Child Trafficking

Trafficking of children is a form of human trafficking and is defined as the “recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, and/or receipt” of a child for the purpose of exploitation. The first major international instrument dealing with the trafficking of children is part of the 2000 United Nations Palermo protocols, titled the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children. Article 3(a) of this document defines child trafficking as the “recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring and/or receipt” of a child for the purpose of exploitation. The definition for child trafficking given here applies only to cases of trafficking that are transnational and/or involve organized criminal groups; in spite of this, child trafficking is now typically recognized well outside these parameters. The International Labour Organization expands upon this definition by asserting that movement and exploitation are key aspects of child trafficking. The definition of “child” used here is that listed in the 1989 U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child which states, “a child means every human being below the age of 18 years, unless, under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier.” The distinction outlined in this definition is important, because some countries have chosen to set the “age of majority” lower than 18, thus influencing exactly what legally constitutes child trafficking. Though statistics regarding the magnitude of child trafficking are difficult to obtain, the International Labour Organization estimates that 1.2 million children are trafficked each year. The trafficking of children has been internationally recognized as a serious crime that exists in every region of the world and which often has human rights implications. Yet, it is only within the past decade that the prevalence and ramifications of this practice have risen to international prominence, due to a dramatic increase in research and public action. A variety of potential solutions have accordingly been suggested and implemented, which can be categorized as four types of action: broad protection, prevention, law enforcement, and victim assistance.


Children are trafficked for various reasons like children are trafficked for sexual exploitation, begging, child labour, etc.The objective of child trafficking is often forced child labour. Child labour refers specifically to children under a stipulated minimum age, usually 14 at the lowest, being required to work. UNICEF estimates that, in 2011, 150 million children aged 5–14 in developing countries were involved in child labour. Within this number, the International Labour Organization reports that 60% of child workers work in agriculture. The ILO also estimates that 115 million children are engaged in hazardous work, such as the sex or drug trade. Overall, child labor can take many forms, including domestic servitude, work in agriculture, service, and manufacturing industries. Also, according to several researchers, most children are forced into cheap and controllable labor, and work in homes, farms, factories, restaurants, and much more. Trafficked children may be sexually exploited, used in the armed forces and drug trades, and in child begging. In terms of global trends, the ILO estimates that in 2004–2008, there was a 3% reduction in the incidence of child labor; this stands in contrast to a previous ILO report which found that in 2000–2004, there was a 10% reduction in child labor. The ILO contends that, globally, child labour is slowly declining, except in sub-Saharan Africa, where the number of child workers has remained relatively constant: 1 in 4 children aged 5–17 work in this region. Another major global trend concerns the number of child laborers in the 15-17 age group: in the past five years, a 20% increase in the number of these child workers has been reported. A surprised example has occurred in the United States as McCabe (2008) indicates that in the 1990s, huge companies such as Gap and Nike were using industries “sweatshops” that use trafficked children to make their desired products.


Child labour refers to any work or activity that deprives children of their childhood. In effect, these are activities that are detrimental to the physical and mental health of children and that hinder their proper development. The International Labour Organization (ILO) defines child labor as work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children; and interferes with their schooling by: depriving them of the opportunity to attend school; obliging them to leave school prematurely; or requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.
Child labour includes:
• Child labour before the minimum legal age : The basic minimum legal age at which children are authorized to work is 15 years (14 in developing countries). For light work (only a few hours from time to time) the limit is fixed at 13 to 15 years (12-14 in developing countries). Finally, for hazardous work, the limit is pushed up to 18 years (16 years under certain conditions in developing countries).
• The worst forms of child labour :This encompasses all forms of slavery or similar practices such as forced labour, trafficking, debt bondage, serfdom. It also includes illicit activities and/or activities likely to endanger the safety, health, and morals of children, such as prostitution, pornography, forced or compulsory recruitment for armed conflict, drug trafficking, etc.
• Hazardous work : This encompasses domestic tasks carried out over long hours in an unhealthy environment, in dangerous places requiring the use of dangerous tools or materials, or forcing the child to carry objects that are too heavy.
Certain activities are not considered labour or exploitation. Activities which simply involve helping parents to complete everyday family chores, to which children can dedicate a few hours a week and which permit them to earn some pocket money, are not considered child exploitation because they do not hinder their well being.

Child labour in India:
The use of child labour is very prevalence in India and the cause is deep rooted with poverty. UNICEF India has estimated 28 million children aged five to fourteen involved in work (UNICEF,2011) Child labour is not a new phenomenon in India where children has always worked. During the industrial revolution child labour increased, due to the shift of labour movements to colonial countries. Children can be found in every sector of the informal economy (Molanka,2008).The incidence of working children in India are engaged in hazardous occupations such as factories manufacturing diamonds, fireworks, silk and carpets, glass and bricks. There are several factors that force children to work such as inadequate economic growth, poverty, unemployment over population and lack of education and health care.
On school attendance in India a large number of children between ten to fourteen years of age are not enrolled in school because of household economic condition. Attendance in school or dropout differs for male and female while boys are more likely to provide financial income for the family, girls are more involved in household chores (Kakoli & Sayeed ,2013).High illiteracy and dropout rates are high in India due to inadequacy of the educational system. Even through many poor families don’t see education as a benefit to society, they consider that work develops skills that can be used to earn income (Ahmed, 2012).


