Nearly all street children in India face abuse, study shows
Fri Jul 19, 2013 6:45AM
Most of the street children in big cities of India belong to migrant families from small places, entering in the hope of finding employment.
A new study shows that nearly every Indian child living on the streets is exposed to violence and abuse, with the majority being victims of police harassment, Press TVreports.
The majority of children living on the streets of India are repeatedly exposed to maltreatment ranging from child labor, child trafficking, sexual exploitation, and many other forms of violence and abuse, according to a report released on July 16 by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India.
The report, A Situational Analysis of Street Children in Metro Cities, also states that one in every four children living in difficult conditions in metropolitan cities of India fall victim to substance abuse. More than half of the kids are illiterate.
“Children are always considered to be the most vulnerable for any kind of abuse and exploitation. Those who end up in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, etc. they have no proper shelter, they have no protection, because this is the utter failure of all Indian laws and schemes related to children,” said Kailash Satyarthi, with the Save the Childhood movement.
Most of the street children in big cities belong to migrant families from small places, entering in the hope of finding employment, the report said.
Child rights activists have censured the Indian government for its lax policies regarding neglected children, including the National Policy on Child Labour. They say the government has failed to do enough to stop the growing epidemic of homeless children.
“There is a specific law, the Juvenile Justice Act, which considers all such children as children in need of care and protection. But this care and protection has never been provided by the state and that’s why they have to live in these situations, because the police is also corrupt and the police tried to abuse these children - sometimes they were sexually abused by the police as well,” said Satyarthi.
According to the United Nations, there are 11 million street children in India - the highest number in the world. However, independent figures estimate that the number is approximately 20 million.