According to the Childline India Foundation, the third most profitable industry in the world is Human Trafficking, and Child Trafficking is rampant in countries irrespective of their development. According to UNICEF, it involves recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring or receiving child victims under the age of 18 for the ultimate purpose of exploitation and abuse through prostitution, forced marriages, illegal adoptions, labor work, organ harvesting, and for recruitment into the armed forces. The latest statistics indicate that annually about 1.2 million children (greater percentage of girls) are trafficked worldwide, and India is considered to be a significant source of children as well as a destination and a transit point for multiple countries for the purpose of trafficking. India falls under Tier 2, where the country is not fully in compliance with TVPA’s (Trafficking Victims Protection Act, 2000) minimum standards, but is making significant efforts.
Child Trafficking is a menace and a heinous crime that needs to be curbed. This industry is humongous throughout the world and is extremely common and organized, thus, highlighting the structured nature of the systemic violence. Child Trafficking is an attack on the child’s dignity; an inhumane treatment that causes trauma and pain bringing about an irreversible change in the child’s life
Child Trafficking is a form of Human Rights Violation, thus, making it necessary to keep our children safe and protected. We must make our children aware of such immoral practices, encourage them to stay alert and report suspicious activities, and we must keep an open eye for warning signs. Proper education must be imparted to children, and strong emphasis must be laid upon communication. Saying ‘NO’ to improper touch and other unacceptable gestures is a cery important aspect to be taught. We must create an appropriate rapport and build trust among children so that they keep us informed about their whereabouts. School programs can be conducted in association with non-government organizations and other social work institutions to raise awareness and to prevent children from falling prey. Self-defense training can be imparted both, as a part of school programs or from skilled external sources like the armed forces and other independent institutes. An individual or a single group cannot independently contribute towards the safety of children as demand for children is necessarily fulfilled through their supply. Only when multiple individuals and groups together take small tangible steps, only then can some change be witnessed in the current scenario.
Frequent police patrolling in areas more prone to such incidents; establishment of effective security at orphanages, hospitals and support groups; reporting child labor and taking strict legal action against those recruiting children for labor work; the development and the establishment of strict laws and policies by law- and policy-makers with concrete and severe consequences; collaborations among organizations focusing on Child Rights across the globe to expose the “underground” network of Child Traffickers; conducting behavior modification plans and proper care supervision for the Child Traffickers; conducting discussions on such sensitive issues such that children are also a part of them rather than considering such discussions taboo or inappropriate; encouraging awareness among family members about the various types of job availability and other sources of income rather than trafficking their children, especially daughters in exchange for finances to support their family, are crucial for solving the problem at large.
Thus, much of the Urban Indians are aware of the prevailing intensity of this issue with no significant difference in awareness from one city to another. However, there is still a long way to go in terms of education and awareness not only among the Urban but also among the Rural Indians. It is essential that the citizens of India take tangible steps towards curbing Child Trafficking rather than merely being aware of and discussing the issue in closed spaces!