The volume of child trafficking in India has kept on increasing for decades. Children and young innocents are forced, tricked and persuaded to leave their homes, and later, they are transported to a location to be exploited by traffickers for their own benefit.
A report by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) suggests that one child in India disappears every eight minutes. In most cases, they are taken from their homes to be sold or bought to satisfy someone else's needs. In several instances, children are given the greed of job opportunities which will fetch them handsome money, and they become enslaved upon arrival at the location.
The NCRB report also highlights that children across the country are trafficked for several reasons, such as begging, labour, and sexual exploitation. Due to the poor implementation of laws and the critical nature of the crime, it becomes difficult to track the children who are in the grip of traffickers.
Child Trafficking - An Economic Crime
The traffickers are trained to execute the trafficking operations, even in challenging circumstances. They groom children, communities and families to gain trust. They might also give threats of violence to get hold of children forcefully. In most cases, traffickers promise the children and their parents a better life and future.
They ask for money from parents for transportation and their children's documents and assure them of the enormous profit their children will make in the future. Child trafficking is also an economic crime that a trafficker conducts to exploit children in several ways.
Trafficking In Mumbai Slums
The volume of child trafficking remains high across the country, especially in the slums of Mumbai, where children and their families are already living in harsh conditions. Mostly, the children and families living in the slums of Mumbai are from an economically deprived background, struggling to make ends meet due to a lack of resources and opportunities.
Those families have high hopes for their children, who can take them out of the slums. In such rays of expectation, many a time, they send their children out of the station to make money and live a better life. On the other hand, traffickers wait for such situations to easily traffick children.
Apart from exploitation as a labourer and beggars, the traffickers also exploit the slum children for commercial sex as subject to a transaction for child pornography and child prostitution. According to a Wikipedia report, the Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE) of women and children generates approximately 400 million US Dollars annually in Mumbai alone, especially in the slums.
Life-Long Impact On Children
The impact of verbal and physical exploitation on children is usually long-term that last for a lifetime. The United Kingdom (UK)-based children's charity organisation, NSPCC, suggests that young innocents who have been trafficked might not understand that what has happened to them is abuse, especially if they have been groomed or given greed for a better life in the future.
Sometimes, the children tend to believe that they are in a close relationship with the abuser and are unaware of the fact that the abuser is exploiting them. After a certain period, the children also think they played an internal role in the abuse and have broken the law. They are forced to develop a perception that if they complain against the abuser, they will also suffer.
Being kept in poor living conditions also affects the mental and physical health of the children. The impact of abuse and neglect might not become visible in a short period, but it can harm the child later. The separation from families, communities, and friends also hampers their cognitive capacities.
Several organisations and non-profit groups are working in India to reduce the rate of child trafficking. Everyone should take a step forward to contribute towards the cause as it will strengthen the hands of such organisations. A person can also save a child by complaining or reporting child trafficking instances that they have come across (emergency helpline number: 1098).
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