It has no more remained under the wraps that children are being ill-treated and hard-pressed for flesh trading, child labour, or they become a subject to other mental harassments. The ugly face of children being harassed and sexually exploited in the name of social work at various NGOs, child care homes, and orphanages across the state and Mumbai has come to the fore yet again as the Women and Child Development Ministry has shut down a large number of childcare homes in Maharashtra due to several reasons. However, such incidents of killing innocence of many kids have gazed many eyeballs as to why the government has not been able to put a persistent end to the ones who are a threat to the children in our country?
Moreover, this issue came into the light after the cases of abuse in a home in Bihar’s Muzzafarpur took place rampantly a few months ago. In retaliation to it, the WCD Ministry stepped up an action to crack down on non-compliant unregistered homes under the Juvenile Justice Act 2015, for violating the norms and irregularities. Later, in a detailed report ahead, it was disclosed that out of the 539 homes, 377 are in Maharashtra, followed by 78 in Andhra Pradesh and 32 in Telangana and 20 in Uttar Pradesh, which came as a shock, have been shuttered.
Criminal Advocate Abbas Kazmi commented, “The government is the licensing authority. If information about the abusive Child Care Homes has been brought to the notice of the government, then they have to take appropriate steps. The appropriate step could be revoking the license of the concerned organisation and such irregularities should be addressed properly.”
It seems that the WCD Ministry woke up almost a year late as per the Supreme Court’s deadline of December 31, 2017, for all unregistered childcare institutes to register. As per the media reports revealed in September this year, it has been unveiled that in Mumbai, a social audit has not been conducted for at least last three years.
“They are taking some temporary measures at this moment and perhaps, they will review it, a committee would be formed and the matter would be looked into seriously and some permanent solution would be formed,” Kazmi further added.
The reports further unfolded that the distribution of MDC homes in Maharashtra also remained unequal with 20 of 36 districts not having a single shelter home for mentally challenged children. It took six years for the Maharashtra government to increase the grant per child that TISS recommended in its 2011 report but yet the performance remains low and poor. In 2017-18, Maharashtra WCD increased grants for children in shelter homes from Rs 900 to Rs 2,000 per child, and from Rs 1,100 to Rs 2,500 for a child in MDC homes.
Social activist Abhijeet Rane shared his view stating that the entire community cannot be blacklisted as there are few organisations which are working for a good cause.
He further continued, “One cannot term all NGOs to be the same. I believe that there are some NGOs which are into wrong activities. I can suggest that there should be some committee or some government authority to monitor or have supervision on these activities and that there should be proper guidelines.”
Expressing concern over torture of children at shelter homes that has been revealed in the horrific cases especially, the Mumbai shelter homes that not only witnessed threats of sexual abuse to both boys and girls, they were also reeling under the burden of huge staff crunch, lack of trained employees, poor education support and physical abuse of children.
The city is the financial hub and a shelter to many homeless; the government, NGOs and several non-profit organisations are somehow being unable to resolve the exploitation and the rapid increase in mushrooming of children exploitation homes in the name of social work. They should help and find steps to keep the innocent ones out of the traps and not take away the joy of childhood which is not going to be experienced by them again!
Social activist Kumar Saptarshi said, “Long-term solution to this child abuse in NGOs should involve making a law and enforcing it. It’s the government’s fault. It can be stopped if the government vows to take care of the child. The capitalists won’t look beyond his/her profits. They will always choose the cheapest available labour. We are living in a Capitalist world and child labour has always been a part of it.”