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  • Writer's pictureChild Rights Centre, CNLU

The Conundrum of Child Trafficking: Is Bihar a Hotspot?

By Arya Harsh, a 4th year, B.A., LL.B. (Hons.) student at School of Law, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun

 
The true character of a society is revealed in how it treats its children

- Sir. Nelson Mandela.


This pandemic witnessed the highest number of labourers losing their jobs, which could also be remembered as an era of unemployment. Nevertheless, the discrepancy in the legislation vis-à-vis child trafficking, especially in the time of #COVID, has led these people in business to grow more and more each day. Taking the benefits of unemployed parents, these unhuman people in the game has developed their strategies well enough to earn a lot of money. The majority of unemployed labourers who left their factories at the time of the announcement of the Nationwide lockdown are still unemployed, which has created great stumbling blocks for them. As a bread earner, it has also led them to undergo depression and anxiety, which is also the most significant reason behind the augmentation of child trafficking day by day. The repercussion of child trafficking can directly have a mass effect on the nation as a whole, as a child is believed to be the future maker of every country. This mass appealing business of child trafficking for criminals has become a very easy source of money. People involved in the game of child trafficking are operating nationwide, which makes it even more complex and not easy to remove it from the roots. Nation has a weak state border law, and there is an essence of negligence on the part of the Government, which leads these child traffickers to play their game very quickly and are untraceable. The vigilance of the field, local and state-level, needs to be unbeatable and efficient enough if we want to stop this criminal game. These traffickers are well acquainted with the police movements as they have their connections in the local department, which is the major reason for them not getting arrested. In a statistical study, it was believed that more than 400 districts in India are the playgrounds of these child traffickers.


Trafficking in persons leads to separation of families, eroding of social bonds, support networks, and undermining the economic prosperity of communities. Trafficking is the game changer when we talk about, exploitation of human rights. Trafficking involves the illegal use of the human body for commercial purposes. These child trafficking cartels operate nationally as well as internationally. All the "easy to access" borders like Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan are used by the Indian child traffickers to carry out their game on an international level as well. According to the International Labour Organization, the game of trafficking is worth 150 billion USD, which mostly includes the trafficking of children, as children are easy to dominate and have a higher price in the market.


Epexegesis of Laws Punishing for Trafficking of Human

Various laws have harsh punishments for the offence of trafficking, some of which are as follows:

  • The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956: This is the prime legislation governing the immoral practice of human trafficking.

  • Article 23(1) of the Indian Constitution: Trafficking of beggars, human beings and different categories of forced labour are strictly interdicted and is engraved in Article 23(1) of the Indian Constitution, which is commonly believed to be the "Grundnorm” of India[1].

  • Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act,2012: This legislation is a set of special laws to protect children vis-à-vis exploitation and sexual abuse. It has different aspects of sexual assault engraved within its root, which provide a more detailed essence for the offences.[2].

  • Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006: The main objective of this legislation is to adjudicate, solemnisation of child marriage and matters relating to child marriage[3].

  • Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act,1976: This act was enacted to prevent the bonded labour system. Preventing physical and Economic exploitation of the weaker section of the society is also one of the aspects this act deals with.

  • Child Labour (Regulation and Prevention) Act,1986: The name itself is self-sufficient to explain the main objective behind enacting this act. This act regulates and prevents different forms of child labour practices.[4].

  • Transplantation of Human Organ Act,1976: Trafficking of a human being is done with a Mens Rea of smuggling of the human organs, as it has a very high price in the underworld market as well as it has very high demands. This legislation was enacted in respect of preventing such illegal smuggling of Human organs.[5]. ‘

Some provisions Under the Indian Penal Code,1860: Section 373,372,370 and 370A are the provisions that penalise an act of trafficking for various purposes.[6].


The Situation in Bihar

Bihar has witnessed a very disheartening and anonymous number of trafficking children in light of poverty and as an impact of Covid 19. An anonymous number of children were trafficked with the consent of their parents. According to data from Child Welfare Organization, around 250 helpless and innocent children were rescued from the trafficking game in the state of Bihar. According to National Crime Record Bureau, around 294 children [D1] who were minors and belonged to the state of Bihar were rescued all over the country. A 15-Year-Old child, Birendra Kumar from Morangpur, Gaya, was rescued from the bangle factory of Jaipur. He said he went to Jaipur through a broker. The broker paid his father two thousand rupees and sent him off immediately. He also added that he lived with fifteen other children in a room at the bangle factory. The brokers, or so-called "Dallas", offer a price ranging between Rs.2,500 to Rs.3,000 to the parents in the name of giving work to their children in other states across the country. Nevertheless, the children end up being trafficked by these "animals” in the game.


In a joint operation conducted by the Government Railway Police, Railway Protection Force, and Women Development and Child Welfare Department, 15 children were rescued at Vijayawada. It was said that all 15 children were natives of Bihar. They were about to be trafficked to Karnataka. The District Child Protection Officer said they have arrested four men involved in this case and are searching for the brokers involved.


These are some of the recent cases which involved the trafficking of children from Bihar to other states of the nation. We need to understand that this game should come to an end, or it will have an adverse effect on society. People believe that Bihar is an undeveloped state and lacks money, but guess what many of the major players of the game of trafficking are playing in billions and millions by exploiting the situation of the unemployed parents. To put this big game to an end, more powers should be granted to the local authorities. The local police, local NGOs working in the field of child development, and all the local departments dealing with child protection shall be conferred with great power to finish this game from the root itself. Moreover, the state government should employ all workers who are unable to earn bread for their families in this pandemic.


Conclusion

In order to make the future of the nation bright, it is crucial to realise the part played by the youth or the children in the Nation-building. Despite having strict laws, children are being exploited. Not only in Bihar, but this game has become big enough and is going nationwide too. Exploitation is not a newly introduced concept; it was introduced a long time ago and had been going on since then. However, we need to realise, the growth of this game has rapidly increased and deepened in the time of the pandemic. As the parents are helpless and unemployed, these guys are using this situation well enough to play this game more efficiently and effortlessly. These guys have to pay few bucks, and the job is done. Bihar has definitely become the hotspot for the child trafficking game.


Different organisations, as well as departments related to child welfare, have done a very good job so far. However, they are needed to be more cautious as this game has reached a whole new level in this time of Covid. No one has the ability to foresee the future of these children but guess what, all the national leaders were children someday. Even you were a child, a long time ago.


Think, Analyse and Act.


References

[1] INDIAN CONST. art 23, cl. 1. [2] Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act,2012. [3] Prohibition of Child Marriage Act,2006. [4] Child Labour (Regulation and Prevention) Act, 1986. [5] Transplantation of Human Organ Act,1976. [6] The Indian Penal Code, 1860.

[D1]Cite the source

 

(Disclaimer- The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Child Rights Centre.)

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1 Comment


Matt Damon
Matt Damon
Sep 13, 2022

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