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Exploitation of children on the rise in State

Anand Haridas
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Police to initiate action against unauthorised orphanages

Shocking revelations of rampant exploitation of children across the State have emerged out of a concerted drive by the State Police in association with various social welfare departments. During the last three days of the intensive drive, 18 children, including five tribal girls, were rescued. An Assamese girl was rescued from Kasaragod district and three Oriya girls from Taliparamba in Kannur district on Monday.

“The exploitation is rampant, and using children as domestic servants is just the tip of the iceberg. Many children are employed in hazardous and exploitative situations. Of the five tribal children rescued, two are pregnant and three have already delivered babies,” S. Sreejith, Deputy Inspector General of Police and State nodal officer of Anti-Human Trafficking Cell, told The Hindu.

The State Police have now prepared an interactive platform with Social Welfare Board, Childline, Juvenile Justice Board, Child Welfare Board and Orphanage Control Board, with partial participation from the Department of Education.

“One of the major hindrances in initiating action against child trafficking was that the State Police had no facility for rehabilitation and proper settlement of children rescued. With all these agencies coming on board, this has been addressed. Our association will give penal powers to the work being done by these agencies,” said Mr. Sreejith.

The State Police are also planning to initiate action against unauthorised orphanages as part of the drive. “It has been learnt that there are 1,674 registered orphanages have only 50 per cent occupancy. We are now planning to issue notice to unauthorised orphanages to either register or close down,” said Mr. Sreejith. Meanwhile, the City Police have started following up on the case registered for employing minor girls as domestic servants in a residential apartment here.

The Kadavanthra police had rescued six girls from Silver Crest apartments in Jawahar Nagar on Monday, three of whom were from Tamil Nadu, two from Andhra Pradesh and one from Fort Kochi. “Steps are on to verify the age of the girls rescued and their parents have been asked to report with relevant documents. Already four cases have been registered in this connection,” said M. R. Ajith Kumar, City Police Commissioner.

“We will also spread awareness about child labour through Janamaitri police stations. The community policing network can also be used for collecting information about children being employed for hard labour or as domestic servants,” Mr. Ajith Kumar said.

The control room launched by the State Anti-Human Trafficking Cell (phone number 0471-2462242) three days ago has already started getting calls. District units of this cell have also become functional. Sensitising of police officials about handling child trafficking cases are also on as part of the drive, said Mr. Sreejith.

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