CP Concerns

Child trafficking is child abuse. Children are recruited, moved or transported and then exploited, forced to work or sold. They are often subject to multiple forms of exploitation. Children are trafficked for:

  • Child sexual exploitation
  • Benefit fraud
  • Forced marriage
  • Domestic servitude such as cleaning, childcare, cooking
  • Forced labour in factories or agriculture
  • Criminal activity such as pick pocketing, begging, transporting drugs, working on cannabis farms, selling pirated DVDs, bag theft.

Section 370 of Indian Penal code specifically banned the trafficking of children & the newly enacted Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of children) Act 2015 also specifically made the trafficking of children as offense.

What Is Trafficking
According to Section 370 of the Indian Penal Code
Whoever, for the purpose of exploitation, (a) recruits, (b) transports, (c) harbours, (d) transfers, or (e) receives, a person or persons, by-

  • using threats, or
  • using force, or any other form of coercion,
  • or by abduction,
  • or by practising fraud,
  • or deception, or by abuse of power,
  • Or by inducement, including the giving or receiving of payments or benefits, in order to achieve the consent of any person having control over the person recruited, transported, harboured, transferred or received, commits the offence of trafficking.

  • Whoever commits the offence of trafficking shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than seven years, but which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.
  • Where the offence involves the trafficking of more than one person, it shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.
  • Where the offence involves the trafficking of a minor, it shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years, but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.
  • Where the offence involves the trafficking of more than one minor, it shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than fourteen years, but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.
  • If a person is convicted of the offence of trafficking of minor on more than one occasion, then such person shall be punished with imprisonment for life, which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person’s natural life, and shall also be liable to fine.
  • When a public servant or a police officer is involved in the trafficking of any person then, such public servant or police officer shall be punished with imprisonment for life, which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person’s natural life, and shall also be liable to fine.

Child Trafficking in Assam
We all know Assam and other north eastern States in the recent years has become a hot spot for traffickers. Trafficking in North East regions occurs at two levels, there is the internal trafficking of Children and women from conflict affected, natural disaster affected, and tea garden dominated rural areas for domestic work and prostitution. Secondly, on an international level, there is trafficking of women & children to other Countries .The peculiar geographical location of Assam makes it more vulnerable to infiltration and insurgency resulting in slow economic growth. Over the decades, Assam has witnessed large scale migration of the local population to the comparatively richer parts of the country. The growing need for better livelihood options and employment has turned Assam into a fertile place for human traffickers and in the past few years, thousands of young men and women of the state have fallen prey to the designs of traffickers and have been exploited as cheap labour or commercial sex worker.

Child trafficking is a matter of concern for the state. There has been occasion when the issue has been debated and discussed in the parliament. But unfortunately such discussions have not reached their logical end, mostly because until recently the issue of trafficking in Assam was not backed by evidence in the form of quantitative database. This data deficit was addressed through a joint study undertaken by government of Assam and UNICEF. The report: Secondary Data Analysis on Trafficking of Women and Children in Assam, states that over a period of 31 months (January 2011-July 2013) a minimum of 3000 girls, boys and women went missing from Assam.

It also points out that an overwhelming 83% of the trafficked children from Assam have been rescued from Delhi, Karnataka, Mumbai and other places. While major source districts within the state are Baksa ,Cachar,Dibrugarh ,Golaghat, Jorhat , Karimganj,Sonitpur , Udalguri.

For any query, please refer to Child Protection Factbook.
Despite the deepest commitment of the Constitution of India to ensure the fundamental rights of children and the enactment of theProhibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, child marriages continue unabated, interrupting the childhood of girls and boys and inflicting grave injustice on them. Child marriage is still a major social challenge in the country: a complex, varied, multi-dimensional problem linked with patriarchy, traditional and religious practices.

Regardless of its roots, child marriage constitutes a gross violation of human rights, leaving physical, psychological and emotional scars for life. It not only reinforces stereotypical role of women of bearing children and doing household chores at the cost of her freedom, education and health but also limits their prospects of being a successful human being. It compromises on her individuality and preference for marriage and having a family, procreation, avocation and role in the family, community and society.

Girls who marry as children are often more susceptible to health risks associated with early childbearing, including HIV, obstetric fistula, maternal as well as infant mortality. Lacking status and power, these girls are often subjected to domestic violence, sexual abuse and social isolation. Early marriage almost always deprives children, especially girls of their education or meaningful work, which contributes to persistent poverty. Compared to boys, girls are severely affected, due to social & physiological factors. Prevalence of child marriage has also hampered the state’s growth.

The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, states – ‘Child means a person who, if a male, hasnot completed twenty-one years of age, and if a female, has not completed eighteen years ofage’ – and deems marriages of minors illegal and punishable under the law.

Features of the prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006
Age of marriage for boys is 21 and 18 for girls and any marriage of persons below this age is child marriage - illegal, an offense and punishable under law.

Every child marriage shall be void if so desired by either the bride or the groom who was a child at the time of the marriage.

The Court while granting nullity shall make an order directing the parents and guardians to return the money, ornaments and other gifts received.

The Court may also make an order directing the groom or parents or guardian to pay maintenance to the bride until her remarriage.

The Court shall make an appropriate order for the custody and the maintenance of the offspring of child marriages.

Notwithstanding that a child marriage has been annulled, every offspring of such a marriage shall be deemed to be a legitimate child for all purposes.

Any person arranging, party to, solemnizing, participating in a child marriage is also liable to be punished under the Act, including mass marriages.

Child marriages to be considered automatically void in certain circumstances like minor being sold for the purpose of marriage, minor after being married is sold or trafficked or used for immoral purposes, etc.

