More than 300,000 children are drugged, physically abused and forced to beg on the streets of India every day, victims of a million dollar industry controlled by human trafficking networks, according to a report jointly produced by the Indian Police and several human rights organizations .
According to data from the National Human Rights Commission in India, more than 40,000 children are kidnapped each year, of which 11,000 are permanently disappearing.
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Indian government must protect their children
In the report, which will be sent to all police stations in the country, the Indian government is urged to increase the vigilance and protection of thousands of children living on the streets.
“The police do not think that children who ask for charity are a problem, because when they see that an adult accompanies them, they automatically assume that they are family or someone they know,” said the executive director of The Freedom Project India, One of the organizations involved in the preparation of the specialized report on trafficking in persons. “However, out of every 50 children rescued, about 10 are often victims of human trafficking networks. It is absolutely necessary to keep these children under surveillance in order to be able to identify them and prevent this from happening, “he added.
According to the report, many of the minors kidnapped by these networks are even mutilated or burned by their captors, to awaken more empathy in the passers-by and raise more alms. All the money that they earn throughout the day usually goes to the hands of the traffickers, used in many occasions in drugs and alcohol.
Police officers and charities are working together
The report is based on testimony from police officers and charities in the city of Bengaluru, formerly known as Bangalore, located in the southern Indian state of Karnakata. According to police sources, there is a seasonal pattern in the practice of begging of these minors. In cities like Bengaluru the number of children wandering the streets and asking for alms increases radically when a festival is approaching or just after a natural disaster.
In 2011, the Bengaluru Local Police launched Operation Rakshane, which with the help of several central government departments and some humanitarian organizations developed a program to help forced children beg. The operation consisted of patrols throughout the city, who followed the minors, taking photographs of their daily life and following them to their homes, in order to check whether they were victims of human trafficking or not, before rescuing them from their potential captors.
According to Indian Police Inspector General Pronob Mohanty, who led Operation Rakshane, police and social workers rescued up to 300 children in a single day in one of their raids around the city. All traffickers arrested for these cases to date have been jailed.