“Children are like buds in a garden and should be carefully and lovingly nurtured, as they are the future of the nation and the citizens of tomorrow,”
Children are considered as our legacy of the future because the nation depends on the future of children those will be adult in the future. But what if the future of nation i.e children are subject to abuse and are deprived of their basic rights.
So to prevent the rights of children from being violated united nation adopted a convention on the rights of the child. which was ratified by India on 11 December 1989. Article 1 of the convention defines the child as – a child means every human being below the age of 18 years unless, under the law applicable to the child, the majority is attained earlier. Children in India represent 39% of the country’s total population. Even today children in India are deprived of their rights.
Violations to the Rights of Children
According to the National Crime Bureau data, 1 child every 8 minutes disappear. Child trafficking is very apparent in India and this is due to poor socio-economic conditions of the parents which lures them into either sending or selling their child for better livelihood. It either happens for sex trade and child labor. More than 69% of children are victims of abuse – says a study conducted by the Govt. in 2007.
Child abuse can be regarded as emotional, physical, sexual abuse. In most of the cases abuse if often practiced by someone known and close to the child including parents, caretakers, teachers, employers, family friends, and relatives.one of the important area where children suffer sexual abuse especially girls is an area of education and it becomes important to note that the institution which is supposed to protect the child and people those are supposed to be most trusted one in the life of a child are the worst exploiters.
According to the ministry of labor 60 million children work in India. children are engaged in hazardous activities such as mining, inflammable substance and explosives related work. In the age where their life should be filled with colors, they live in darkness while shouldering the responsibility of their families. Not only these children are deprived of the basic rights they have to bear with the inhuman and unjust treatment. They have to work for 15 hours a day that too at a very low wage.
Laws and Policies
It’s been more than 30 years after the parliament passed article 24 which protects the children below 14 years of age from child labor, the practice continues in India.
To provide education to children which is also their basic right, the parliament passed article 21A which makes it mandatory for the state to provide free and compulsory education to all the children off age six to 14 years by amending article 21. Article 45 also provides children with the right to early childhood care and education to all until they complete the age of 6 years.
For the protection of children from sexual abuse, sexual harassment, pornography the Govt. of India passed protection of children against sexual exploitation (POSCO) Act, 2012. Article 23 provides children with the right to being protected from trafficking and bonded labor. The Trafficking of Persons (Prevent, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, was drafted which criminalizes and enhances the penalties for an aggravated form of trafficking. Article 39(e) protects children from being abused and forced by economic necessity to enter occupations unsuited to their age or strength and article 39 (f) provides children with equal opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity and guaranteed protection of childhood and youth against exploitation and moral and material abandonment.
Despite all these efforts and laws rights of children in India are still violated. A major reason behind all these violations against children is poverty. The reason that children are still engaged in hazardous activities is that they are considered as cheap and flexible labour.
Poverty and lack of nutrition forces children to turn towards child labour and to sexual exploitation, where they are physically, mentally and economically abused. Apart from children, those belong to economically backward families, the most violated are the ones who are orphans or abandoned because they are easy prey to all kinds of violence. The fact that even after the facility of free and compulsory education by the Govt., children are unable to get an education is because of unawareness and illiteracy of parents who don’t know about the value of education. Because of their illiteracy, they believe that ‘more the children work, more they earn’. So parents believe that there is no need to educate children.
Other than poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, alcohol abuse, drug consummation are the factors which make children prone to violence. Many times a child victim may feel guilty or ashamed of violence done to him and making him believe that it was done because he deserved that and that leads to the violence go unreported.
All these violence not only affects a child physically but mentally as well. Early age exposure to violence can damage the brain and impair brain development. It may as well as damage circulatory, musculoskeletal, reproductive, respiratory, and immune systems causing lifelong consequences. Children exposed to violence are more likely to be exposed to bad activities such as smoking, alcohol, and drug consumption. Sexual abuse may Lead to unintended pregnancies, induced abortions, gynecological problems, and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV and the children abused by their closed ones may start to space out and disassociate themselves.
Measures To Be Taken
Every child deserves to experience life in its fulfillment. Children are only able to flourish if they are given a safe environment in their homes and communities. Child victims of violence and abuse often suffer mentally because of traumatic experiences. To prevent further damage counseling and rehabilitation should be done. Financial aid should be given to children for their education. More campaigns and programs should be conducted in schools, orphanages to make children aware of what is right, what is wrong, what is good touch or bad touch, why its not their fault if someone violates them. Parents should be made aware as well that it’s their responsibility to make their child trust in them so that the child can share each experience with them without being ashamed of anything. Illiterate parents should be made aware that how much education is important for their child and how it can enhance their skills and aid them in their earnings. Govt. should collaborate with NGOs for better implementation of the laws and policies.
 Wio News, available here
 Save the Children, available here
 Humanium, available here
 Shodhganga, available here
 WHO, available here
 Wikipedia, available here
 Wikipedia, available here