Challenges Of Child Abuse In India

Challenges Of Child Abuse In India

Children are the future custodians of sovereignty, rule of law, – justice, liberty, equality, fraternity and finally international peace and security. They are the potential embodiment of our ideals, aspirations, ambitions, future hopes. They are the ‘future shoulders’ in the form of great philosophers, rulers, scientists, politicians, able legislators, administrators, teachers, judges, technologists, industrialists, engineers, workers, planners on which the country would rest. The Convention on the rights of the child 1989 (CRC) defines the term child to mean every human being below the age of eighteen years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority to be attained earlier. In India, the Census of India and the Constitution of India defines persons below the age of fourteen as children. The Children Act defines child as a person who has not attained the age of 16 years if it is a boy or 18 years if it is a girl. The child abuse scandals have shocked the South Asian nation, which has been struggling to deal with the issue of protecting children’s for many years. Several rape cases in India have made headlines in the past few years, with women’s rights groups slamming the authorities for their inability to safeguard children’s.

India, the union of twenty-eight states and seven union territories, is a socialist, secular, and democratic republic. The question of child’s rights has emerged as one of the most vibrant issues for discussion in this new millennium. The fact remains that even today children are a part of the disadvantaged minority group so far as realization of human rights and social justice are concerned. The main reason for this lacuna is that children are still not a complete political entity in the true sense of the term. Besides, they are generally physically, mentally and economically defenseless. In this rapidly changing age of globalization, taking care of child’s at every stage has taken a back seat. This not only affects the whole value system, but also their present social and economic need.

The number of children being abused in the name of employment is too big to be ignored. The government must take appropriate steps to arrest the trend now.

Children in India suffer from various health problems also during their early childhood and even before birth leading to short ended and unhealthy lives. Here also the law is not adequate to protect the health of children across India. Child helpline got 1.36 crore “silent “calls for help in 3 years. Over 3.40 crore calls received by child helpline between April 2015 to March 2018 as many as 1.36 crore were “silent” calls. Silent callers are likely to be children or even adults who may call back again and can indicate a troubled child or one in distress. Few years ago, a survey conducted by an NGO found over 3 lakh under 14 years children’s working in Jammu & Kashmir. Nearly 34% of them has received schooling only upto 5th grade and 66% upto the 8th grade. In 61% of the cases, parents of these child laborers were found illiterate .Despite a law against this heartless practice this process remains continuous.  Child prostitution in India is multibillion dollar industry. India may have half half a million children in brothels.  Many are barely in their teens. A shocking number have HIV & AIDS.  No children enter the prostitution trade on their own free will, some are runaways or victim of abuse. Other have been sold by their parents, abducted or enticed by gifts.

Some Constitutional Safeguards:

Article 15- The State shall not discriminate against any citizen..Nothing in this Article shall prevent the State from making any special provisions for women and children. Article 21 A-The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of 6-14 years in such manner as the State may, by law, determine. Article 24-No child below the age of 14 years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous employment. Article 45- The State shall Endeavour to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years. Article 243G read with Schedule 11 – provide for institutionalization of child care by seeking to entrust programmes of Women and Child Development to Panchayat (Item 25 of Schedule 11), apart from education (item 17), family welfare (item 25), health and sanitation (item 23) and other items with a bearing on the welfare of children. The Constitution (86th Amendment) Act was notified on 13th December 2002, making free and compulsory education a Fundamental Right for all children in the age group of 6-14 years.

Every day man, women and children are trafficked across India and throughout South Asia, with India being the source country as well as a transit and destination point. However, cross-border trafficking is only the tip of iceberg. There is considerable degree of trafficking between state within the country. Many of those trafficked are children, sometimes as young as 8 years old, or over younger. Thus, child trafficking is another major problem. Child Sexual Abuse and exploitation is not new, the extent of the problem is – children are sold, rented out, and sexually abused by adults everywhere. Thus, there is a need to make a comprehensive legislation to deal with the problem. In brief the need is to mould attitude and perception of adults and children towards child rights. For this, each one of us as an important member of civilized society must fulfill our obligation to the young generation by providing, conducive environment to every child so that its all round personality, physical, mental, moral and spiritual is developed. Rehabilitation and reintegration of rescued victims being a long-term Recruitment of adequate number of trained counselors and social workers in institutions/homes run by the government independently or in collaboration with non-governmental organizations. Awareness generation and legal literacy on economic rights, particularly for women and adolescent girls should be taken up. The problem however cannot be addressed by law alone. Even the law enforcing agencies cannot fight it out on their own. The society has to wake up and fight it out untidily. The number of children being abused in the name of employment is too big to be ignored. The government must take appropriate steps to arrest the trend now.

(The author is a student at Department of Law Kashmir University Srinagar. Views are his own)

Source: Sajad Farooq Rather

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