Experts file petition demanding anti-child trafficking units in Maharashtra
Maharashtra ranks second in crimes against children in India, with 14,559 cases registered in 2016.mumbai Updated: Dec 14, 2017 00:26 IST
Citing lack of stringent action for sexual exploitation of minors, a coalition of legal experts, doctors, politicians, academics and child right activists demanded the use of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act 1999 (MCOCA) against the offenders on Wednesday.
An online petition launched by the group, directed to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, demanding a special Anti-Child Predator Squad to prevent sexual exploitation of children, has managed to gather over 1.11 lakh signatures in a week.
Maharashtra ranks second in crimes against children in India, with 14,559 cases registered in 2016. While the state ranks fourth in terms of human trafficking cases, 13 out of the 202 cases of child trafficking across India were filed in the state, suggests data from National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
“Justice is delivered in merely 5% cases of sexual exploitation of children, while over 90% of the cases remain undertrial. While we focus on rescue and rehabilitation of the victims, offenders roam around scot-free, which is not at all accepted,” said Dr PM Nair, chair professor of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), and a key member of the coalition.
The members have demanded a separate action plan, where an exclusive squad working on the issue of child trafficking will have district and state headquarters to curb the demand of children for sexual acts.
“Sometimes, the accused are granted bail and the trial goes astray after they abscond. We need a stringent legislature where the offenders are not relieved and the legal proceedings take place on fast-track level to deliver justice,” said Roshan Dalvi, former Bombay high court judge, who is assisting the group to chart the state action plan.
Medical activist and gynaecologist Dr Nikhil Datar, who is overseeing the medical section of the charter of demands, said that he has come across numerous cases where teenagers were forced to take steroids for early growth. “There are cases where an injection, usually used on horses, are administered to women for faster growth of their body parts. The practice is completely inhuman, since there are serious medical implications of such acts at physiological and psychological levels,” said Dr Datar.
He added that there is a need to create immediate awareness about child friendly, Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 so that parents immediately seek judicial help for justice.
BJP leader Shaina NC, who had filed the online petition, said that they will make sure that the objective of freeing the state from sexual exploitation of children is achieved through a strategy-based plan. “The petition and coalition of eminent stakeholders in the area of protection of children from trafficking is just a beginning. We have already started working on the charter of demands and regardless of the party in power, we will hold meetings with the CM and Prime Minister for fast implementation,” Shaina said.