Alarmed by the spurt in the interstate child trafficking and child labour cases, the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights has recommended the formulation of an interstate policy to protect children.
The child rights commission has written to the ministry of women and child development on October 7, demanding creation of a policy that empowers states to prevent interstate trafficking.
Over the last six months, a non-government organisation, Pratham, has rescued 656 children trafficked to Maharashtra, 80% of whom were trafficked from Bihar, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
In a letter written to VS Oberoi, secretary, women and child development ministry, AN Tripathi, secretary of the commission, wrote: “Mumbai is both a destination as well as a transit point for various types of child labour,
In 2013 including trafficking in the name of bogus marriages, employment and education.”
Activists working against child labour and trafficking endorsed the need for more interstate cooperation. “Currently, one state government cannot take action against traffickers in another state. This prevents agencies from catching the culprits,” said Farida Lambay, cofounder of Pratham.
“We had taken members of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and government officials to Bihar to discuss repatriation and rehabilitation of trafficked children,” said Lambay.
However, there are those who feel children in rural areas need more protection. “The commission is only focusing on metropolitan areas, but in rural areas children are trafficked within the state,” said Herambh Kulkarni, an education activist from Pune.