Child trafficking can be defined as any person under 18 who is illegally recruited, transported, transferred, harboured or received by threats, force, and coercion or inducing fear for the purpose of exploitation, either within or outside a country. Child trafficking is a common malpractice in India. Child exploitation is done for several reasons. Some of the primary reasons are:
Young girls are sold to older men who marry these girls or sell them to other men.
Indian laws do not have a legal definition of child trafficking. The Immoral traffic (Prevention) Act deals only with trafficking of minors for prostitution. However, other laws are present which can assist in child trafficking – Indian Penal Code, Juvenile Justice Act 2000, Andhra Pradesh Devadasi’s (Prohibition of Dedication) Act, 1988, Bombay Prevention of Begging Act etc.
Panchayat members can help prevent trafficking in many ways. They can generate awareness amongst parents about child trafficking and the risks and dangers involved; they should keep a record of families in the village migrating to cities; if a child goes missing, then panchayat members should immediately inform the nearest police station and seek legal assistance.