BY Ms. K.N. PREYADHARSHNE
Women empowerment has become the motto of every nation around the world. We strive hard to pull women a step forward. But the bitter fact is that all these words are put only in the paper but not in the performance. Even in this digital world women are being looked upon only as some property rather than a living being. In many cases, people around her, seek for a path to monetize her and never give some attention to her inner self. Women are forced into the sex industry because of lot many reasons. But the worst part of all is that even girl children are forced into prostitution. At a very tender age, when they are in the thirst of quest for knowledge, they are coerced to do with tons of makeup. When it comes to India, age is never a bar for prostitution!
2.DEFINITION OF ‘CHILD PROSTITUTION’:
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1990, defines child prostitution as “sexual exploitation of a child below the age of 18 for remuneration in cash or kind”, usually but not always organized by an intermediary (parent, family, members, procurer, etc,).The child prostitution is closely connected with child pornography.
3.FACTORS FOR CHILDREN BEING PULLED INTO PROSTITUTION:
There are many reasons for children becoming prostitutes like economic crises, unequal socio-economic structure, family disintegration, harmful tradition and religious practices etc. These child prostitutes are purchased, sold, hired and thrown away after use. They are just seen as a commodity and not as a living being. Sr.Rozario has interviewed 3000 child prostitutes in India and gave an analysis on it[i]. Her analysis shows us why little girls are being made prostitutes.
Firstly, they were raped and neither their family nor the society is ready to accept them. Secondly, pimps are constantly on the lookout for the destitute people who are ready to sell their children for prostitution.
The POCSO Act 2012 addresses the sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children. This act defines different forms of sexual abuse and gives what are all the punishments for it. In order to avoid the re-victimization of the child, this act directs the special courts to conduct the trial in camera, without revealing the identity of the child. The importance of the act is that it stipulates that a case on the sexual abuse of a child must be disposed within a year from the date the offence is reported. The ultimate part of the act is that it entitles upon every person a legal duty which means a person who has knowledge that a child has been sexually abused should report the offence. If he didn’t then he will be punished[ii].
5.CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD, 1989:
This Convention is relevant in the context of child prostitution. Article 34 of this convention says that the ‘State Parties should undertake measures to protect the child from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse.’
Some specific acts such as The Suppression of Immoral Traffic act, Children (Pledging of Labor) act, Indian Penal Code, Juvenile Justice Act play a very important role in protecting the children from sexual abuse.
6.WHAT CAN BE DONE TO PREVENT THE SEXUAL OFFENCES ON CHILDREN?
Laws alone are not the solution to it. Many practical measures are needed to prevent the sexual offences on children.
FIRSTLY, all parents should be friendly to their kids. They should teach their children what to do and what not to do and also teach them how to act when a person misbehaves to them. Primary sex education is the best step towards prevention of sexual abuse.
SECONDLY, Awareness programs by both the government and NGO. In many places the parents itself force their kids into prostitution or they itself abuse their children, such offenders should be punished first. Then those who perform it in the name of caste or religion must be prevented from continuing it.
THIRDLY, Children who were victims of sexual abuse should be rescued or else there is a risk that they may be abused again.
FOURTHLY, Change starts from us. So each and everyone should initiate a step towards protection of children from sexual offences.
Economic instability is the major cause for girl children becoming sex workers. Until there is a change in their livelihood, girls are still going to suffer. The best part is that Information Technology Act, 2000 provides for a strict punishment against child pornography. India also has other laws that strongly prevent sexual abuse against the children. Similarly, if a our country comes up with a law that provides severe punishment to those who force children into prostitution, then all the girl children in our country could lead a prosperous life.
[i] ROZARIO, Sr.R.M, TRAFFICKING IN WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN INDIA, (Uppal Publishing House , New Delhi) (1988). [ii] Model guidelines of The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 , No. 32, Acts of Parliament, 2012 (India).