Trafficking in human beings has become a matter of serious national and international concern. Although the human trafficking ranges from forced labor to illegal activities like begging and organ trade to sexual exploitation etc., I’m herein referring to the child trafficking in particular for sexual exploitation and forced labor.
Magnitude of the Problem
In India, a large number of children are trafficked not only for the sex ‘trade’ but also for other forms of non-sex based exploitation that includes servitude of various kinds, as domestic labour, industrial labour, agricultural labour, begging, organ trade and false marriage.
Trafficking in children is on rise, and nearly 60% of the victims of trafficking are below 18 years of age. In India the population of women and children in sex work in India is stated to be between 70,000 and 1 million of these, 30% are 20 years of age. Nearly 15% began sex work when they were below 15 and 25% entered between 15 and 18 years. A rough estimate prepared by an NGO called End children’s prostitution in Asian Tourism reveals that there are around 2 million prostitutes in India. 20% among them are minors.
A study conducted in 1992 estimates that any one time 20,000 girls are being transported from one part of the country to any other.
Prosecution and Reality Check
Going by the stats, I don’t think the vision 2020 turning up into reality. Although the Government of India prohibits some forms of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation through the Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act (ITPA). Prescribed penalties under the ITPA — ranging from seven years’ to life imprisonment — are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those for other grave crimes. India also prohibits bonded and forced labor through the Bonded Labor Abolition Act, the Child Labor Act, and the Juvenile Justice Act.
But the problem is that this very lucrative business is facilitated by corrupt officials and publicly renowned figures that are having a major stakes in this. Instead of penalizing the culprits and providing justice to victims, they protect the goons from threats of Law enforcements. How can we dream of a better India with the youngsters falling prey to such heinous crimes.
Trafficking in human beings, especially children, is a form of modern day slavery and requires a holistic, multi-sectored approach to address the complex dimension of the problem. It is a problem that violates the rights and dignity of the victims and therefore requires essentially a child rights perspective while working on its eradication.
In the fight against trafficking government organizations, non-governmental
organizations, civil society, pressure groups, international bodies, all have to
play an important role. Law can not be the only instrument to take care of all
Though I’ve restricted the scope of my article to India only but it’s a prevailing problem world over. As a responsible global citizen, we should raise our voice against this hideous crime.
Create awareness around. It’s the least we can do from our side. Parents should be more cautious and aware. Also as a society we need to be more stringent against such activities.
Let’s pledge to stand against child trafficking and give the young ones a better tomorrow.
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