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Special officers to check trafficking

Ranchi, Feb. 8: The state social welfare, women and child development department has finally moved to appoint child protection officers in all 24 districts to help check trafficking of girls and build a conducive environment for rehabilitation of those rescued.

The appointment of District Child Protection Officers (DCPO), which is mandatory under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of children) Amendment Act, will be done by March-end for effectively implementing the Centre-sponsored Integrated Child Protection Scheme.

Speaking to The Telegraph today, social welfare department’s secretary Rajiv Arun Ekka said the main purpose of appointing DCPOs in every district was to form child protection committees, which would work towards the goal of preventing young girls falling in the trap of traffickers.

“We need to form child protection committees at the village level for proper implementation of the Integrated Child Protection Scheme. A DCPO will ensure that such a committee is formed. Once that happens, the DCPO and the committee will work in tandem to keep an eye on children, many of who move out of the state to eke a living and end up being trafficked,” Ekka said.

The proposed committees will comprise five members each — mukhiya, teacher, anganwadi worker, gram sabha member and sahiya.

Explaining the role of the special officers, the social welfare secretary said they would register the names of children in consultation with panchayat members, sensitise local bodies, police and judiciary to take responsibilities under the child protection scheme.

Spreading awareness among families and communities to protect children from vulnerable situations and generating awareness on child protection services and schemes will be their other jobs. Such an initiative was the need of the hour in view of the increasing number of trafficking cases being reported in the state.

According to data available with the department, every year 5,000-10,000 young girls from Gumla, Simdega, Latehar, Sahebganj, Godda, Giridih, Lohardaga and West Singhbhum are trafficked to places like Delhi, Mumbai, Haryana and Rajasthan.

On February 1, 12 victims were rescued from Delhi. Jharkhand’s CID department, along with Delhi police, has prepared a list of 240 placement agencies based in the national capital that are actively involved in trafficking young girls from the state.