Lack of a bilateral treaty between India and Bangladesh is creating problems for repatriating Bangladeshi boys found in Delhi, activists have pointed out.
Every year, scores of Bangladeshi boys are found on the streets of all major cities, including Delhi. Last year, the figures touched 336 for Delhi.
“Not all of these are trafficked. Amidst debate over trafficking of adolescents, there is almost complete invisibility of the issue (of Bangladeshi boys), which is more evident in Delhi,” rights activist Pinaki Roy, associated with Sanjog, a Kolkata- based NGO said.
Many of these boys have run away from homes in search of work. “It is difficult for the authorities to even identify a Bangladeshi child unless he himself tells so,” said Roy, whose ‘Crossing boundaries’, an exploratory research on mobility, migration and trafficking in boys between Bangladesh and India was released at an event here on Thursday.
Agreed Amod Kanth, chairperson of Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR), “It is a very difficult task to identify (Bangladeshi boys) … but not impossible.”
In absence of identification, there are several hurdles, such as locating the child’s village. The process is further complicated by lack of standard operating procedure (SOP) at national level and also the missing bilateral treaty between the two countries. Shantha Sinha, chairperson of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), who was also present at the event, agreed, “The commission will have to use its authority to leverage the network of NGOs to come up with an SOP and work towards the treaty.”
However, Kanth said, “Delhi government and the Delhi police have a system in accordance with the home ministry guidelines as India is a signatory to the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child.”