Most rescued childeren are never rehabilitated

Most rescued childeren are never rehabilitated
Most rescued childeren are never rehabilitated

 PRERNA SODHI IN THE TIMES OF INDIA

NEW DELHI: The teenage help who was rescued from a Dwarka apartment in March is now enrolled in a school in Jharkhand. She has received her wage arrears, besides support from the state. But hers is an exceptional story of rehabilitation. Experts say most trafficked children, even when rescued, lead bleak lives.

Take the case of two girls — aged 12 and 13 — who were brought to Delhi a year ago and sexually assaulted at a placement agency. After their rescue, they were sent to a shelter home in West Bengal, and have not received any significant help.

Experts say care and aid are lavished on victims only after their cases grab media attention. Generally, though, rescued children get trapped in procedural hurdles. The luckier ones are ‘reunited’ with their families but not rehabilitated and, occasionally, children even slip back into the hands of traffickers.

Rishikant, an activist from NGO Shakti Vahini, said, “We get many complaints and some of the offences are grave. The state machinery moves when a case gets highlighted. In most cases, the child welfare committees (CWCs) merely dump the children back home without follow-up,” he said. The chairperson of the Lajpat Nagar CWC said, “Reuniting does not mean rehabilitation.” Shakti Vahini claims that of the 200 children it rescued last year, none has been properly rehabilitated.

In most cases, delays occur due to poor inter-state coordination. “The authorities here are not so concerned as 90% of the cases are from other states. Their attitude is that the other state has to take care of them,” said CWC chairperson Raaj Mangal Prasad. It is also observed that the CWCs of the other states are not so zealous in their work.

Rishi Kant, another Shakti Vahini member, said this hampers follow-up action. “The CWC might pass orders in the city and, to an extent, also recover children’s due wages, but it becomes difficult to follow up on a case on a day-to-day basis.” He suggests that the labour department should act as an intermediary between source states and cities from where children are rescued.

The director for policy and research at Child Rights and You (CRY), Vijaylakshmi Arora, said lack of manpower is another important hurdle in rehabilitation. “If you go to the district level or the CWCs, you don’t find much manpower. It is usually one man taking care of 50 cases. That ratio has to be improved.”

Arora said a system needs to be in place to track each and every child’s case separately “as each child’s case is different and the factors for trafficking are different. This will also keep tabs on children who have been re-trafficked; at present there is no system to monitor that.”

While lack of manpower and poor interstate coordination hinder the process of rehabilitation, Prasad said transferring the monitoring of child labour to the department of women and child development will help. “The Child Labour Act that falls under the labour department does not look into the rehabilitation of a child; this is done by the Juvenile Justice Act that is the responsibility of the department of women and child development,” he said, adding, “Shifting the child labour issue to them would speed up the process”.

PRERNA SODHI IN THE TIMES OF INDIA

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Delhi civil society demands reopening of Ruchika case, lights candles

ECONOMIC TIMES DECEMBER 24, 2009

NEW DELHI: People from different walks of life on Thursday demanded the reopening of Ruchika Girhotra molestation case and lit candles at the historic Jantar Mantar to register their protest against the light sentence handed to the perpetrator, former Haryana police chief S P S Rathore.

“It is amply clear that Ruchika was facing threats from the Haryana Police on one side and severe stress and mental trauma due to the molestation,” said Kanan Jaswal, an activist of NGO Good Governance.

“We demand an inquiry into the case and circumstances which led to Ruchika committing suicide. There should be an inquiry into the role of other police officers who abetted her suicide. These officials needed to be booked along with Rathore for abetment of suicide,” he added.

A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Chandigarh had Monday held Rathore guilty of molesting 14-year-old Ruchika in Panchkula town Aug 12, 1990 and sentenced him to a six-month prison term. The budding tennis player had committed suicide three years after the incident.

Ravi Kant, an advocate and president of NGO Shakti Vahini, said Haryana Police officers, on Rathore’s orders, used legal and illegal means to intimidate Ruchika and her family.

“The Haryana Police had booked Ruchika’s brother in 11 cases. All the files relating to these cases need to be seized and examined to find out the people responsible for the criminal intimidation of Ruchika’s family,” he contended.

Kamal Kant Jaswal, a retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, called for a probe into how Rathore was promoted as director general of police inspite of facing such a severe charge of child abuse and abetment to suicide.

“After the allegations surfaced, Rathore was first promoted as special director general of police and then director general of police. The files relating to his promotion need to be examined,” Jaswal maintained.

The various groups with the same demands have also shot off letters to Law Minister M. Veerappa Molly while some people Thursday lit candles at the Jantar Mantar in the heart of the national capital.

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