If child labour is the destination, child trafficking is the means to reach the destination. Manifesting in the form of domestic labour, forced labour across industries, illegal activities such as begging, organ trade and more heinous crimes, child trafficking has gripped thousands of children in India. As per the National Crime Records Bureau data 2021, eight children were trafficked every day in the country. Numerous factors contribute to these frightening statistics, and numerous issues await resolution. As readers and members of a society plagued with child trafficking, however, awareness remains our biggest strength.

Adding to our awareness is the July edition of #What’sInAHeadline—a series of headlines that chronicle the spread of child trafficking in India and the steps taken to curb it.

1. Indian Government to Build Infrastructure to Around Borders to Combat Child Trafficking

India is reckoned as both a source and destination country for human trafficking, with women and minors from neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, and Myanmar being trafficked to India. Lured by false promises of a better life, thousands of women and minors are made to enrol in commercial sex work, domestic labour, bonded labour and a multitude of such crimes.

Acknowledging the dire need for heightened protection around India’s borders, the Women and Child Development Ministry announced that it will build infrastructure to combat child trafficking in the border areas and provide protection and rehabilitation to victims. These homes aim to provide shelter, food, clothing, counselling, primary health facilities, and other daily requirements to rescued individuals. Furthermore, the authorities will also collaborate with non-governmental organizations to present minors before the Child Welfare Committee and care for the child as prescribed by law.

2. Railway Protection Force Rescues 59 Children aboard Bihar-Pune Train

During a mission on the Danapur-Pune Special Express, Railway Protection Force (RPF) of the Central Railway and the Maharashtra police rescued 59 children after receiving a tip off. The first batch of 29 children was rescued at Bhusawal station, while the latter batch of 30 children was rescued at Manmad station.

Carried out under Operation AAHT, the exercise saw the collaboration of the RPF, the local police and members of an NGO. All the children rescued hailed from different districts of Bihar and were on their way to being sent to Sangli for varied kinds of works.

3. Kailash Satyarthi Points at Increasing Numbers in Child Trafficking, Even 2 Years Post-Pandemic

During his visit to Salem, Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi elaborated on the rising numbers of child marriage and child trafficking across India. “In June, my organization rescued more than 2,200 children,” he said pointing at the ever-growing numbers since the pandemic. In the interview. The activist even emphasized on the incidents of thousands of girls being trafficked from one state to the other only to be married, or in exchange of a large sum.

He also opined how the deep-rooted issues of poverty, illiteracy and ignorance are among the foremost drivers of these social evils, and that only strong laws and stronger implementation can curb the growing issues of child marriage and child trafficking.

4. Climate-Vulnerable Sundarbans Witnesses Child Trafficking on the Rise

The world’s largest mangrove forest, the Sundarbans, is also the most climate vulnerable region of the world. Climate change is leaving its impact on the inhabitants of the rainforest by snatching their livelihood based on agriculture and fishing away from them.

Owing to the strain on families’ economic conditions, women and children are being forced to resort to or pushed into trafficking, through which they are then directed towards sexual activities, domestic labour and the likes.

5. Anti-Human Trafficking Unit Rescues 22 Children from a Slew of Shops

The Anti-Human Trafficking Unit (AHTU) of the Noida Police raided retail shops, eateries, mobile repair and automobile repair shops in the bustling market of Sector 18 and Atta market in Sector 27 as part of a rescue mission. The police force initiated a child labour eradication programme. One part of the programme involved collaborating with the AHTU and concerned NGOs to find and rescue children trafficked from different regions of the country and engaged in child labour.

All the 22 children rescued as a part of the operation were aged between 10 to 14 years, and were sent to a children’s shelter home.

6. Timely Rescue of 8 Children aboard a Train by Secunderabad RPF

In collaboration with Bachpan Bachao Andolan, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) of Secunderabad apprehended four traffickers and rescued 8 children who were victims of child trafficking.

The RPF attributes this rescue to the intelligence gathered through continuous data and its thorough analysis by the cyber cell. Deploying additional personnel at railway stations, installing CCTV cameras, and conducting awareness campaigns to educate the public about the dangers of trafficking also helped strengthen the web of safety for both the rescuers and the rescued. This rescue operation was conducted aboard Telangana Express, running from Ballarshah to Hyderabad.