Bastar child protection authorities have rescued 70 people, including 33 children, from being trafficked, reported ANI. They were sold as bonded labourers to factories and brick kilns. The police acted on a tip-off provided by anti-trafficking campaigners in the region. Local police officials intercepted a bus that was carrying the group.

The police have also arrested five people who ran the trafficking racket. “We have rescued 20 minor boys and 13 girls. Rest of them are adults and were sold as bonded labourers,” Bastar child protection officer Vijay Shankar Sharma told Agence France-Presse. He said the people were sold to factory owners in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

The rescued children have been reportedly sent to a rehabilitation centre, from where they would be sent back to their homes. The news agency report said the people who were being trafficked belonged to tribes in Bastar and other districts around the area in Chhattisgarh, which is also a Maoist stronghold.