Child Marriage

Child marriage is a marriage or comparative association, formal or casual, between a kid and a grown-up or another kid under a particular age, normally age eighteen.[1] by far most of kid relationships are between a young lady and a man, and are established in sex imbalance.

Child marriage disregards the privileges of kids and has broad and long haul ramifications for kid ladies and kid grooms. For young ladies, notwithstanding psychological wellness issues and an absence of admittance to schooling and profession opportunities, this incorporates unfavorable well being impacts because of early pregnancy (counting teen pregnancy) and childbirth. There is little examination on young men in kid relationships, however consequences for young men incorporate being poorly ready for specific duties, for example, accommodating the family, early parenthood, and an absence of admittance to training and vocation opportunities. Child marriage is identified with kid pledge, and it incorporates common living together and court-supported early relationships after teen pregnancy.Causes of kid relationships incorporate neediness, lady of the hour value, settlement, social practices, strict and prevalent difficulties, local traditions, dread of the kid staying unmarried into adulthood, ignorance, and saw failure of ladies to work for money. Research demonstrates that far reaching sex instruction can assist with forestalling kid marriage.

Child marriage has enduring outcomes on young ladies, from their well being (mental and physical), training and social advancement perspectives. These results last past adolescence. One of the most well-known reasons for death for young ladies matured 15 to 19 in non-industrial nations was pregnancy and childbirth. In Niger, which is assessed as having the most noteworthy pace of youngster marriage on the planet, around 3 of every 4 young ladies wed before their eighteenth birthday celebration.

INDIAN SCENARIO OF CHILD ABUSE

In a nation wide survey on child abuse across 13 states of India report released in 2007 by Ministry of Women and child development Government of India in which 12447 children participated, more than half, 53.22% subjected to one or more forms of sexual abuse. The age wise distribution showed abuse started at 5,gained momentum 10 years onwards, peaking at 12 to 15 years. In 9 out of 13 states reported higher percentage of sexual abuse in boys as compared to girls, Delhi reporting a figure of 65.64% boys. Children at work faced the highest at 61.61%.Out of the total children interviewed 20.90% were subjected to Severe form including sexual assault. Preadolescent to Adolescent children seemed to be more at risk of suffering Severe form. It was also distributing to note that age 6 to 10 years also face severe form of sexual abuse.

Assam, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar reported maximum sexual abuse. There is no legislation on child physical abuse but its moral duty of all adults to report the abuse and stop further harm to the child.

Child sexual abuse is a Universal problem with grave life long outcomes. Is a complex life experience, not a diagnosis or a disorder. An array of sexual activities is covered by the term CSA.

After the enactment of the new law “Protection of child against sexual offences (POCSO) Act 2012” the concept and management of child sexual abuse (CSA) in India has changed a lot safeguarding best interest of the child in every respect at each step including rehabilitation, compensation and all legal procedure.

This law applies to all persons up to 18 years of age, is gender neutral, gives set of guidelines for all the stakeholders to perform their role as even the maintaining silence to allow sexual abuse to happen to the child is a crime and punishable offence under the law of the land, law of the land does not allow consensual sex to any person under 18 years of age, there is provision of mandatory reporting to the police under the Act.

The first step towards prevention is awareness and save the child from further abuse. Hence, stringent measures should be taken for the prevention and control of this hidden public health issue.

The abuser can be of any age, gender and socio – economic class, at times can be a family member. Sexual abuse may not be necessarily penetration, force, pain, or even touching. Most sexual abusers know the child they abuse.

World wide reports have indicated boys are equally abused as girls and have suggested that protective shield should be provided not only to the girls but also to the boys right since they are born. Children can be sexually abused even by their lawful guardians.

COVID-19 pandemic may lead to rise in child trafficking

The nationwide lockdown which was imposed in the nation to stop the spread of novel coronavirus can lead to a spike in child trafficking cases because of pandemic induced economic crisis.

The increased insecurity, financial constraints, and marginalization induced by COVID-19 are key drivers for families grasping onto straws of survival for pushing children into trafficking.  From states: Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Maharashtra, Telangana, West Bengal, and Jharkhand cases have come up.

Since poignant reality has hit the migrant laborers, that poverty and hunger await them, many will be forced into a vicious debt cycle at predatory interest rates because of their dire financial situations, which will prove to be a fertile ground for child traffickers.

Children are trafficked first and then placed in labor, either forced or for a sub-minimal wage. However, the most unfortunate ones especially young girls are forced into sexual exploitation.

Ever since the lockdown has come into place, the traffickers have become active and have started approaching potential victims and families and even handling out advanced payments for their children. Not just this, once lockdown is lifted and normal manufacturing activity resumes. Factory owners will look to cover their losses by employing cheap labor and the easiest way of doing this is by employing child labor.

For this, policing alone would not be the solution and the problem of child trafficking persists because there is a ready market for child labor. The contractor who is engaged in supplying labor should be kept under strict vigilance in a bid to prevent child trafficking and child labor.

The apex court has contemplated setting up an expert committee to address this issue.

The business of commercial sexual exploitation which took a downturn due to lockdown restrictions would look for innovative ways to be back in the business and overcome the losses by engaging younger girls as they fetch more money. Underage girls will be sold into prostitution and the number of street children will be pushed into begging will also give up.

With the transportation be resumed, child laborers will be sent back home by their employers armed with fake id and documents. Children working in hazardous occupations are at a higher risk now since no employee will reveal their identities and numbers as employing them is a criminal offense.

There are reports that 136 minor girls have been married in Bengal as the agricultural class in the state had only lost the livelihood due to lockdown but was hit by Cyclone Amphan.

It has been found that in 115 districts of Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, and Delhi where many families were rendered jobless, child trafficking and middlemen have become active. Middlemen have started making advance payments to poor families without livelihood for taking their children in the promise of providing employment or getting them married.

Over 39 crore – of unorganized and migrant workers on the fringes or outside the socio-economic security umbrella, are the most vulnerable. This makes them the easiest target for the organized crime network. Hundreds of thousands of children will be enslaved. A large number of these laborers will be children, forced out of school, bearing the burden of sustaining their families. Thousands of children will likely be trafficked across the country to work in manufacturing units where they will be paid meagre to no wages and will most likely face extreme physical, mental, and sexual violence.

Pornhub, the largest pornography platform in the world, has seen a 20-time jump in India, from 0.9% on February 24 to 18.1% as on March 16. A large segment of this ‘content’ includes trafficked children who are exploited to create pornographic material. Adults and children who consume this content are likely to ‘normalize and fetishize’ child rape and sexual violence, which may translate into offline sexual violence.

As the central and state governments struggle to contain the immediate health and economic challenges, a great amount of planning must go into dealing with the imminent impact of this crisis, especially in terms of the safety of the most vulnerable children.