HC Deb 17 February 1944 vol 397 cc333-4
37. Mr. Bowles

asked the Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that a little girl being offered for sale in the Bengal famine area was bought by a British officer for one rupee, 1s. 6d., who took her to the welfare centre; and whether he has any statement to make thereon.

Mr. Butler

Inquiries have been made and I am informed that, while there have been many cases of destitute children being succoured by civil and military officers and taken to relief centres, the Government of Bengal have so far received no report of any case of the purchase of destitute children. They are, however, making further inquiries.

Mr. Bowles

Does my right hon. Friend know that this was a report in the "Birmingham Mail" of Friday, 4th February; and will he make further inquiries to find out whether this selling of young female children is a form of slavery, or what in other parts of the world might be described as white slavery?

Mr. Butler

I trust we need not extend the matter to the extent the hon. Gentleman has implied. I will give the House the full information directly I have obtained it.