The difficulty of tasks and harsh working are the following:
• Working conditions create a number of problems such as premature ageing, malnutrition, depression, drug dependency etc.
• From disadvantaged backgrounds, minority groups, or abducted from their families, these children have no protection. Their employers do whatever necessary to make them completely invisible and are thus able to exercise an absolute control over them. These children work in degrading conditions, undermining all the principles and fundamental rights based in human nature.
• Additionally, a child who works will not be able to have a normal education and will be doomed to become an illiterate adult, having no possibility to grow in his or her professional and social life.
• In certain cases, child labour also endangers a child’s dignity and morals, especially when sexual exploitation is involved, such as prostitution and child pornography.
• Furthermore, a child who works will be more exposed to malnutrition. These children are often victims of physical, mental, and sexual violence.

Some international instruments have specific provisions concerning the trafficking of children. The Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), and the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution, and Child Pornography (2000), prohibit trafficking in children for any purpose, including for exploitive and forced labour. Article 39 of the CRC requires States to “take all appropriate measures to promote physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of a child victim of: any form of neglect, exploitation, or abuse.” The CRC also requires States to recognize the right of every child to education (Article 28) and “to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health” (Article 24). The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Sale of Children specifies particular forms of protection and assistance to be made available to child victims.
Additionally, the ILO’s Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention (Convention No. 182 of 1999) prohibits perpetrators from using children under 18 years of age for all forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, trafficking, debt bondage, serfdom, forced or compulsory labour, and prostitution. Article 7(2)(b) and (c) requires States to take effective and timely measures to provide for the rehabilitation and social integration of former victims of the worst forms of child labour, including trafficking, as well as to ensure their access to free basic education, and, wherever possible and appropriate, vocational training.


Constitutional Provision
The Indian Constitution specifically bans the traffic in persons. Article 23, in the Fundamental Rights section of the constitution, prohibits “traffic in human beings and other similar forms of forced labor”. Though there is no concrete definition of trafficking, it could be said that trafficking necessarily involves movement /transportation, of a person by means of coercion or deceit, and consequent exploitation leading to commercialization. The abusers, including the traffickers, the recruiters, the transporters, the sellers, the buyers, the end-users etc., exploit the vulnerability of the trafficked person.
Anti Child Trafficking Laws
The 1949 Convention against trafficking gave rise to the first Indian law against trafficking-
The Suppression of Immoral Traffic Women & Girls Act 1956. Other legislation relations to child trafficking are:

1. Children (Pledging of Labor) Act, 1933

2. Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act 1956

3. Child Labor (Prohibition And Regulation) Act, 1986

4. Section 366,360B,372,373,370 of Indian Penal Code.

The judiciary has interpreted the aforesaid laws, in following landmark cases. It was categorically stated in Public at Large Vs. The State of Maharashtra and Ors by H’onble High Court of Bombay that the traffic in children is not confined only to what larger scale than innocent Members of this House may be aware – in what is known as White Slave traffic, namely, the buying and selling of young women including minor girl for export or import, from one set of countries to another; and their permanent enslavement or servitude to an owner or proprietor of the establishments of commercialized. In addition to this it was held by H’onble Supreme Court that a proper cell be created by Women and Child Welfare Department of the State of Maharashtra in order to rehabilitated victim of trafficking in society. On the same thought of line, it was observed in the Prerana Vs. State of Maharashtra & Ors that children who are being likely to be grossly abused, tortured or sold for the purpose of sexual abuse or illegal acts they will have to be produced before the Child Welfare Committee. Furthermore, the H’onble High Court of Bombay gave directions to state for Rehabilitation these victims of trafficking. In Vishal Jeet vs. Union of India H’onble Supreme Court issued directions to the state Government for setting up rehabilitate homes for children found begging in streets and also the minor girls pushed into ‘flesh trade’ to protective homes.


The India government has established various proactive policies towards elimination of child labour. India has not yet ratified ILO Conventions 138 and 182 on banning child labour and eliminating the worst forms of exploitation. However the government of India implemented a child labour law in 1986(The Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act) the legislation sets a minimum age for employment of children at fourteen years and forbid child labour in dangerous sectors. The Government prohibits forced and bonded child labour but is not able to enforce this prohibition. The Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act does not forbid child labour but consider about regulating it.But indeed the law does not eliminate all forms of child labour specially when the vast majority of children under the age of fourteen are working in family farms or doing households (Venkatarangaiya Foundation;2005).

India has a number of child labour projects which have been implemented to help children from hazardous occupations and provide them an education. Including the National Child Labour Policy (NCLP) started in 1987. The aim of NCLP is to help children in hazardous activities and provide non-formal education, vocational training, supplementary nutrition etc. The ILO IPEC (International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour) is also another progarmme which eliminate child labour, the programme sponsors 175 projects in India(Padmanabhan,2010 )
Furthermore, several NGOs like Care India, Child Rights and You, Global March against Child Labour, etc. have taken up the task to get the children back to school and also volunteers along with villagers. The MV Foundation is non-governmental organisation (NGO) whose mission is to tackle child labour through promoting elementary education, even approaching parents to send their children to school. In spite of various laws regarding child labour and much efforts done by the non-governmental organizations, nonetheless children continue to work on a massive scale in most parts of the country. This is a problem because most child labour laws in India do not cover all types of work such as agriculture, wholesale trade, restaurants and domestic works. Usually these children are the most vulnerable child labourers (Venkatarangaiya Foundation;2005).
Despite these efforts, child labour legislation to protect children has been unsuccessful, this is because of the majority of Indian population lives in rural areas with lack of infrastructure and is difficult to enforcement of laws and policies in rural areas. Many of the policies and legislative tools in India are rooted deeply in defection, allowing for illegal behaviours to take advantage of flaws. Many people believe that the cause of these behaviours is something technical, it will be shown that there is a relative heavy percentage of human omitting factor involved, often arising from the mentioned attitudes.