Children most vulnerable to labour, trafficking: NGO

New Delhi, Nov 23 (IANS) Children across India are most vulnerable to child labour and trafficking, an NGO report said on Wednesday.

“Child labour and trafficking have emerged as the key problems faced by a majority of vulnerable children across India in the state and regional consultations,” a report released by Plan India, a child development organisation, said.

“75 per cent reported missing and trafficked children is the third major concern. About 19 states across India reported the issue of child marriage as a major concern. All states in east and northeast India reported on issues of children affected by AIDS while all northeastern states reported the issue of substance abuse,” it added.

The report on the situation of vulnerable and excluded children from India comprising 28 states and four union territories was presented at a national conference on ‘Plan for every child’.

Representatives from the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD), the UN and civil society organisations participated in the discussions before the report was released.

The findings in the report were result of consultations held over three months with over 2,000 civil society organisations, including government departments working with children living in difficult circumstances.

The panellists suggested that children in difficult circumstances are those living on the streets and working, those affected by AIDS, victims of commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking, children of female sex workers and child labourers.

The panellists included members of Plan India and WCD Ministry Special Secretary Preeti Sudan, and National Commission for Protection of Child Rights Chirman Stuti Kacker.

Bhagyashri Dengle, Executive Director of Plan India, said, “Millions of children continue to be denied their basic rights and entitlements such as food, shelter, education, medical care, protection and security because of their circumstances.”

Yasmeen Muhamad Shariff, UN Working Group Member, also spoke at the event and said: “Special programmes and project interventions are needed for children who face multiple deprivation and vulnerabilities owing to their circumstances.”

In its recommendations, the NGO urged the government and civil societies to place more emphasis on training of all functionaries on basic child rights acts and schemes and their implementation for children in difficult circumstances.