NEW DELHI

‘Haryana Police shows zero tolerance towards human trafficking’

Haryana State Commission for Protection of Child Rights member Balkrishan Goel, who was recently given an award by Consulate General of the United States in India for his contribution in the field of child rights protection, spoke to The Hindu on the increasing cases of crime against the juveniles, including rape in the State and the efforts being made by the commission to tackle it.

Haryana has been one of the destination States for minor girls trafficked from Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal for marriages and household work. A human trafficking racket was recently busted in Faridabad. What efforts have been made by the Haryana State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (HSCPCR) to curb this menace?

The commission has taken a strict view of the large-scale trafficking of juveniles towards north India including parts of Haryana. The district Child Welfare Committees (CWCs), District Child Protection Units and the police have been directed to carry out special drives across the State to identify the juveniles working as domestic helps and rescue them. A placement agencies racket is on the radar and we are not going to spare even a single trafficker in the State. The Faridabad police is pioneer in establishing Anti-Human Trafficking Police Station in India. The statistics prove that the Haryana Police are now following zero tolerance policy towards human trafficking in the State. In 2016, we registered only 30-odd cases and only 48 in 2017. In 2018, however, more than 20 cases have been registered in the first three months itself.

The instances of rape and molestation of minor girls are also on the rise in Haryana. What has been done by the commission in this regard?

The HSCPCR has been encouraging people to report the cases and providing every kind of support to the victims of sexual abuse. We extend all possible medical, police, legal and psychological help to the victims. The campaigns against sexual violence by non-government and other organisations are supported by the commission.

The police officers are found to lack sensitivity and knowledge of law to deal with criminal cases involving minor victims. What efforts have been made by the c commission in this direction ?

The commission is sensitising the police force time and again, especially the child welfare officers who are posted in every police station of the State. It is one of our top priorities. We are preparing an informative text in a simple language to circulate in the police force in order to ensure strict implementation of all the laws related to the children.

The CWCs in Haryana have also failed to assert their authority due to lack of knowledge about their power s and inadequate infrastructure. Your comments.

I would disagree. The people serving as CWC officials are the best human rights activists and professionals with deep roots in the field of child rights. Undoubtedly, issues such as poor infrastructure, poor record maintenance, and callous attitude of the members have been there, but things are improving. It might take time, but the State government is working in the best interest of the children to ensure justice to the victims of any kind of violence. We are working in the direction to liberate CWCs from ad hocism and keep their independence intact.

What efforts have been made by the commission to ensure safety of children in schools in the wake of the murder of a child in a private school in Bhondsi last year?

The State government had sent across an extensive circular on ‘Safety of School Children’ inside the school premises. The schools have been asked to maintain a complete record of entry and exit. The police verification is mandatory for every staff and should be repeated every year. The school authorities are directed to install CCTV cameras in every nook and corner.

The re are instances where Child Care Homes have been found running without proper monitoring in Haryana. In the case of Apna Ghar in Rohtak children were sexually abused for years. A Home in Gurugram is also under the scanner for alleged violation of adoption laws and suspected human trafficking. Your comments.

The proper monitoring of all the 68 Homes in the State is being done on a regular basis. Any one violating rules and laws will be dealt with strictly and the same has been directed to the other departments of the State as well. The children in the Homes are asked to report any crime against them to the officials. CCTV cameras are being installed in the Homes.

The district Child Welfare Committees, District Child Protection Units and the police have been directed to carry out special drives across the State [Haryana] to identify the juveniles working as domestic helps and rescue them

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