Victims rescued from forced labour played an active role during its entire stretch
Sponsored by Bachpan Bachao Andolan, it covered West Bengal, Bihar, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh1.2 million children become victims every year and most of them are girls, says UNDP official
NEW DELHI: The South Asian March Against Child Trafficking, which began from the India-Bangladesh and Indo-Nepal borders and covered States such as West Bengal, Bihar, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, culminated in a rally at Jantar Mantar here on Thursday.
The march, organised by the Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) and supported by the Global March Against Child Labour, United Nations agencies and several non-government organisations, saw victims of child trafficking rescued from forced labour playing an active role during its entire stretch.
Speaking at the culmination ceremony, Union Minister for Labour and Employment Oscar Fernandes said there was no dearth of laws against child labour but the Government now wanted to stress more on implementation.
Earlier, a core team of around 100 rescued children, forming part of the march, was joined by several others at Jantar Mantar.
Recounting her days in slavery, 12-year-old Devli one of the leaders of the march said beatings were a regular occurrence at the stone quarry in Rajasthan where she and her family worked.
In a message read out at the function, a representative of the United Nations Development Project said an estimated 1.2 million children became victims of child trafficking and slavery every year and most of them were girls.
According to the BBA, traffickers lure parents with promises of better future and education for their children along with a chance to earn some extra money. They also pay some money to them and gain their confidence. Once the child is in the custody of the trafficker, he or she is sold to employers looking for cheap and bonded labour. They are sold for as less as Rs. 2,000 or Rs. 5,000.
These children were usually employed at brick kilns, stone quarries, carpet-making units, hotels and restaurants, said a BBA office-bearer.
He added that while the common understanding was that children were trafficked only for commercial sexual exploitation, that comprised only 20 per cent of the children trafficked. The remaining were hired as labourers and forced to work for long hours without even the basic amenities.