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Child Trafficking in India

What it means:

Child trafficking in India is the practice of illegal procuring, recruitment, transportation, transfer, receipt, or harboring of children for the purpose of sexual exploitation, forced labor, forced marriage, organ harvesting, and for all purposes where they can be used illegally. It is done for children who is less than the age of 18, either within or outside the country. This is found both in developing as well as developed nations. According to the figures, it is estimated that around 1.2 million children are involved in trafficking worldwide every year.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), around 14,183 children became the victims of child trafficking in 2016, which in itself shows an increase of 27% when compared to the previous year. A Supreme Court advocate has said that ‘trafficking for sex and all other purposes is not new in India, but along with those trafficking children for the purpose of domestic slavery in a new development’. Trafficking in simpler words can be understood as the sale and purchase of children from one place to another especially illegal migration.

Purpose:

Child trafficking across the world was not able to receive the required attention as needed even though it takes place in large numbers and in different forms for different purposes. Child trafficking in India is done for the purpose of Sexual Exploitation as forced prostitution, sex tourism, and pornography. They are used in illegal activities as begging, organ trade, drug peddling, and smuggling. In labor as bonded labor, domestic work, construction work, industries, for entertainment, adoption, and marriage.

Reason of Problem:

The reason of the problem is not one. Some estimated and common reasons for this problem are lack of employment opportunities, poverty, lack of awareness of rights, illiteracy, the status of girl child, improper legislation, and the biggest reason is weak law enforcement machinery. Political uprising is one of the new emerging factors responsible for the same. In India, trafficking is also a caste issue. It has been observed that 61% of commercial sex workers are basically from lower backward classes.[1]Till now, there is not any fixed data available on child trafficking in all its forms and purposes.

Traffickers:

It’s not always that only criminal used to sell or buy them. Yes, they do, but to some extent only. Mostly they are family members, relatives, male-dominated sex, friends, teachers, politicians. They used to do it for various reasons which have been discussed above. Mostly they are only done for money. Article 23 of the Indian Constitution prohibits the trafficking of human beings and forced labor.

Initiatives taken:

The problem of child trafficking in India is paid attention through the Department of Women and Child Development along with the National Commission for Women. Various central governments’ initiatives taken by the government include, Central Advisory Committee on Child Prostitution in 1994. In 1997, Supreme Court established a Committee on Prostitution, Child Prostitution and Children of Prostitutes. Under Section 21 of ITPA, the government has established Protective Homes for girls and women. In 1994, the state government has set up the State Advisory Committees. Various NGOs have been established for controlling this crime like National Human Rights Commission, UNICEF, and so on.

Crime:

The legal system and its framework which exists today is limited to defining trafficking in terms of trafficking for prostitution only. In Indian Law, there is no specific provision on trafficking which is now in need. But still there are several provisions given under the Indian Penal Code relating and prohibiting kidnapping, abduction, procuration, importation of minor girls for sexual intercourse, selling and buying of girls, slavery, forced labor which is contained in Section 360 to Section 374 of IPC.

Case:

  • In the case of People’s Union for Democratic Rights v. Union of India[2], the Supreme Court defined the meaning of Forced Labor with respect to Article 23 of the Indian Constitution. It was held that minimum wage is not paid to those workmen employed by those of contractors, and is not against the violation of Article 23 of India Constitution.
  • In the case of Laxmi Kant Pandey v. Union of India[3], Supreme Court supported the intercountry adoption as it is necessary to keep in mind that the most important objective is better welfare of the child, and great care need to be taken for giving child to foreign parents. The court further, laid down the procedures to check and monitor adoptions within the country so that children don’t get trafficked in the end.

[1]Situation Report India, 1998.

[2]People’s Union for Democratic Rights v. Union of India, (1982) 3 SCC 235.

[3]Laxmi Kant Pandey v. Union of India, (1984) 2 SCC 244.

Also Read – Child Refugees And Asylum Seekers

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Raj Aryan

Lloyd Law College

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