Most of the trafficked children from Bihar belong to Gaya – Times of India

TNN | Aug 30, 2016, 11.17 PM IST
Patna: Bihar has the dubious distinction of being among the three states from where are maximum number of child labourers. As per the state social welfare department data, 60 of the 374 children rescued from outside Bihar between October 2015 and May 2016, were from Gaya, followed by Purnia (57) and Motihari (41).

The department has also zeroed in on ‘clusters’ in nine blocks of Gaya, two each in Sitamarhi, East Champaran, Samastipur and Nawada, three each in Jehanabad and Motihari, one in Madhubani and the entire Nalanda district where it has launched rehabilitation programmes for rescued children, most of whom were working in cottage industries in other states.

“Most of the children rescued from Telangana were employed in bangle industry. Since they were young, their small fingers were perfect to mould the semi-bristled stones on the bangles,” said social welfare department director Imamuddin Ahmad.

Sources said these children were deliberately sent by their parents to work in these industries. “If one child goes outside the state and sends some money, other children from the cluster are also sent and it becomes a vicious cycle,” said the director.

Asked any special reason he could attribute to Gaya, he said, “Actually, most of the children belong to SC/ST community which has a substantial population in Gaya.” Incidentally, most of the children belong to minority community.

Experts also attribute high school dropout rate, poverty, lack of employment and opportunities as reasons behind child labour. “Bihar, other than Jharkhand and West Bengal, has the highest number of children trafficked to other states,” said a department official.

However, the department found hardly any trafficked girl. “Girls are trafficked in huge numbers but they are either employed in brothels or as domestic workers. And you don’t find raids taking place in private homes,” said Unicef’s child protection specialist Mansoor Qadri.

The department has engaged NGOs for particular ‘clusters’ where they are trying to integrate families with various government schemes to provide livelihood to parents as part of child rehab programme, said Ahmad.

There are child protection committees from district to gram panchayat levels. Though these committees were formed way back in 2011, they hardly became functional.

“Now the department has trained people for all the divisions, except Tirhut. These trainers will train the members of the committee down to the gram panchayat level. A panchayat level committee consists of mukhiya and 18 other public representatives. Each committee maintains a register of children in their area to see that they are attending schools and if not, why. This is reported back to the officials,” he said.

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