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Child Labour Act lax in Nagaland: Report
Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, dec 19 (npn):
Published on 20 Dec. 2009 1:32 AM IST
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Trafficking of women and children from the North-Eastern states of India and the bordering countries in the north-east is a serious issue but has so far not drawn public attention. Things have only become worse with India being identified as a source, transit and destination point in the international circuit for child trafficking. Children are trafficked for several reasons including sexual exploitation, adoption, entertainment & sport such acrobatics in circus, child marriage, labour, begging, organ trade, drug peddling and smuggling. Ironically, trafficking of children usually happens through well organized networks and known people. Sensing the alarming rise of such cases even in our state, Prodigals Home Dimapur, on Saturday organised a dissemination workshop on missing children with special focus on child trafficking and ways to tackle it for NGOs, law enforcement agencies, legal fraternity and media at Prodigals Home Resource centre. The workshop was based on a study conducted by Prodigals Home supported by FST –Enabling NE India, from January 2007-July 2009 and was an eye opener for many of the participants with the data collected by PH giving a grim picture of the child trafficking situation prevailing in Dimapur alone. The objective of the workshop is to disseminate the findings of study and to explore community response and responsibility in tackling trafficking of children and other issues of child rights at their respective local level and to build up strategy of stakeholders’ partnership in addressing the issue collectively. According to data available with PH, 230 children were reported missing till the time of the study conducted out of which 29 percent were within the age group of 0-10, 54 percent within 11-14 years and 21 percent within 15-18 years. Dimapur recorded the maximum reports of missing children at 68%. Interestingly, 72% of the reported missing children were serving as domestic help in many of the homes. Till December 17, the data collected by PH quoted the figure at 280 missing children comprising of 157 girls and 123 boys. Feedback from the Women Cell Dimapur confirmed that the trafficking children for domestic help was prevalent but they admitted their helplessness in catching the perpetrators red handed, reason being the persons or individuals who produce the children are well known to the families or claim to be. They also further stated that the Child Labour Act (Prevention & Regulation) was not strictly enforced in Nagaland which if enforced in letter and spirit, would be a conflict with the law for many Naga families. Women Cell had registered 69 missing report out of which 32 were recovered and 37 were still missing. Almost all the participants of the workshop stressed on keeping in mind the best interest of the child along with giving rehabilitation through vocational trainings which most of the time could not be implemented due to paucity of resources and funds. They meeting also called for opening debates on child trafficking in schools and colleges and emphasized on popularizing children parliament like that of Andra Pradesh. Coordination among the state governments, police and NGOs; awareness campaign through churches by giving training to pastors, church leaders and strict checking on entry routes. Though there is an ‘Immoral Traffic Prevention Act’ that exists in India, it only refers to trafficking for prostitution and so does not provide comprehensive protection for children. Nor does the Act provide a clear definition of ‘trafficking’. Moreover, poverty, often cited as a major reason responsible for trafficking in children, is not the only cause. Loss of traditional sources of livelihood, growing unemployment, forced migration, the commodification of children and growing consumerism resulting from globalization have all contributed to the increase in child trafficking. The socio-economic situation and geographical location of the family add to the vulnerability. While both boys and girls are victims of trafficking, girls are more vulnerable, especially to trafficking for sexual purposes.

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