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40% kids saved by Childline in first six months this year were abuse victims

TIMES OF INDIA

GURGAON: More than 40% of the cases in which Childline (1098) intervened during the first six months in 2012 in Gurgaon were related to child abuse. Among them, the sexual abuse cases of kids at Drone Foundation and Suparaana ka Aangan were the most infamous ones. Childline intervened in as many as 154 cases in the city, out of which 65 cases were reported under the category of “rescue from abuse”, which may be physical, sexual or mental. This is followed by cases where children were provided shelter (39 cases). Subir Roy, director, programmes and projects, said, “These cases are interrelated and rescued children from households are provided with shelter.”

However, Childline officials claimed that working in Haryana was an uphill task. Be it getting the medical tests of victims done or getting the accused arrested, things are difficult in the state. “Even though police have now started filing FIRs in child-related cases more often, there is still need for more awareness and sensitivity among cops, said Rishi Kant, spokesperson of NGO Shakti Vahini, which runs Childline in Gurgaon.

A case in point is the rescue of a minor girl from the house of a Sector 4-based doctor couple in August. The victim is a native of Gumla distrcit of Jharkhand. During counselling, the girl stated she was tortured by the doctor couple and was not being given proper food. An FIR was registered under the relevant section of the Juvenile Justice Act as well, but the culprits are still at large, said Kant.

Notably, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) had to summon senior bureaucrats from the Haryana government over rising sexual abuse cases in the state in May. The NCPCR had suggested interim as well as long-term measures to the Haryana government. The recommendations include preparation of the Social Investigation Report (SIR) of each rescued child and their schooling, among other things.

The NCPCR also recommended mapping of all the childcare institutions in the districts. Kant said that child trafficking cases reported from the city were on the rise where minor victims were forced to work as domestic helps, labourers or sex workers and sometimes even forced into marriage. Kant blamed female foeticide and atrocities among women as the main causes for such a trend.

Traffickers have reached the farthest of villages in Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha and Assam and even Nepal to lure parents to part with their minor girls in exchange for good monthly income. However, once brought to the cities, they are made to work for long hours, are never paid and in many cases are sexually abused as well. Illegal placement agencies are rampant in Gurgaon and they need to be curbed.

Missing cases follow those of trafficking. Shakti Vahini has recently written to the Haryana DGP to ensure that FIRs are promptly registered in such cases. Over 35 cases of missing children were repored where Childline intervened.

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