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West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee to Monitor the issue of Child Trafficking in the State

According to CID sources, 17 newborns were trafficked to various parts of India and abroad in the name of adoption by producing manufactured documents

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Mamata Banerjee
Bring Software Industries to West Bengal, says CM Mamata Banerjee to Bengali Diaspora. Wikimedia

Kolkata, March 28, 2017: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday directed the state police and the bureaucracy to monitor the issue of child trafficking and stop the traffickers at all costs.

“The police and the block development officers (BDO) have to take responsibility to thoroughly monitor the issue of child trafficking in the state. Whoever is involved in trafficking should not be spared,” Banerjee said during an administrative meeting in West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district.

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She also asked the other departments associated with the matter to play their role so that trafficking can be stopped.

“Apart from the police and the BDOs, those who are associated with child welfare have to look into the issue. This is also a responsibility of the Social Welfare Officers. The Women and Child Department also has to play the role they are expected to,” the Trinamool Congress supremo said.

Referring to the repeated complaints of over-charging and negligence against the medical facilities in the state, Banerjee asked the police administration to keep an eye on the patients’ grievances.

“I would request all the inspectors and officers in-charge to keep an eye on their respective local hospitals. If such cases come to the police station it has be referred to the new committee formed under respective district magistrate,” she said.

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She also cautioned the administration to verify such complaints first before taking action against the accused medical facility.

“If the complaint is genuine then take appropriate action but if the complaint is not genuine, remember lodging a false complaint is also a crime,” she asserted.

Banerjee’s comments come against the backdrop of a recent crackdown at a Jalpaiguri-based child adoption centre, for its alleged involvement in several cases of child trafficking.

According to CID sources, 17 newborns were trafficked to various parts of India and abroad in the name of adoption by producing manufactured documents.

Several persons, including political leaders, child protection officers, doctors and owners of the accused child adoption centre, were arrested by the sleuths earlier this month for involvement in the case. (IANS)

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UN: Tens of Millions of Children Victimized of Child Labor

Children as young as five are among the 152 million victims of child labor. Many of them work long hours, for little or no pay, under abusive, slave-like conditions

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child labor
FILE - Indian children work at a brick factory on the outskirts of Jammu, India, May 1, 2018. VOA

The International Labor Organization is calling for the elimination of child labor, which victimizes tens of millions of children in all regions of the world.  The call came from Geneva, where special events marking the World Day Against Child Labor were held Wednesday.

Children as young as five are among the 152 million victims of child labor. Many of them work long hours, for little or no pay, under abusive, slave-like conditions. The International Labor Organization reports nearly half of them work in hazardous child labor, which exposes them to unhealthy and dangerous conditions.

child labor
Children as young as five are among the 152 million victims of child labor. Many of them work long hours, for little or no pay, under abusive, slave-like conditions. Pixabay

It says the majority work in agriculture.  Other areas of hazardous work include mining, construction, fishing and domestic service.  Beate Andrees, Chief of the ILO’s Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work Branch, told VOA children trapped in the worst forms of child labor, such as debt bondage and prostitution, suffer irreparable physical and psychological harm.

“According to the ILO’s standards, the worst forms include child labor that is hazardous or damaging for the child’s development, including their moral well-being.  It also includes forced child labor or child trafficking as well as the recruitment of children for armed conflict,” she said.

Andrees said some remarkable progress has been made in reducing child labor in Asia and Latin America, but reductions in Africa are declining.  She said Africa now has the highest prevalence of child labor in the world.

child labor
A boy sells colored balloons in Kabul, Afghanistan(AP Photo/Rahmat Gul) (VOA)

“This is not necessarily linked to a lack of action, but it is also linked to demographic developments, migration, climate change and underlying economic root causes, which play out differently in the different regions,” Andrees said.

ALSO READ: Ghana to End Child Labor on Cocoa Farms by Increasing its Prices by 50%, Shows Study

Despite this worrying trend, Andrees said she was heartened to see the African Union taking decisive measures to tackle this problem.  She noted the AU is developing a ten-year action plan to accelerate the elimination of child labor in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The SDG’s call for the elimination of child labor by 2025.  However, if the current pace of reduction in child labor is maintained, Andrees warns this mark will be missed by a wide margin. (VOA)