Check Child Trafficking
Nepal and India share a long stretch of open border, which has both advantages as well as disadvantages. The advantage is that the people from the other country can move freely for employment and other purposes. But the open border has several disadvantages, trafficking of women and children from Nepal to various parts of India for sexual exploitation, domestic labour and various other purposes being one. The children of Terai region that lies close to the border are more prone to being taken to India. Nobody knows exactly how many Nepali children are trafficked to India and are living and working in hazardous conditions there. According to a 2001 International Labour Organisation study, around 12,000 Nepali children are trafficked every year. This number is estimated to have gone up significantly after Nepal was struck by a devastating earthquake on 25 April 2015. This is because the brokers then managed to lure children who had lost their homes and breadwinners with ease, making false promise of good jobs and monthly income in India. Some are lured saying they would have access to education in monasteries and madrasas. Besides, some children living close to the border area go to India on their own while some others are sent to India by their own family to earn money. Irrespective of how these children land in India, in all likelihood they face exploitation of one form or another. So the government and non-government agencies must remain watchful about this problem and do their best for the safety of children.
In one such case in which the concerned stakeholders swung to action, 33 Nepali children were rescued from India and brought to Kathmandu the other day. Nepal’s Central Child Welfare Board, Child Welfare Committee and Chora-Chori, a UK-based charity working to repatriate trafficked and displaced Nepali children from India, came to know of children living in harsh conditions in two orphanages in Muzaffarpur and Darvanga districts of Bihar, India and coordinated with Social Welfare Department, Patna to rescue 31 boys and two girls aged between six to 20 years. Most of these children belong to Siraha and Sarlahi districts but they also came from Saptari, Dhanusa, Mahottari, Rautahat, Nawalparasi, Kathmandu, Kavre, Sindhupalchok, Banke, Rukum, Doti, and Darchula districts. That means children all across the country are at risk of being trafficked to India. These children were living in exploitative conditions in monasteries, madrasas, catering houses, hotels or private homes who managed to run away before landing in the orphanages. They were found to be living in unhealthy condition; worse, at least four of them are in mental trauma while Neha Parbati, 18, from Kathmandu who had been working as a domestic worker has lost her mental balance. This is a flagrant violation of child rights guaranteed by Nepal’s constitution. In this context, it is good to hear that a large number of trafficked children have been rescued. But the main challenge is to prevent trafficking of children in the first place for which the government must take stringent actions against those involved in this crime. It needs to work in close coordination with non-government agencies to raise awareness among the public, particularly in Terai and poor and disadvantaged communities, about the risk of child trafficking or sending their children to India for work.