The petition - 'Direct State Police to Arrest Men Who Sexually Exploit Children' - has got over 1,12,000 signatures in ten days with a demand for a strategy to curb the increasing demand of children for commercial sexual exploitation by making their clients responsible too.
The horrors of child sexual abuse, especially minors who are pushed in prostitution were narrated by these children as they fought back tears. The children claim they were pushed into prostitution because some men wanted virgins for sexual activity. The children were bought and sold and even given hormonal injections in order to make them look older than their age. In some cases they were injected with drugs meant for animals.
One of the rape survivors told NDTV, "I used to cry a lot. I stopped eating what they served me so then they would give me medicine that would make me faint. I don't know the name of the medicine."
"I used to look like a kid and because of that they gave me hormonal injections. I was a skinny 13 year old and to match up to the demands of the clients they made me look older by giving me injections," recounted another young rape survivor.
One survivor from Amravati revealed she was sold her own family members when she just 10 and blamed the police too for her ordeal. She says she would have been rescued earlier if it had not been for the criminal neglect of the police that she faced.
With the petition garnering tremendous support online there is a support system building up for them in reality too. NGOs, former judges and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences are among those who've stepped in.
But till there is action against the perpetrators of the crime, the advocacy will continue, says Shaina NC, who's leading the campaign. The organizations that rescued these young girls say that until and unless their customers are held guilty, child prostitution will continue to flourish.
"We demand that the clients of these girls not be treated as customers but non-bailable warrants be issued against them. I hope mothers and daughters sign up for this campaign," Shaina NC told NDTV.
The petition will be delivered to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis immediately after the current winter session of Assembly. The petition also requests him to direct the state police and Anti-Human Trafficking Units (AHTUs) to arrest the child predators.
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