Thursday, September 04, 2008

India's Child Flood Victims Vulnerable to Traffickers

From Radio Australia:

September 4, 2008

Human traffickers are targeting vulnerable children in India's flood-effected Bihar state.

Radio Australia's Karon Snowdon reports it appears to be going largely unchecked as authorities struggle to handle evacuation and relief operations.

The director of the New Delhi-based Save the Children Movement, Kailash Satyarthi, says Bihar is notorious.

"The trafficking of children from those districts were quite rampant even in the past," he said.

His volunteers in a town in Bihar rescued six children aged about 10 from a man taking them to West Bengal.

Once there, they would have been sold into forced labour in tea shops or possibly prostitution.

Kailash Satyarthi says he has asked for urgent action to protect children but with authorities fully engaged in rescue efforts, criminals are freer to operate.

"The trafficking is not (the authorities) priority.

"Unfortunately the army personnel and the police could not go to those remote areas where the traffickers have gone," he said.

Mr Satyarthi says traffickers are taking advantage of the human tragedy of the floods.

He says the children will are kidnapped for the purpose of forced labour, beggining and even prostitution.

Read the full article

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