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Indian children to march against child labour and trafficking

Dec 06, 2012

Bachpan Bachao Andolan in partnership with Global March Against Child Labour, has launched a month long campaign against child labour and trafficking in India’s northeastern state of Assam.

New Delhi: The first leg of this campaign is a March Against Child Labour and Trafficking of Women and Children that will be flagged off by Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, Mr. Justice Altamas Kabir, and Hon'ble Justice D.K. Jain, Exec. Chairman, National Legal Services Authority, from Gauhati on 08th December 2012.

This March shall culminate in Dhubri on 11th December 2012 after traversing over 300 kilometers. This physical march is being held in association with State Legal Services Authorities of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh under the aegis of Hon’ble Gauhati High Court, Government of Assam and National Legal Aid Services Authority (NALSA).

This is the first ever campaign in India where the Apex Judiciary will share the dais with civil society on the subject of trafficking of children for forced labour that is not just of internal concern but has international relevance as well. India has emerged as a global hub of trafficking with the largest number of trafficking victims in the world. The U.S. Trafficking in Persons report 2012 particularly quotes, “the forced labour of millions of its citizens constitutes India’s largest trafficking problem; men, women, and children in debt bondage are forced to work in industries such as brick kilns, rice mills, agriculture, and embroidery factories”.

Children from North Eastern states particularly Assam are trafficked for forced labour in various parts of the country largely in the informal sector. Notably, Assam is one of the biggest source areas, transit route and destination for child trafficking. Children (especially girls) are trafficked to work as domestic child labourers and are subjected to physical, sexual exploitation and other forms gender based violence. A large number of children are trafficked from North East states esp. Assam and coerced to become modern day slaves at garment manufacturing units. These bonded child labourers and are made to work for 16-18 hours a day at very low or practically no wages under conditions that are subhuman. During the formative years of their lives these child labourers miss out on Education and languish in the vicious circle of poverty and illiteracy.

Expressing grave concern over trafficking of children for forced labour emanating from Assam, Mr. Kailash Satyarthi, Founder Bachpan Bachao Andolan and Chairperson Global March Against Child Labour said “It is most unfortunate that the painful combination of frequent natural calamities, surmounting insurgency by extremists, abject poverty, illiteracy & ignorance, weak law enforcement and adverse geographical structure of Assam make it a breeding ground for child traffickers to thrive”.

Satyarthi further stated that, “Raising awareness about child trafficking in the masses, effective inter-agency collaboration, sensitization & capacity enhancement of Anti Human Trafficking Units coupled up with rescue and rehabilitation of bonded child labourers who are more often than not victims of trafficking as well can help eliminating trafficking of children for forced labour”.

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