Child Labour And Trafficking May Rise Due To COVID-19 And Lockdown: Report
The Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation, or KSCF, will launch the Justice for Every Child National Campaign on July 30 to mark World Day Against Trafficking in Persons to raise awareness against combating trafficking through education and demanding quality education.
The Kailash Satyarthi Children's Foundation, or KSCF, has submitted a report on the impact of lockdown on a range of issues, such as, trafficking, child labour, child marriage and schooling of children, indebtedness, risk of bondage, income and savings of poor households in the rural areas, food security and their plans to deal with the financial crisis.
Titled 'A Study on Impact of Lockdown and Economic Disruption on Low-Income Households with Special Reference to Children', the KSCF study is based on responses of 53 Non Governmental Organisations, or NGOs, working with children and spread across the country and a household survey of 245 respondents drawn from the traffick-prone states of Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan.
As per the report, “The responses of NGOs were sought because of their close links at the grassroots level, the household survey was conducted to develop an in-depth understanding of the impact of lockdown on households from the lowest economic strata.”
KSCF Report: Findings And Suggestions
Since the lockdown has triggered a financial crisis and poverty, it is driving families to desperation and making them susceptible to pushing their children to trafficking, the report says.
It seeks "increased role for panchayati raj institutions (PRIs)" in which panchayats will be "mandated to maintain a migration register to monitor movements of children in and out of villages." The report recommends that the migration register should be regularly checked and verified by the block officials.
Recommending that systems be created for micro-level surveillance in and around villages on a "continuous basis", so as to prevent children of families impoverished by the lockdown from working as child labour, the report says that "panchayats, other village level officials as well as Block officials should play a major role in ensuring that children do not work and are retained in schools".
The report further recommends that the dilution of labour laws by some states in the midst of the COVID-19 lockdown must be reviewed and rescinded immediately since doing away with crucial safeguards is likely to lead to a spike in the incidence of child labour and child trafficking while deepening exploitation and abuse of workers.
The KSCF report recommends that: "A wide safety net (must) be spread in source areas of trafficking to protect children from being trafficked. Schools, communities, and the local administration must work together to control trafficking and bonded labour in villages.”
“Intensive campaigns should be launched to educate communities about the threat and modus operandi of trafficking agents, especially in the source areas such as Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, and Assam," the report added.
Seeking enhanced capacity of law enforcement agencies through regular training, the KSCF report added that, trafficking of children from rural areas through the Railways should be prevented with the help of Anti-Human Trafficking Units (AHTUs) and the Government Railway Police (GRP).
“Activation and proper functioning of the Village level Child Protection Committees (VCPC) must be ensured in each village to stop marriages of underage children and make the community aware about its ill impacts, adding that a Helpline to enable citizens to report child marriages should be established,” it added.