From an American Diplomat to investment bankers, college students and young entrepreneurs; 24 cyclists will pedal more than 250 kms every day through five states to create awareness about human trafficking and child labour.
With over 1.35 lakh children gone missing in 2015, this group will travel between India Gate and Gateway of India and visit houses on the way to tell people about the menace of child labour.
India has the highest number of slaves in the world. It has been ranked number four among 167 countries where modern slavery is prevalent, revealed the Global Slavery Index released by the Walk Free foundation, a global human rights organisation. It says trafficking for bonded labour, domestic service, forced begging and commercial sex exploitation is widely prevalent in India. The Global Slavery Index is an annual ranking for slavery conditions worldwide.
“The cyclists will travel 1,500 kilometres over five nights and six days. From cold desert to undulating rocky mountains and unending highways, the group will also go door-to-door in the villages falling on way for the cause. The cycle expedition for the cause of spreading awareness will be interspersed with pit stops at Jaipur, Bhilwara, Kherwara, Vadodara and Telasari,” said Rishikant of Shakti Vahini, an NGO working for child rights.
The riders will be accompanied by volunteers from Shakti Vahini and volunteers will conduct mass awareness programmes, street plays and skits for generating awareness on ways to combat human trafficking.
India is a source, transit and destination point, and an estimated 1.4% of the population is living in modern slavery. “Women and children, being inherently vulnerable due to their physical, mental and social status fall prey to traffickers who either lure them by deception, coercion, fraud, kidnapping, abduction or by abuse of power or authority. In 2013, section 370 and 370A introduced the offence of trafficking and its punishment in the Indian Penal Code. It adopted the definition of the Palermo Protocol of the UN, which prevents trafficking in persons. Despite the intricate, overarching provisions of the Child Labour (Prohibition) Act, 1986, India is home to millions of child labourers employed in hazardous and non-hazardous occupations, a majority of whom are victims of trafficking,” he added.
Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh are worst hit as supplier states. Tribal belts in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Assam and West Bengal have experienced meteoric rise in illegal employment of young children, mostly girls as domestic helps in metropolitan cities of Delhi (NCR), Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune through spurious placement agencies.