Every year, millions of children across the world are becoming innocent helpless targets of atrocities. They are the sufferers of ill-treatment, exploitation, and brutality. They are part of human trafficking to induce into prostitution rackets. In terror prone regions, they are kidnapped from their homes and schools and their innocent childhood is forced into the army to witness the brunt of cruelty. They are enforced into debt repression or other kinds of slavery.
The consequences of child abuse are overwhelmingly disturbing! It denies a child its basic right-education. While violence and abuse pose a threat to their life, it also offers more devastating adverse effects on their mental and physical health. Often it leads to homelessness, resulting in increased number of cases of vagrancy giving birth to a feeling of depression. To worsen the scenario, these victims are more likely to abuse their own children in future, thanks to the deep impact on their mind! And the cycle will continue forever!!
Though the agony and the plight of these children remain suppressed in silence, the brunt of their exploitation is very real. Although, the whole world is morally fuming at the abuse children endure. Yet, protection laws against child abuse commonly meet with confrontation at all strata of society. The reason behind this is simple. Most forms of child abuse take place in private and are linked with crime and corruption. It is simply observed as "secretly endured and openly denied".
Several international standards and laws have been created and enforced for protection of child from abuse. However, massive loop holes are still there in their practical implementation. The situation has sadly remained status quo. Of late, UNICEF has identified and concentrated its focus on six special conditions in which children get abused.
Forced or Bonded Labor
International Labor Organization (ILO) has carried a survey that revealed a shocking statistic. An estimated 300 million children are exploited regularly as child labor. To worsen the fact, around 200 million children are compelled to work in perilous environment with least safety norms like mines or factories, or in the vicinity of dangerous substances such as chemicals and agricultural pesticides. There are some 6 million children working under particularly terrible conditions, including the virtual slavery of bonded labor.
The use of children as a service for the purpose of cheap labor or sex has become a rewarding trade around the world since ages. Every year, an estimated 1.2 million children are illegally trafficked for these heinous purposes. It is difficult to identify and locate as it is associated with isolated, underground activity like other forms of criminal activity. It is also related with the poverty of parents and often they are not aware of its hazards, believing that their children might have the chance for a better life outside their own poverty ridden lives. Frequently, trafficked children are detained and treated as unlawful aliens. In Asia and Eastern Europe, young girls from the age of 12 are trafficked in western Asia as 'potential brides' to satisfy the lures of few. Many girls are lured and then compelled to work in flesh industry every coming day.
Although it is hard to enumerate, around 1 million children including significant number of boys are exploited every year in the multibillion-dollar flesh trade. Commercial sexual abuse of children is often initiated and encouraged by local elements. Statistically, sexual tourism plays very minor role, contrary to the earlier perception. However, The Internet is emerging as the potential stimulator to promote child pornography globally and this has become a cause of concern. Studies have revealed that children are most often sexually abused by their closed ones.
Reports of UNICEF studies have shown that around 2 million children have died as a direct result of war, armed conflict over the last decade. At least 6 million children are suffering from serious injuries or they are permanently disabled. At present, over 300,000 child soldiers, some as young as eight, are exploited in armed conflicts in more than 30 countries around the world.
Separation from Parents
They are deprived of their primary means of protection. This category includes children who have lost their parents or care takers temporary or permanently due to varied reasons like outcome of war, orphanage, boarding schools, and psychiatric units. Separation from parents and family is usually detrimental factor to the overall physical and mental development of a child. In addition, induction in such institutions is quite risky. Involuntary separation from both family and community protection, greatly increases a child's risk of exposure to violence, physical abuse and even death.
From schools to homes, various forms of punishments and torture are a common thing to locate. It occurs in every strata of community. The results are more disturbing. They carry this pain and burnt throughout their life. This type also carries the risk of life in certain cases along with permanent injuries.
Child abuse is a curse, a menace ever happened to humanity. Let us join hands to curb it.