Child Trafficking in India | Stats and What we can do


Human trafficking is one of the profitable industry across the globe. Child Trafficking is a common issue in both the developed and developing nations. These children if female will be inevitably pushed in to prostitution or illegal marriage. Children of both sex is used as cheap and unpaid labour performing hazardous tasks, illegally adopted or organ harvesting. Children trafficked are subjected to violence , abuse , neglect and exploitation which makes them mentally sick and traumatised. Latest figure estimate that around 1.2 children are trafficked worldwide. As per government data, almost 20,000 women and children were victims of human trafficking in India in 2016, a rise of nearly 25 per cent compared to 2015.
               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. Children are trafficked to Middle Eastern countries for sport such as camel racing. 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 neighbouring 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. An estimated 1,000 to 1,500 Indian children are smuggled out of the country every year to Saudi Arabia for begging during the Hajj.  Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu have the largest number of people trafficked. Intra state/inter district trafficking is high in Rajasthan, Assam, Meghalaya, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. Delhi and Goa are the major receiver states. Trafficking from north eastern states is high but often over looked.
                 It is the children of the poor and marginalized communities who are often trafficked to be forced into labour. Parents of these children are either betrayed or lured due to their poor socio-economic conditions thus forcing them to ‘send’ or ‘sell’ their children for better livelihood options. The lack of awareness is a situation that traffickers exploit especially when it comes to uneducated poor living in slums and other backward regions in the country. Traffickers promise daily wages to parents of young children and transport them to big cities where they are often treated as commodities. Families in dire financial conditions are often approached by traffickers with an offer to buy their children and with no other escape from their pitiful conditions, parents comply.

               Effective policymaking is critical to reform this problem. NGOs like Save the Children constantly research, document, and showcase findings of the need for reforms and engage with various government agencies, urging them to have better legislation in place for tackling child trafficking. Many cases have been filed under the recent Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences Act (2012) and Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, which have successfully translated in increased convictions, demonstrating how legislating can curb child trafficking. Communities should be made more aware and educated about the consequences.

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