Which one is more important-betterment of childrens' life or measures for safety and security of women from atrocity? Both are essential in India ! But in my opinion, childrens' cause is more important because they are 'helpless' than the atrocity on women, who are competent enough to tackle the situation of their own because of their empowerment in the society.
Much hue and cry is being raised over atrocity on women, particularly much-publicised rapes in New Delhi. And the union government has also shown prompt attention by promulgating an ordinance amending various criminal laws for stringent punishment to rapists on the line of Justice Verma Commission report. Almost all political parties have also shown concern over the incidents of rape in the country. And the union government is taking extra measures to enact a stringent law for the safety and security of women in the country. And the genuine causes of lakhs of helpless children are being ignored !
Sadly, the same union government is showing little concern over enacting a radical law to improve the sad plight of lakhs of children, who are being trafficked , kidnapped and forced into child labour and sexual exploitation in India.The Indian cabinet led by the prime minister Manmohan singh had last year decided to bring an effective law, which would make the employment of under-14s punishable by three years in jails. . The current law bans the employment of under-14s only hazardous occupations. The Centre had decided in August 2012 to enact a new law-Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition) Act following reports of huge scale of children being trafficked for unlawful labour. Over 40 children were rescued and 20 traffickers were arrested from a train. Apart from that, 38 children were also rescued in other raids in Punjab and north-west Delhi.
More over the government had also proposed to introduce the criminal law amendment bill to include a ban on child trafficking and trafficked for forced labour. The proposed law has provision for sentence between seven years and life imprisonment for those convicted. But as the understanding goes that there had been serious attempts to water down the enactment of law on children. Anti-trafficking activists are alarmed over some hidden move to weaken the proposed law.Bhuwan Rhibu from the Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) has said," it is very important for consumers in India and the west to speak -up.People need wise up and face the fact that many of the products they buy are made by child labour by children abducted from their homes and whose lives have been violated. It is important now for consumers to take action and demand change and and for the authorities to then enforce the law."
The Guardian and The Observer of Great Britain have elaborated in detail about child trafficking in India, citing evidences of the trafficking and kidnapping of hundreds of thousands of children in India. Children are used to manufacture goods which end up on western high streets and have urged consumers to demand changes in the laws on children. Over 90000 children go missing in India every year. They are most neglected lot in India. ( My two blog topics-CHILD LABOUR: A BIGGEST CURSE IN INDIA and 90000 CHILDREN GO MISSING IN INDIA EVERY YEAR , written on 25 September 2012 and November 30 2012- www.kksingh1.blogspot.com ).
During raids at different places in India, some children were found hidden in sack. The youngest was seven -year-old. All these rescued children told their rescuers they had been working up to 16 hours a day for Rs 20 only (25p a week) A joint investigation between The Observer and BBA found goods being made for western brands in other backstreet workshop. A BBA spokesman said the children were found to be employed in embroidery work in a condition of forced labour and slavery in 11 workshops trucked away among the narrow lanes of the Delhi colony.
According to Indian government figure; there are currently about five million children working in the country (down from nine million in 2005). But activists say that is gross underestimate and that the true figure is closer to 50 million.. Many of these children are trafficked by criminals gang. At least 100,000 children go missing from their homes in India every year-274 each day- and only 10 percent are registered as officially missing. The Indian government's own National Child Labour Project is reported to have rescued and rehabilitated 354,877 child labourers but mounted only 25006 prosecutions over the last three years. Other government records show that between 2008 and 2012 , a total of 452,679 child labour and trafficking cases were reported. But the records also show that out of those 25006 prosecutions, only 3,394 employers or traffickers were convicted.
Recently, Minna Kabir, the wife of the chief Justice o f the Supreme court, has written an open letter to the Hindstan Times , English daily in which she has said," Every society is responsible for the well being and care of the children up to the age of 18 years, especially if they are marginalised, helpless and powerless to do anything for themselves."