Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh are the top three states with the maximum number of children trafficked between 2016 and 2022, while national capital Delhi has seen an alarming 68 per cent rise from pre to post Covid times. These startling facts on child trafficking were revealed in a report released jointly by Games24x7 and Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation (KSCF), founded by Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi.
The report further said that while Jaipur city emerged as the hotspot of child trafficking in the country, the other four top slots of the top ten districts were found to be in the national capital. The report, titled ‘Child Trafficking in India: Insights from Situational Data Analysis and the Need for Tech-driven Intervention Strategies’, has been released marking the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on July 30. Throwing further light on the plight of child labourers in the country, the report revealed that while the maximum of children between 13 and 18 years were engaged by most of the industries, cosmetic industry was found to even engage children under the age group of 5 and 8 years.
Among the many startling findings, the report further reveals that while 80 per cent of the children rescued were adolescents in the age group 13 to 18 years, 13 per cent of the children were in the age group of 9 to 12 years and over 5 per cent were younger than 9 years.
The data collected by the Games24x7’s data science team is based on KSCF and its partners’ intervention in child trafficking cases across 262 districts in 21 states in India between 2016 and 2022. With the interventions of KSCF and its partners, a total of 13,549 children under the age of 18 were rescued between 2016 and 2022.
Moreover, the report unveiled the plight of child labourers in the country, highlighting their engagement in multiple industries. According to the report, the industries that employ the maximum number of child labours are hotels and dhabas (15.6%), followed by Mom & Pop automobile or transport industry (13%), garments and retail shops (11.18%). The majority of children (80%) across all the industries were found to be in the age group of 13 to 18 years.
On the rising number of child trafficking cases in the country, Rear Admiral Rahul Kumar Shrawat, AVSM (Retd.), Managing Director, KSCF, said,“Even as the numbers look grim and worrisome, there is no denying the fact that the way India has dealt with the child trafficking issue in the past decade has given much teeth and momentum to the cause. Prompt and frequent intervention by Central as well as state governments and law enforcement agencies like the Railways Protection Force, Border Security Force, etc in nabbing the traffickers and spreading awareness about trafficking has curtailed the number of trafficked children as well as led to a visible rise in the number of cases reported. However, this needs to be supported by a stringent and comprehensive anti-trafficking law so it is our demand that the Anti-Trafficking Bill be passed in this session of the Parliament itself. Our children are in danger and we have no time to lose.”
Emphasising that there is an urgent need to integrate tech-based interventions, Trivikraman Thampy, Co-founder and Co-CEO, Games24x7, said, “Earlier this year, we made a commitment to expand our alliance with KSCF beyond financial assistance and to leverage Games24x7’s unique position as a technology leader with capabilities in data science and analytics to create lasting solutions for child upliftment. In alignment with this commitment, the comprehensive report presented here aims to empower our authorities and law enforcement agencies with the essential tools to develop targeted initiatives addressing child trafficking. This report not only sets the stage for future collaborations but also envisions a world where technology serves a higher purpose – the promise of a brighter future for every child, ultimately creating a safer tomorrow.”
The report highlights a significant surge in child trafficking across various states, with Uttar Pradesh witnessing a startling increase in cases. From 267 reported incidents in the pre-Covid phase (2016-2019), the number rose to 1214 in the post-Covid phase (2021-2022). Additionally, Karnataka showed an 18-fold increase from pre to post-pandemic figures, with reported incidents soaring from 6 to 110.
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