Thursday, August 06, 2009

Kidnapped TN children forced to work in naxal-infested areas, says official

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: Children are being kidnapped from Tamil Nadu and forced to work in naxal-infested areas, particularly Andhra Pradesh, Additional Commissioner of Police (Headquarters) M. Ravi said on Thursday.

He was speaking at a capacity building programme for police personnel on Child Protection and Childline Services jointly organized by the Department of Social Defense and World Vision India here.

Child trafficking is a matter of serious concern. We have information that children are being kidnapped and taken to naxalite areas for work. The role of NGOs is very vital in identifying vulnerable areas. A coordinated effort is required to eradicate child abuse in all its forms, Mr. Ravi said.

He said in many instances of sexual abuse involving children, the accused persons were known to the victims. Neighbours, relatives and school employees are often the culprits in such cases. Parents should be sensitised to the risk factors.

The Indian Council for Child Welfare Secretary Chandra Thanickachalam said child trafficking was prevalent in Tamil Nadu and Chennai was usually the transit point. When a joint operation was held a couple of years ago in Chennai where all incoming buses and trains were checked, 48 children belonging to the southern districts were rescued.

They were brought by agents for employment in Gujarat and some other northern States. The children were restored to their parents and legal action was taken against the agents who had bought them for work. At least 50 per cent of the children were aged below 14 years, she said.

Ms. Thanickachalam said Tamil Nadu was a source of supply (of women) to brothels in Mumbai. Participation of police was imperative when it came to rescuing children in brothels, industries, clandestine establishments and residential areas where they were forced to work.

In about 2,380 calls received by the Childline in the last 10 years in Chennai, children found to be victims of different kinds of abuse were rescued. Even when police are present during such rescue operations, they are insisting that the Childline should lodge a complaint. Our appeal to the police is that they should become complainants in such cases, she said.

Joint Commissioner of Police (Central) V.A. Ravikumar also spoke. At least 100 police personnel, including women, took part in the programme. They would be designated as Child Welfare Officers, police sources added.

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