Girl Child Trafficking


UNICEF defines child trafficking as “any person under 18 who is recruited, transported, transferred, harboured or received for the purpose of exploitation, either within or outside a country”. Although child trafficking is done for other purposes also (like for bonded labour and kidney transplantation suppliers) the major reason for girl child trafficking is prostitution along with child pornography. It is a worldwide phenomenon but underdeveloped countries in South and South East Asia accounts for the majority of number. The number of trafficked girl children is more than 10 million worldwide and 1.2 million in India only. Children account for the 40% of people engaged in prostitution in India. According to the recent report of United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) ‘Anti Human Trafficking, 2013’only 6000 could be traced among 19,000 women and children missing in West Bengal alone in 2011. A study conducted by the National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC) in 2005 showed that there is alarming rise in child trafficking in India particularly in poverty stricken areas like UP, MP, Rajasthan Bihar, Orissa and West Bengal.

There is also a large number of girl children trafficked from neighbouring countries like Nepal and Bangladesh. Girls aged 10-12 are preferred because they are easy to mould for these purposes.These children live a violent life of prostitution which is traumatic both physically and psychologically. The prostituted children bear the pain of "vaginal tearing, physical after-effects of torture, pain, infection, or unwanted pregnancy". As precautions are seldom taken they run high risk of contracting HIV and sexually transmitted disease like syphilis and herpes. High level of tuberculosis is also rampant among them. These illnesses lead to death most of the times. They are also victims of psychological trauma like depression and post traumatic stress disorder (PSTD) and other disorders like anger, insomnia, lack of faith for adults, sexual and personality confusion. They are also victims of drug related problems like hepatitis B and C, other liver and kidney troubles, dental problems, physical and neurological problems from violent physical attacks, respiratory and general health problems.

Rescue and Relief Foundation has undertaken a mission to mitigate the condition of these unfortunate girl children through its partner projects. At present it is involved in following projects to fight against girl trafficking

1. It aids a home located in Narendrapur, Kolkata which shelters more than 150 girl children victims aged between 0 to18. It gives refuge to a) girl children rescued from prostitution b) girl children of women involved in prostitution. It is a transit home for these girls in the process of reintegration with the mainstream of society and provided with jobs through different channels. The home is much more than just a shelter where basic amenities like accommodation, food, clothing and basic education are provided. It facilitates inter related multi disciplinary psychological, social and economic avenues for the children to go back to the main stream of society. The programmes include mental therapy, vocational training, dance therapy as well as legal help

2. Crisis Centre for children is a shelter for children of women involved in sex work. In this centre 9 children (5 girls and 4 boys) of ages starting from 4 months to 12-13 years are given shelter between 4 pm and 9 am in the morning when their mothers are engaged in their profession. There are two separate rooms for boys and girls. Here there is facility for these children for study as well as there is play room so that they can sleep, get education and have fun during their stay.

3. Drop-in- centres in Khiddirpur, Kolkata adjacent to crisis center is a place where 65 children of both sex workers and other slum dwellers nearby are given assistance for education so that they remain out of the vice and lead a normal healthy life in future. All the children are sent to formal schooling. In the evening coaching and tuition provided to these children. Also in the ICDS (Ministry of Women and Child Development) programmes like polio vaccination etc. are carried on in the morning. These also function as child protection units monitoring against trafficking. The monitoring is done by systematic review of child’s attendance, attentiveness, participation and performance in the formal school they are enrolled in to because any problem in their life is easily recognizable through these pointers.

There is a Youth Group associated with the drop in centre of youths aged between 18-25 years who have grown into youth through this centre. This group introduces new children of sex workers and also neighbouring slum dwellers to the drop-in- centre so that the children are protected from second generation prostitution and get a proper education and healthy life. Some of the youths of this group have joined NGOs and established themselves and set examples for other children.]



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