Children on the streets are at more risk than ever before: Who is taking care of them?
Children on the street, beggars, migrant child labourers have become the biggest victims of COVID19. According to a report released by the United Nations, children on streets are affected most by the Corona Crisis. They are far away from the terms like social distancing and sanitizer. According to the census of 2011, there are 10 million child labourers in India. This Pandemic has made conditions worst for child beggars, labours and children living on streets.
Notably, Bihar has the second most number of child labourers in India. Migrant Child labourers are too walking miles to reach their native villages. Pictures all over the internet are breaking heart. With no food, no money, they can’t even make a phone to tell their whereabouts to their families.
According to an estimated, there are around 70,000 street children in Delhi. Amid lockdown, everybody is advised to stay inside, but what about children on streets? Who is taking care of them? Are they in safe hands? Well, the answer is they are facing a tough time.
Ever since the lockdown was announced, the number of child abuse and violence has increased in India. As per the data by UNICEF, children exposed to domestic violence lies between 27.1 to 69 million. There are three lakh child beggars in India. According to a report in a leading daily, child helpline (1098) has received 4.6 lakh calls during the lockdown, and most of them were for food.
The chaos will make them more vulnerable to exploitation
Even after the chaos will get over, the economy of India will take a long time to revive, especially the informal sector. According to a report, usurious money lending and debt bondage will increase child labour from countryside as families are facing a lot of financial crunches. Cheap labour is going to be in demand once the lockdown will be lifted and child labourers are easiest to exploit.
Some are restoring faith in Humanity
Time is tough and there are millions who are suffering, but there are millions who are helping too. Different NGOs have come forward to help children, and some specifically work for them. Consortium for Street Children is an NGO working for welfare for the street children, check out their website to extend a helping hand.
Another NGO called – Railway Children India
They are making all possible endeavors to help the street children. Checkout their page and do your bit.
Here is a wonderful blog from the site of Railway Children India – It will give you an insight of the harsh reality.
What government should do?
It is important to track children. Shockingly, 80 percent of the children have no form of legal identity which makes them even more vulnerable to exploitation. An extensive raid is need of the hour. Government and civil society has to work in collaboration to make it easier for children on streets.
What we can do?
Call on 1098 if you find any child in trouble. You could end up saving a young life. Apart from it, you can reach out to these NGOs for help.
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