A two-day state consultation was organized by Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), founded by Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, with various stakeholders of child protection, including police, anti-human trafficking unit (ATHU), various child welfare committees (CWC), Rajasthan State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (RSCPCR), Directorate for child rights (DCR) and other NGOs.
Prominent people who participated in the brainstorming sessions, included Shri B. L Soni (Additional Director General of Police, Crime Branch), Shri Sunil Dutt (Additional Director General of Police, Anti-Human Trafficking Unit), Shri Nishkam Diwakar (Director DCR), Shri Seema Joshi (Member, RSCPCR), Shri Narendra Sikhwal (Chairperson, CWC) and Shri Sameer Mathur (Chief Advisor, BBA).
Calling for convergence of all the agencies, including the health department for carrying out rescue and relief to the distressed children, ADG (Crime Branch) Shri Soni called upon the police force to set a target to rescue 20 per cent more children this year compared to the last year.
“Accountability and responsibility of different stakeholders in the process of child protection is very important. Superintendent of police (SPs) should be held accountable for providing logistical support for rescue of child laborers,” he said, emphasizing on the strict importance of Juvenile Justice Act in providing institutional support to the distressed children, a bulk of whom are pushed into child labor after being trafficked. The health department and hospitals should collaborate with law enforcement agencies in helping in de-addiction of children hit by substance abuse, he suggested.
BBA’s chief advisor, Shri Samir Mathur complemented the efforts of the state government and police in providing support to implementation of various Acts for protection of children from exploitation. He observed that Rajasthan is the first state in the country to form an independent department of child rights.
Emphasizing on the directive of the Apex Court to strengthen the monitoring mechanism for Child Care Institutions, Shri Mathur said that “The JJ Act is required to be implemented in the light of Sampurna Behura judgment of 2018, which clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of the various law enforcement and other state agencies.”
Shri Sunil Dutt, ADG of Anti-Human Trafficking Unit (AHTU), shared the challenges faced by the law enforcement agencies, which include non-availability of trained policemen. “Policemen need to be trained to be sensitive enough to understand and handle child-related issues and concerns,” he said, seeking collaboration with NGOs for sensitizing his force.
Shri Nishkam Diwakar, Director of Department of Child Rights stressed on the importance of Sampurna Behura judgment and said his department has stepped up efforts to implement the 16-directives of the Apex Court. He stressed on the rehabilitation and providing vocational training to the rescued children to mainstream them in the society.
The aim of the meet was to sensitize the various stakeholders, including the police and child welfare agencies, towards the plight of voiceless and distressed children and to generate a practical blue print of action based on suggestions and observations made during the consultation.
BBA has been consistently working in collaboration with the Rajasthan Government to eliminate child labour in the state. Nobel Peace Laureate and BBA Founder Mr. Kailash Satyarthi had met Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot earlier this year to discuss the need of strengthening child protection units in the state and other interventions to stop child marriages. BBA has rescued 1443 children in the state so far with the help of local authorities.
The organization also partnered with the government and police this month to take collective action to rescue child labourers from across the state, which led to the reviving of District Task Force in all the districts of Rajasthan. In 2018, BBA had organised training for Law Enforcement Agencies of the state on JJ Act and CLPRA Act, which helped the anti-human trafficking unit to run an identification and rescue campaign in October last year. BBA also assisted the CWC in carrying out the audit of 26 Child Care Institutions in the state.
Taking up the safety of children as a top priority, the Rajasthan government has been working to promote inclusion of child rights in school curricula and has effectively used the PENCIL portal exclusively for reporting of complaint on child labour
Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) has been organizing such consultation meets across the country to bridge the gaps between law and its implementation. The meet also observed that the legal protection envisaged under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 suffers from tardy implementation. The country continues to grapple with several issues related to juvenile justice, including rise in the number of pending cases before the Juvenile Justice Boards, vacancies in Juvenile Justice Boards, lack of child friendly courts, ill treatment of juveniles, deplorable conditions of child care institutions. All of these are leading to the violation of fundamental rights of the children.
The consultation meet vociferously assessed the status of the implementation of the JJ Act in the light of Sampurna Behura judgment. The PIL (Public Interest Litigation) in which the Apex Court had issued directives for child care, rehabilitation and prevention, had sought constitution of State Child Protection Society, State Commissions for the Protection of Child Rights, Establishment of Juvenile Justice Boards (JJBs) in every district (if necessary more than one in some districts) and their training, Establishment of Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) and their training, Appointment of Probation Officers and their training and Establishment of Special Juvenile Police Units in every Police Station among others.
About Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA)
BBA started in 1980, by Nobel Peace Laureate Mr Kailash Satyarthi, Bachpan Bachao Andolan is India’s largest movement for the protection of children that works with law enforcement agencies and policy makers to strengthen the system. BBA has played a pivotal role in formulation of several laws for protection of child rights through its inputs based on years of work with children in bonded and forced labour. BBA has also filed several PILs and petitions which led to landmark judgment ensuring easy access to justice for victims of child exploitation.