TOPICS: Children at risk

After the massive earthquake in Nepal Children are more at risk of trafficking, exploitation and being sent illegally to orphanage home.

Millions of families lost their homes after two earthquakes struck on April 25 and May 12, killing more than 8,800 people and raising concerns of trafficking especially in the affected regions.

According to concerned body every year thousands of children are trafficked into India to work in prostitution and as child laborers, and the situation may deteriorate as traffickers target newly vulnerable children following the earthquakes.

Victims may also be more easily convinced and obliged to send children to orphanages leading exploitation and abuse because of worsening living conditions and loss of livelihoods.

Traffickers may induce the better future and education of children.

Children who have lost their families are extremely vulnerable, and it is important to seek alternative care rather than placing these children in institutions.

Many children in such institutions may experience neglect, violence, abuse and end up losing their family ties. Communities have to take care of their children.

Government also has to arrange new policies regarding adoptions upgrading the quality of existing institutions. Critical care is needed for children who have lost parents.

Generally children are neglected after disaster but they are also vulnerable. They are the matter of stress and anxiety in the family. They are most vulnerable of exploitation and abuse, such as child labor.

Girls are particularly vulnerable to trafficking, prostitution, sexual violence and forced marriage.

In this earthquake response, all government agencies and civil society actors have a role to play in ensuring the safety and protection of children. And children must be able to return to school as soon as possible.

It is necessary to provide children with a safe place to learn and receive support. So as response plans are developed and implemented, the needs of all children are critical.

We must listen to their views and act on their opinions regardless of gender and caste.

So, one of the best ways to protect children from being trafficked is to provide shelters to their parents, locally available job opportunities that can help them sustain and survive the natural disaster.

The law enforcing agencies should keep vigil of any persons or organizations that lure the unsuspecting children to join their shelters which will ultimately be a centre of abandonment.