They were allegedly sexually abused. Police sources said the girls were rescued following a call received by Childline 1098.
Officials from the District Child Welfare Committee, the District Child Protection Unit and two special police units rescued 18 minor girls, who were allegedly subjected to sexual abuse, from an unregistered home at Vyasarpadi in Chennai.
Police sources said the girls were rescued following a call received by Childline 1098. The caller claimed that the children were being sexually abused by the home in-charge, Kalyanasundaram.
The Childline team alerted the District Child Protection Officer (DCPO), the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and the Special Juvenile Police Unit (SJPU).
“Following the call, the DCPO, members of the CWC, police personnel from the SJPU and the W-18 M.K.B Nagar all-woman police station and officials from Childline went to the location given by the caller and spoke to the children, who confirmed that they had been sexually abused,” a police officer said.
“The team rescued 18 children from the home. They were produced before the CWC and provided temporary shelter at another home near Chetpet,” the officer added.
Francis Adaikalam, a member of the CWC, said the team inspected the unregistered home on Monday following the call to Childline.
“The children were all girls between 9 and 17 years of age. When they were rescued, some of them said they had been sexually abused by the person who ran the home. While some are orphans, others, despite having parents, had been living in the home since they hail from economically backward families,” he said.
Members of the CWC spoke to some of the parents on Monday. They have been speaking to the children as well to find out more about what happened in the unregistered home. “They are all safe in another home in the city, and over the next few days, we will continue speaking to the parents and decide on the future course of action,” Mr. Adaikalam said.
An official from the District Child Protection Unit said that once they were informed that the home was unregistered, they immediately went there for an inspection.
“We are acting on any information about unregistered homes in the city and carrying out inspections. Strict action would be taken against homes that haven’t been registered,” she said.
(Childline operates a toll-free helpline for children in distress – 1098)