India’s Taj Mahal
India’s top rights body NCPCR, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, has zeroed out 50 religious and top attraction places in the country, including Taj Mahal, Meenakshi Temple, and Shri Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya to be the sites where anti-child labor interventions would be implemented with zero tolerance outlook.
NCPCR said in a statement, “The intervention shall be undertaken in a collaborative manner with the involvement of multi-stakeholders including child welfare police officers, anti-human trafficking unit, representatives from NGOs/ CSOs and religious trust and groups.”
With an objective of combatting child labor and abuse of child rights, 50 religious places have been identified by the Commission where collaborative efforts would be undertaken. The places include Bodh Gaya, Khajuraho, Haji Ali Dargah, Rishikesh, Kumbh Mela, and Puri Jagannath Temple. The reason for this initiative as these places are seen to be sprawling with instances of ‘child begging, child labor, and children in street situations’.
NCPCR chairperson Priyank Kanoongo said that a survey was recently conducted by the body that included 200,000 street children, noting that pandemic has put more children at exploitation risk by organized gangs.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) has welcomed the initiative noting that about 10 million workers in the country are between the age of 5 and 14.
Andrew Sesuraj, convenor of the charity Tamil Nadu Child Rights Watch said, “Begging networks are very active in these spots, taking advantage of the Indian sentiment of doing charity once they come out after prayers.” He added, “Trafficking of young girls is also common in these places so any intervention that will protect children is welcome. This initiative has the potential to create great models that can be replicated in other parts.”
NCPCR would be utilizing online reporting portals and also create a dashboard where included indicators would help citizens to register reports. Along with it rehabilitation, prevention and curative procedures too would be included to promote the initiative’s success.
The creative partner for the initiative is New India Junction or ‘NIJ’ and the volunteering partner is ‘I-CAN’, a volunteer undertaking of Rambhau Malghi Prabodhini.