PLIGHT OF CHILDREN’S – VULRENABLE CHILDREN

PLIGHT OF CHILDREN’S – VULRENABLE CHILDREN

Children are the future custodians of sovereignty, rule of law, – justice, liberty, equality, fraternity and finally international peace and security. They are the potential embodiment of our ideals, aspirations, ambitions, future hopes. They are the ‘future shoulders’ in the form of great philosophers, rulers, scientists, politicians, able legislators, administrators, teachers, judges, technologists, industrialists, engineers, workers, planners on which the country would rest. The Convention on the rights of the child 1989 (CRC) defines the term child to mean every human being below the age of eighteen years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority to be attained earlier. In India, the Census of India and the Constitution of India defines persons below the age of fourteen as children. The Children Act defines child as a person who has not attained the age of 16 years if it is a boy or 18 years if it is a girl. The child abuse scandals have shocked the South Asian nation, which has been struggling to deal with the issue of protecting children’s for many years. Reports of child abuse at state-run shelters have shocked India, exposing the government’s inability to protect children. Authorities have ordered an inquiry, but activists say the culture of abuse is pervasive in India. Several rape cases in India have made headlines in the past few years, with women’s rights groups slamming the authorities for their inability to safeguard children’s. India, the union of twenty-eight states and seven union territories, is a socialist, secular, and democratic republic. The question of child’s rights has emerged as one of the most vibrant issues for discussion in this new millennium. The fact remains that even today children are a part of the disadvantaged minority group so far as realization of human rights and social justice are concerned. The main reason for this lacuna is that children are still not a complete political entity in the true sense of the term. Besides, they are generally physically, mentally and economically defenseless. In this rapidly changing age of globalization, taking care of child’s at every stage has taken a back seat. This not only affects the whole value system, but also their present social and economic need. Children in India suffer from various health problems also during their early childhood and even before birth leading to short ended and unhealthy lives. Here also the law is not adequate to protect the health of children across India.
Child helpline got 1.36 crore “silent “calls for help in 3 years. Over 3.40 crore calls received by child helpline between April 2015 to March 2018as many as 1.36 crore were “silent” calls. Silent callers are likely to be children or even adults who may call back again and can indicate a troubled child or one in distress. All the calls are categorized including those that are blank, crank and abusive. Apart from the calls for rescue, shelter, missing cases and medical help for children, which is what 1098 has largely been associated with, a rise in “emotional support and guidance” calls were observed. The children from middle class and upper middle class families usually call this helpline number. More than 66,000 calls were handled by the helpline where the caller sought emotional support and guidance. Few years ago, a survey conducted by an NGO found over 3 lakh under 14 years children’s working in Jammu & Kashmir. Nearly 34% of them has received schooling only upto 5th grade and 66% upto the 8th grade. In 61% of the cases, parents of these child laborers were found illiterate .Despite a law against this heartless practice this process remains continuous. Child prostitution in India is multibillion dollar industry. India may have half a million children in brothels. Many are barely in their teens. A shocking number have HIV & AIDS. No children enter the prostitution trade on their own free will; some are runaways or victim of abuse. Other have been sold by their parents, abducted or enticed by gifts.

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Some Constitutional Guards:-
Article 15- The State shall not discriminate against any citizen..Nothing in this Article shall prevent the State from making any special provisions for women and children. Article 21 A-The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of 6-14 years in such manner as the State may, by law, determine. Article 24-No child below the age of 14 years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous employment. Article 45- The State shall Endeavour to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years. Article 243G read with Schedule 11 – provide for institutionalization of child care by seeking to entrust programmes of Women and Child Development to Panchayat (Item 25 of Schedule 11), apart from education (item 17), family welfare (item 25), health and sanitation (item 23) and other items with a bearing on the welfare of children. The Constitution (86th Amendment) Act was notified on 13th December 2002, making free and compulsory education a Fundamental Right for all children in the age group of 6-14 years.
Despite the increase in the number of reported cases of child rape and a comprehensive law, the conviction rate is unchanged since 2012 at 28.2%.The 2012 act states that a trial in any case of child sex abuse should be completed within one year. But this is rarely followed as the legal process remains slow. Where the offender is either a family member or someone known to the victim, the pressure to withdraw complaints can be immense. Families are hesitant to bring complaints against their own members out of concern for “family honour”.
Human trafficking is the third largest profitable industry in the world. Child trafficking unlike many other issues is found in both developed and developing nations. Trafficked children are used for prostitution, forced into marriage, illegally adopted, used as cheap or unpaid labour, used for sport and organ harvesting. India is a source, destination, and transit country for trafficking for many purposes such as commercial sexual exploitation. Majority of the trafficking is within the country but there are also a large number trafficked from Nepal and Bangladesh. Every day man, women and children are trafficked across India and throughout South Asia, with India being the source country as well as a transit and destination point. However, cross-border trafficking is only the tip of iceberg. There is considerable degree of trafficking between states within the country. Many of those trafficked are children, sometimes as young as 8 years old, or over younger. Thus, child trafficking is another major problem. “Trafficking for sex and other purposes has always existed in India, but trafficking children for domestic slavery is a relatively new development”. Approximately 600,000 to 800,000 victims are trafficked across international borders annually. Child Sexual Abuse and exploitation is not new, the extent of the problem is – children are sold, rented out, and sexually abused by adults everywhere. Thus, there is a need to make a comprehensive legislation to deal with the problem. There are no national or regional estimates for the number of children trafficked every year. But 40% of prostitutes are children, and there is a growing demand for young girls in the industry. NGOs estimate that 12,000 – 50,000 women and children are trafficked into the country annually from neighboring states for the sex trade. Thousands of girls are trafficked from Bangladesh and Nepal. 200,000 Nepalese girls under 16 years are in prostitution in India.
In brief the need is to mould attitude and perception of adults and children towards child rights. For this, each one of us as an important member of civilized society must fulfill our obligation to the young generation by providing, conducive environment to every child so that it’s all round personality, physical, mental, moral and spiritual is developed. Rehabilitation and reintegration of rescued victims being a long-term Recruitment of adequate number of trained counselors and social workers in institutions/homes run by the government independently or in collaboration with non-governmental organizations. Awareness generation and legal literacy on economic rights, particularly for women and adolescent girls should be taken up. The problem however cannot be addressed by law alone. Even the law enforcing agencies cannot fight it out on their own. The society has to wake up and fight it out untidily. The number of children being abused in the name of employment is too big to be ignored. The government must take appropriate steps to arrest the trend now. The human trafficking phenomenon is all-pervading and is considered as a complex problem in any society. States no matter however powerful or weak or partially address the issues by using the legal and administrative mechanism. Many social activists and NGOs along with Governmental implementation are actively participating in numerous activities especially in educating and training people at the community level and protecting the vulnerable class of the society. The Indian Government that also must act and implement a plethora of regulations outlawing trafficking and associated criminality in the country. There needs to have an urgent and essential measure to reduce the epidemic of trafficking in India.

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