The Harsh Reality Behind Singha Durbar's Meals: 4 Children Pulled from Exploitative Canteen Work

The Harsh Reality Behind Singha Durbar's Meals: 4 Children Pulled from Exploitative Canteen Work
Photo : Amrit Pandey

In a major operation on World Day Against Child Labor, authorities in Kathmandu Metropolitan City rescued 41 children from exploitative labor situations across the city.

The rescued children, including 19 girls and 22 boys under the age of 18, were found working in canteens, hotels, hostels and as domestic workers. Four children, two boys and two girls, were rescued from canteens inside Singha Durbar, the federal administrative headquarters.

"We formed a multi-stakeholder team to identify and rescue children at risk of exploitation and abuse," said Shanta Pahadi, a Child Welfare Officer involved in the operation. "Two girls were rescued from the central canteen, while one child each was pulled from ministry canteens."

The Metropolitan City collaborated with the Ministry of Labor, child welfare organizations, police and local officials in executing the large-scale rescue effort.

Pravin Silwal, a committee member, explained their risk assessment system categorized children's situations from green (relatively safe) to red (experiencing abuse and working excessive hours) based on indicators like working hours, violence faced, living conditions and separation from families.

Photo : Amrit Pandey

"The 41 rescued children were in the highest risk 'red' category, including some under 12 years old working over 7 hours per day and facing sexual violence," Silwal stated.

Post-rescue, the children are receiving counseling, healthcare, and legal aid. Authorities are tracing their families and assessing if reunification is viable while making arrangements to place those without families in long-term care homes until age 18.

"Our priorities are protecting children's rights, ensuring justice for victims, and preventing such exploitation through stringent enforcement," Pahadi affirmed.

While this rescue is a significant move, child labor remains rampant in Kathmandu, with the city mobilizing college interns to study the phenomenon. Continued systematic efforts from all stakeholders are crucial to keeping children out of hazardous labor.

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