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Child Trafficking increased in India: Study

Published: 3rd Aug, 2023


To mark theWorld Day against Trafficking in Persons” on July 30, a report, titled ’Child Trafficking in India: Insights from Situational Data Analysis and the Need for Tech-driven Intervention Strategies’ has been released.

  • The Report has been published by Games24x7 and the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation (KSCF).

Highlights of the Report:

  • Based on Number of Trafficked children:
    • Jaipur has emerged as the most prominent destination for trafficked children in the country in the last six years.
    • Jaipur has emerged to be one of the prominent destinations for trafficked children with the maximum number 1,115 children rescued from this district, accounting for about 9 per cent of the total rescued children.

Rajasthan saw a surge in average trafficked children: The number rose to 99 in post-COVID years (2021-22) against 48 in pre-Covid years (2016-20). Overall, there has been a “significant increase” in the number of trafficked children before and after the pandemic.

  • Based on Average per year Trafficked children:
    • Uttar Pradesh saw the maximum number of children trafficked on an ‘average per year – 267’ in the pre-COVID phase (2016-19) and 1,214 in post-COVID phase (2021-22), or an increase of over 350 per cent with the year 2021 reporting 2,055 cases.
    • UP was followed by Bihar and Andhra Pradesh, together making up the top three states from where the maximum numbers of children were trafficked on an average per year.
    • Karnataka showed a staggering increase in the number of children trafficked on an average per year, from six cases before COVID to 110 after it — an 18-fold increase.

About Human Trafficking:

  • According to the UNODC, Human Trafficking is “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of people through force, fraud or deception, to exploit them for profit.”
  • Human trafficking involves recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring, or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, for exploitation.

Constitutional Provisions:

  • Article 23prohibits human trafficking and beggar (forced labour without payment).
  • Article 24forbids the employment of children below the age of 14 years in dangerous jobs like factories and mines.

Child Trafficking in India:

  • According to the NCRB Report of 2021, 2877 children were trafficked in India.
  • Approximately eight children were trafficked daily, and the reports account for only those cases that Anti-Human Trafficking Units have registered; the unregistered traffic figure is enormous compared to this.
  • The report also shows that trafficking increased in India by 28 per cent in 2021 compared to 2020 and 44 per cent of these victims are children.

Laws related to prohibiting Human Traffic:

  • Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, 1986: The purpose of this Act is to give effect to the Trafficking Convention and to prohibit immoral human trafficking.
    • It constitutes authorities at the centre and state level to combat trafficking. However, it does not elaborate on the role, function, and composition of these authorities.
  • Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013: It has come into force wherein Section 370 of the Indian Penal Codehas been substituted with Section 370 and 370A IPC which provide for comprehensive measures to counter the menace of human trafficking.
  • Protection of Children from Sexual offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, is a special law to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation.

What are causes of increasing Child Trafficking in India?

  • Increase in Child trafficking in India is due to the root causes being- poverty, a lack of education, and the need to financially support their family.
  • Due to the need for inexpensive labour in industries, many youngsters were trafficked and forced to serve as bonded labourers for reduced pay.
  • Demand for trafficking from low-income to high-income areas is fuelled by economic disparities both within and between nations.
  • Because illiteracy prevents children, especially girls, from knowing their legal rights, it has a substantial impact on human trafficking. Inadequate educational opportunities induce illiteracy. They are unable to act against exploiters as a result.
  • Expanding the commercial sex industry in the country as well as abroad is another demanding reason.
  • Lack of political will on the part of the government to create a strong system for law enforcement to use to combat trafficking.

Way forward:

  • More community-based interaction and awareness are needed.
  • Steps like community-based rehabilitation and revisiting the existing laws to deal with loopholes can be taken. Poverty-driven child labor needs to be addressed by cultivating more work for the families so that the children can be sent to school.
  • To help all nations protect victims and prosecute perpetrators, there is a need to boost technical aid and deepen collaboration.
  • To combat the threat of human trafficking, it is vital to improve the capability of both the police and NGOs.

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