Monday, March 12, 2012

Battered childhood

Sopan Correspondent

Human trafficking is the third largest profitable industry. Children are trafficked for prostitution, organ harvesting

Afew years ago, five-year-old Nandlal (name changed), a native of Manipur, was brought to a religious institution in Karnataka. His parents were promised that Nandlal would be given good education. His poor parents hoped that his son would get good education.
A few years after when he came back to his native village, he could not converse with his parents as he had already forgotten his mother tongue. Instead he was talking in Kannada - which the parents could not understand. So a video conferencing facility was to be organized to facilitate their interaction.
Shon, a resident of Nagaland, was admitted in an orphanage In Tamil Nadu. The orphanage had a branch in Kerala also. The institution thrived on foreign funds and the people who run the establishment used the same set of children to rake in foreign donations. For this children were transported back and forth overnight and photos are taken. Then these are sent to donors.
This is the new trend in child trafficking. Now children are being trafficked for religious institutions. With the promise of better education and lifestyle, the children are being snatched away from their parents and sent to hostile situations.
According to experts, human trafficking is the third largest profitable industry in the world. Child trafficking unlike many other issues is found in both developed and developing nations. Trafficked children are used for prostitution, forced into marriage, illegally adopted, used as cheap or unpaid labour, used for sport and organ harvesting. A few years before, a major 'begging mafia' which used to operate out of Ghaziabad near New Delhi was unearthed. The operators used to kidnap children and ampute their limbs and used for begging. More shocking was the involvement of a doctor whose name was on the list of persons who were to be honoured with a prestigious award.
The ethnic fight in Sri Lanka had shown how children were used to fight battle. It has been found that Maoist groups also recruit teenage boys and girls. There were reports that they were even sexually assaulted.
Trafficking exposes children to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. The latest figures estimate that 1.2 million children are trafficked worldwide every year. Child prostitution has the highest supply of trafficked children.
Every year thousands of children are being trafficked from other countries, including Nepal and Bangladesh for flesh trade in India. Apart from that many children are being trafficked from poor states of India to metros for commercial sexual exploitation. Every now and then, one can see reports of rescue of minor children out of infamous red light areas of Delhi and elsewhere. Children are trafficked to Middle Eastern countries for sport such as camel racing. There are no national or regional estimates for the number of children trafficked every year. But 40% of prostitutes are children, and there is a growing demand for young girls in the industry.

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