Enhancement in punishment for male adults marrying a child, and persons performing, abetting, promoting, attending, etc., a child marriage to be imprisoned up to two years and fined up to one lakh rupees.

Act identifies officials as prohibition officers. The States will appoint child marriage prohibition officers, whose duties include prevention of child marriages, collection of evidence for effective prosecution, creating awareness and sensitization of the community, etc.

The penalty for facilitating child marriage is rigorous imprisonment up to two years and/or a fine up to one lakh rupees.

Enforcement of PCMA 2006 had provided many legal remedies and administrative measures to prevent child marriage. However the literature review of the implementation of the Act shows that there is a clear gap in implementation at all level. Moreover the victim of Child Marriage are considered as Child in Need of Care & Protection under the Juvenile Justice Care & Protection of Children Act 2015 & rehabilitation & social reintegration of such victim is taken care of under the mandate of the Act. But due to the status of child marriage as social custom prevents to take resort of this Act.

Ignorance, illiteracy, poor health, economic and social backwardness, social practices and traditions, and the prevalence of child marriage is only a reflection of dismal situation. The repercussions of child marriage, especially for girls, are extremely adverse. With early marriage comes early pregnancy, putting the lives of both the mother and baby at risk.

For any query, please refer to Child Protection Factbook.
What it is? The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016
Millions of children around the world are trapped in child labour, depriving them of their childhood, their health and education, and condemning them to a life of poverty and want. Our Country & State is also not immune from this socio-economic problem. Of course, there is work that children do to help their families in ways that are neither harmful nor exploitative. But many children are stuck in unacceptable work for children – a serious violation of their rights.

Child labour spans various sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing, quarrying and mining, and domestic service. Often, it is hidden from the public eye. For example, the estimated 15.5 million child domestic workers worldwide – mostly girls – are often hardly visible and face many hazards. Child labour is the combined product of many factors, such as poverty, social norms condoning it, lack of decent work opportunities for adults and adolescents, migration, and emergencies.

Child labour reinforces intergenerational cycles of poverty, undermines national economies and impedes achieving progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is not only a cause, but also a consequence of social inequities reinforced by discrimination. Children from indigenous groups or lower castes are more likely to drop out of school to work. Migrant children are also vulnerable to hidden and illicit labour.

Prohibition of employment below the age of 14 years the amendment Act of 2016 has put blanket ban on employment of children below 14 years but allow them to work in home, family enterprises, outside of school hours and during holidays, and in audio –visual entertainment industry and sports only if it does not affect their education. ‘Adolescents’ (the 14-18 age group) can be employed in ‘non-hazardous’ occupations.

For any query, please refer to Child Protection Factbook.
Violence, abuse and exploitation of children can manifest itself in various ways, some more subtle and less obvious to detect. By definition, violence, abuse and exploitation against children involves, all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, as listed in article 19, paragraph 1, of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).The protection of children from violence, abuse and exploitation is therefore critical not only to their proper psychosocial development but also to the future of the nation.

Physical Abuse
Many of us automatically picture some sort of physical abuse if we hear someone speak of childhood abuse. Physical abuse includes deliberate aggressive actions on the child that inflict pain. Wounds, bruises, burns, and sore muscles are all examples of signs of physical abuse.

Corporal Punishment in schools & in the institutions are now banned & punishable offence under The Free & Compulsory Right to Education Act 2009 & Juvenile Justice Care & Protection of Children Act 2015.

Did you know that when parents are continually unavailable for their children it constitutes abuse? Neglect, or the absence of parental care, can have damaging effects on a child's well-being. It is also the most common form of child abuse.

Parents may neglect children because they abuse a substance and are not aware enough to care for others or make plans for them. They may have a mental illness, like severe depression, that keeps them home lying in bed. While they may be present, they are not truly present for their children. Parents who neglect their children may not even have an addiction or illness. They may be consumed with a job, activity, or another person, to the extent that they are rarely available for their children or caring for their needs.

Psychological Abuse
All behaviors toward children that cause mental anguish or deficits constitute psychological abuse. It is also termed 'emotional abuse' because damage caused to one's mental state inevitably creates emotional damage. Besides strong critical statements, psychological abuse can also include: yelling frequently, withholding kindness or affection, prolonged periods of silence, and harsh jokes, to name a few examples. Like any type of abuse, there may be degrees in severity, but the actions still constitute abuse.

Sexual Abuse
Sexual violence against children is a gross violation of children’s rights. Yet it is a global reality across all countries and social groups. It can take the form of sexual abuse, harassment, rape or sexual exploitation in prostitution or pornography. It can happen in homes, institutions, schools, workplaces, in travel and tourism facilities, within communities - both in development and emergency contextsas well as in non-emergency contexts in developed countries. Increasingly, the internet and mobile phones also put children at risk of sexual violence as some adults look to the internet to pursue sexual relationships with children. There is also an increase in the number and circulation of images of child abuse. Children themselves also send each other sexualized messages or images on their mobile phones, so called ‘sexting’, which puts them at risk for other abuse.

When someone touches a child in a sexual way or commits a sexual act with him or her, they have committed sexual abuse. Sexual abuse includes any type of behavior toward a child that is intended for an offender's sexual stimulation. Fondling, forced sexual acts, or indecent physical exposure are some examples. Abuse includes one isolated event as well as incidences that go on for years.

While many people have stereotypes of what a sexual offender may look like, the disturbing fact is that they are often relatives of the child. People that family or friends would never imagine are behaving in such ways are more often than not the culprits.

The POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act, 2012 was enacted to protect all children under the age of 18 years from the offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography and establish Special courts for trial of such Offences. The Act provides for stringent punishments, ranging from simple to rigorous imprisonment of varying periods.

For any query, please refer to Child Protection Factbook.