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Grim facts of child trafficking

- Kids mostly from lower Assam fall victim: NGO

Dhubri, Dec.11: Nearly 7 to 8 lakh men, women and children are being trafficked outside the country and lakhs of children, mostly from the lower Assam districts, are being trafficked within the country, an NGO has said.

Kailash Satyarthi, the founder of the NGO, Bachpan Bachao Andolan, disclosed the statistics while addressing the public meeting after four days of campaign here at Raja Prabhat Chandra Barua Maidan today.

The campaign against the child labour, exploitation and creating awareness on the protection of children under the banner of the NGO, which started from Guwahati in collaboration with Global March against Child Labour, state units of National Legal Service Authority of North East Region and other various organisations, concluded at the maidan here today.

Speaking on the occasion, the chairperson of the NGO, R.S. Chaurasia, expressed concern over child trafficking from these parts of Assam and demanded protection of their social and economic rights and proper rehabilitation.

Chaurasia said nearly 10,000 children, including a sizeable number of girls, were being trafficked from this part of Assam and used as forced labour, engaged in begging, employed as domestic help and sold to brothels. Some had even fallen prey to human organ traffickers.

“The main reason of trafficking of children is poverty. Taking advantage of the prevalence of poverty among the downtrodden, human traffickers lure their parents with pictures of a better life offering a minimal amount of money and sell them to other parts of the country,” Chaurasia said.

Pointing out to the two acts against exploitation of children, Chaurasia said the Juvenile Justice Act, 2005, prohibits employing any child below the age of 18 and the Child Labour Act prohibits employing a child below the age of 14 years.

However, despite this grim situation prevailing across the country, there were hardly any efforts to protect children who are future of the nation, Chaurasia said.

Project director of the NGO, Dhananjay Tingal, addressing the concluding day of the campaign, appealed to the people to come forward to protect children from exploitation. “Children are losing their precious childhood and growing up in such a unhealthy environment. We, through the Bachpan Bachao Andolan, which was started in 1980, appeal you to come forward and fight against child exploitation and make the nation free of this menace.”

The campaign, which started on December 8, held meetings at Barpeta, Bongaigaon, Garigaon, Bidyanagar, Tilapara, Krishnai, Agia, Bahalpur, Chapor, Bilasipara, Bogribari and Gauripur.