Trafficking in Bihar is rampant despite the number of schemes and laws to curb the heinous crime.
The economic crisis at home is one of the many reasons for child trafficking. People fall prey to tempting offers and urban lifestyles in cities. Children and women are the most vulnerable to exploitation in trafficking zone. Raghu*, a 16-year-old, from Gaya, Bihar was sent to Hyderabad to work in a bangle factory four years ago, but he was later rescued by the police in a raid to stop child labour.
“The contractor said he could work there, so I sent him. He was promised Rs. 2000”, said Raghu’s father.
The Child labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 2016, prohibits the employment of children under 14 and employment of adolescents (16 to 18) in hazardous conditions. Annual revenues for child trafficking and forced labor total an estimated $39 billion globally. Child trafficking is extremely lucrative, and the demand for children both for sex and labor is incredibly high.
As per the latest data provided by the National Crime Bureau (NCRB), in India 63,407 children up to 18 years went missing during 2016. In Bihar alone every year 2000 children. Most of the trafficking begins due to the abysmal economic conditions of the victim’s family. Children are trafficked by relatives, neighbours, friends who are settled in semi-urban sites. Traffickers take advantage of the child’s deprived condition and lure them with promising jobs, and regular income. Unfortunately, the reality is very different. The most common jobs flagged are domestic help, brick kilns, bangles factory, and mining.
Although, sometimes, the consent of the family is taken before their children are migrated, they let their children go in return is to get financial assistance. They believe that their children will get a better future and surroundings. In Raghu’s case, his father sent him to work in a factory, thinking that his son will be an added earning member. Raghu was paid only Rs. 40 for food, and Rs. 500 for three months.
Vulnerable families and children who are fending for themselves, become victims of traffickers. They are treated like slaves and exposed to severe exploitation. Laws that are often not enforced, encourage traffickers to run through risks and continue trading.
In Bihar, as per the rehabilitation program for trafficking victims, they are eligible for Rs.25,000. But Raghu’s family still hasn't got any financial support from the government - while keeping them exposed to the risk of being trafficked again.
*Name changed to maintain privacy.
Video by Community Correspondent Amit Kumar
Article by Grace Jolliffe, a Member of VV Editorial Team.