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Child Safety Week

Snehalaya was honoured to join a coalition of 10 organisations across India spotlighting the need to end Commercial Sexual Exploitation & Trafficking of Children as part of Child Rights Week (Nov14th-20th).

The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 40.3 million victims of human trafficking globally. As per ILO 1 in 4 victims of modern slavery are children. Indian Government’s National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) 2020 data, 95% of trafficked persons in India are forced into prostitution. According to the NCRB, 2020, nationally there were 108,234 cases of missing children. Many of these children are at risk of Commercial Sexual Exploitation, or may have gone missing as a result of being trafficked.

The NCRB report further finds that there was a total of 50,276 criminal cases registered under various Acts including the POCSO, JJ Act and crimes such as child marriage and forced child labour etc. depicting the magnitude of this problem. Only a fraction of these cases get resolved and it is estimated that these statistics are only the tip of the iceberg, representing only reported cases, while there may be an equal number, if not more, that go unreported due to several inhibiting factors. There is an urgent need to spotlighting the issue of Commercial Sexual Exploitation & Trafficking of Children, and a coalition of 10 organisations across India strives to do that this Child Rights Week.

Child Rights Week in India started on National Children’s Day (14 November) and ended with International Children’s Day (20 November). World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse, 19 November, also fell within this week. Throughout the week, online events such as Twitter Chats, Facebook & Instagram LIVE panel discussions, as well as content provided conceptual clarity about, and prevention of, Commercial Sexual Exploitation & Trafficking of Children (CSE&T) using the hashtag #UnitedforChildSafety.

Topics covered included: ‘What is CSE&T of children?’; ‘Why are children most vulnerable and the vulnerabilities leading to children being victims of CSE&T?’; ‘Ways in which perpetrators gain access to potential minor victims of CSE&T & the physical/emotional well-being of minor victims of CSE&T’ ; Awareness and Prevention messaging for children, parents and caregivers with specific focus on digital safety; Citizen’s Role in preventing CSE&T of children.

The 10 organisations from across India forming this coalition were Prerana, INGON (Impulse NGO Network), My Choices Foundation, Vipla Foundation, Rescue Foundation, Missing Girls, Arz (Anyay Rahit Zindagi), HELP, The Movement India and NGO Arpan. These are among the leading organisations working in the field of women & children’s rights, anti-human trafficking, domestic violence and sexual abuse, based in States such as Maharashtra, Telangana, West Bengal, Goa and Andhra Pradesh.

The week was a huge success in raising awareness and offering practical advice to enable all of us to play a part in protecting children. By collaborating, all of the NGOs involved also learnt from each other and will stay connected to continue to advocate against CSET. You can view some of the discussions below to learn how you too can help.

Facebook panel

The Movement India hosted a Facebook panel on Understanding Commercial Sexual Exploitation & Trafficking of Children (CSE&T) in today’s times with panelists:

1.Leena Kejriwal, Founder, Missing Link Trust

2. Rosanna Lyngdoh, Director, Impulse NGO Network

3. Sudha Upadhyayula, Head of Operations, Operation Red Alert, My Choices Foundation

Which covered the following sub-themes:

1. How has the pandemic changed trends related to CSE&T?

2. Why are children the most vulnerable to CSE&T and what are the vulnerabilities leading to children being victims of CSE&T?

3. What are the ways in which perpetrators gain access to potential minor victims, especially during the pandemic?

Instagram live

Our Childline project coordinator, Mahesh joined My Choices Foundation and Missing Link Trust in an Instagram live conversation hosted by The Movement India.

Twitter Chat

Prerana and My Choices Foundation each hosted a Twitter chat. The first discussed effective strategies to help eliminate commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking of children and the second prevention, protection and rehabilitation of survivors! Click on the images of each question to see each of the participating NGOs, including Snehalaya's responses.

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