Berhampur: At least 300 children from Ganjam, Gajapati and Kandhamal districts of Odisha have been trafficked without a trace, a report published in leading Odia news portal Dharitri said quoting sources in an NGO.
While the NGO report shows 300 kids — both boys and girls — missing, it is suspected that the numbers could be higher.
The NGO suggests that a number of girls have been trafficked to other states for marriage, to work as domestic help and as child labourers.
Despite repeated warnings by the Human Rights Commission and Supreme Court, the state government has failed to bring an end to child trafficking in these tribal-dominated districts.
Highlighting the causes, the report says that children from poor background are often the victims of trafficking.
The traffickers often lure the family members of the poor children on the pretext of good employment opportunities in businesses, offices and shops that provides a good salary and traffic them. After reaching their destination, they are instead engaged as labourers in brick-kilns and forced to work under extreme conditions without any pay and sometimes food.
Besides, young children are put to begging on the streets and washing dishes at eateries. Reports of inhuman treatments by their employers are way too common.
Worse is the plight of girl child. In most cases, they are taken on promise of lucrative job with good pay, but they are often sold to older men for marriage. In some cases, they are forced into prostitution.
With most of their families being illiterate and unaware of their rights, they fail to contact the traffickers for whereabouts of their children or approach the cops for justice. On the other hand, without any support of administration and police, they have to run from pillar to post whenever they do.
The government has launched several schemes to protect the children in these districts, but nothing so far seems to have worked.