New Delhi, Jul 30 (PTI) Child rights body CRY on Thursday warned against huge numbers of unsafe migrations and child trafficking in the post-lockdown period.
Drawing attention to the gravity of the situation, Priti Mahara, the director of policy research and advocacy at CRY-Child Rights and You, said NCRB 2018 data indicates that commercial sexual exploitation, forced labour and forced marriage account for a majority (almost 60 per cent) of the human trafficking.
'This single piece of information is enough to suggest how vulnerable our children had already been before the pandemic struck, and we are seriously concerned as to what extent it will affect them in the time to come, especially the children coming from the marginalised and economically vulnerable communities,' she said in a statement.
Documented experiences of previous disasters such the Ebola virus outbreak, floods and earthquakes suggest that there is multi-fold increase in vulnerabilities immediately after any large scale humanitarian crisis, often leading to cases of unsafe migrations, and this holds true for cases of trafficking as well, the statement said.
'There are massive livelihood issues resulting in increase of multi-dimensional poverty, escalated by the pandemic and back to back natural disasters like cyclones in West Bengal and Maharashtra, locust attacks in central India and floods in Assam and Bihar. Hence, the fear is, coming months will witness huge numbers of unsafe migrations and child trafficking,' it said.
According to the ground-level experiences gathered by CRY and its various partner organisations working on child protection issues, cases of trafficking and missing children were less prevalently reported during the lockdown months primarily due to suspension of transport, and movement of people.
However, since child protection services are yet to be considered as essential services, and with children having limited access to people of trust, helplines and so on, trafficking may eventually increase as the country enters the unlock phase, experts suggest.
Railways and road transport being the most commonly used medium of transit for trafficked children, the number of cases is likely to increase with resumption of services, the child rights body said in the statement. PTI UZM SMN SMN