced sexual harassment, the CWC claimed.
The children were brought from Manipur with the help of agents, who promised their parents that their wards would be educated. Recently, they were shifted to a house in Sholinganallur, where a neighbour grew suspicious and alerted the police, which rescued and handed them over to the CWC. The police arrested Rakesh and Herojit, both Manipuris, who had brought the kids to Chennai. According to Express buzz the children said that they were asked to cook for themselves and were only allowed to play inside the compound for sometime. They were taught nothing and taken to a playground only once.
Immanuel claimed that the children were being taught the basics of English as they did not speak the language. He said that they were prevented from talking to their parents fearing that they might turn homesick and long to return home.
The CWC suspects a Manipuri, Lumci, behind the trafficking as he had been the local agent procuring children and sending to them various places in the past.