It is estimated that over 40 million children in the country are forced into child labour. There are thousands of child abuse cases that either remain pending or have no satisfactory outcome. In the presence of statistics such as this, it becomes important to take up steps that ensure that every child leads a healthy, safe and nurturing life. The need for Child Protection in India is imminent. Even though there are several legal frameworks laid down to reduce child exploitation, their safety is still compromised due to the lack of resources, awareness and proper protection and rehabilitation services.

In India, Health, education, nutrition and safety still remain a challenge for most children to access. Child labour, one of our country’s biggest peril, puts the safety and well-being of countless underprivileged children at risk. While child marriage in the country has seen a considerable decline, several young girls are still married before they even pass the legal age of 18. Several cases of sexual violence against children go unreported. All of these untoward issues associated with the safety and well-being of the children are important to address.

Rights of children

The constitution of the country has laid down guidelines for child protection in India, and it considers it the responsibility of the state to provide opportunities and security to the children. Every child in India, irrespective of their caste, creed, gender or social status, is entitled to certain rights to protect them from any form of harm or abuse. These rights include:

Right to be Protected from Violence
Right to an Opinion
Right to be Protected from Exploitation
Right to Identity
Right to Education
Right to Health
Right to Family Life
Right to be Protected from Armed Conflict

These rights have been laid down to protect children who are at risk of violence, harm or any type of abuse. At the ground level, human resources are required for the implementation of the rules and regulations. Children are trained to fight against barriers that violate any of the rights mentioned above.

Child Protection Laws in India

Several policies have been laid down by the government over the years. These work towards providing child protection in India and ensuring that no child is exposed to a situation that puts their safety, well-being or growth at risk. All of these child protection laws have been put into effect to ensure that no child has to face situations that compromise their health, overall development or future.

Children Pledging of Labour Act, 1933
Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act, 1986
Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, 1987
Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006
Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009
Protection of Children from Sexual Offences, 2012
Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015

Government Policies such as National Policy for Children, 2013 and the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, 2007 work towards providing every child with a life that is free of neglect, abuse and exploitation in any form. While several such laws and regulations have been laid down by the government, they lack implementation. This results in a majority of underprivileged children succumbing to the evils of society. To help children secure better opportunities for their future, there is a need for providing them proper training, education and access to resources to lead a safe life. There is a significant need for the promotion of child protection policies in India.

Satyarthi’s fight against child exploitation

Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation (KSCF) is working tirelessly to ensure that the laws and regulations laid down for child protection in India are actually applied in day to day life. KSCF has been at the forefront of the fight against child exploitation. With a vision of providing every child with an opportunity to lead a safe and secure life, the foundation strives to help them realize their true potential. The social development of the nation largely depends on the safety of the children. While KSCF has come a long way in helping children lead a better quality of life, the journey ahead is a long and challenging one.

Providing high-quality education and nutritional care to children from all backgrounds is another objective of the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation. The foundation strives to help any child in need of protection or care to the best of its ability. Every child, irrespective of their background, deserves to be treated with dignity and love. It is in the absence of these two that children are exposed to situations that may have dangerous consequences. By providing preventative and rehabilitation care to children from downtrodden families, the foundation wishes to guide children onto a better path. Enabling social and economic security for children from underprivileged sections of the society is KSCF’s primary motive.

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Author's Bio: 

Hey, i am Vishal Mahour from New Delhi, India.