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Cheaper to buy a child than buffalo

Child trafficking is a fast-growing problem in most South Asian countries and there is little awareness about it.

delhi Updated: Apr 03, 2007 16:51 IST

It takes between Rs 500-2000 to buy a child in India, which is much less than what it takes to buy a buffalo, a recent survey by Bachpan Bachao Andolan, an NGO, has revealed. Human trafficking is a fast-growing problem in most South Asian countries and there are little preventive and awareness measures, the NGO says.

The Bachpan Bachao Andolan, in association with NGOs from Nepal and Bangladesh and hundreds of civil society partners, has just completed a 5,000-km march. The march began from Kolkata on February 25 and was initiated to raise awareness on the issue of child trafficking. The campaign wound up in New Delhi on March 22, 2007.

"What shocked me most was that in India, human trafficking is restricted to prostitution alone. Even the police does not identify child trafficking as an organized crime," said Bhuvan Ribhu, an activist and organizer of the march. He reported cases of children trafficking to the police in Raxaul in Uttar Pradesh and Forbesganj in North West Bihar. "I asked the police twice to investigate under Indian Penal Code section 367 (kidnapping and abducting for purposes of slavery,) but was turned down," Ribhu said.

The SAARC Convention on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Women and Children has failed completely, he said. Ironically, it does not even mention child trafficking for forced labour which accounts for 90% of the problem.

"The definition provided in the convention is very narrow and focuses only on prostitution. It completely ignores the fact that men, women and children are largely trafficked for labour exploitation," added Ribhu.

First Published: Apr 03, 2007 11:47 IST