Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi today said sexual offences against children in India was on the rise and there was a need to build a public movement to deal with the situation. He also announced to launch a campaign against sexual abuse and trafficking of children, the date of which would be announced later. “The cases of child sex abuse have been increasing in India. Last year, 15,000 cases were registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), but only one per cent of the accused were punished. Teachers, school bus drivers, other members of school staff and relatives (of victims) were among those involved in such crimes,” he said.
“We would need to build a public movement to deal with this sad situation. Our focus would be on school and college students besides faith leaders. I am also meeting chief ministers of various states to seek their support for this campaign,” he added. Satyarthi, joint winner of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize with Malala Yousafzai, said every sixth child in the world is a victim of armed conflicts, while over three crore children were living as refugees. Over 10,000 children who took shelter in Europe were missing, he said. Talking about children in conflict zones, he expressed concern over increasing incidents of use of children use as “human shield” in Kashmir.
In India, a child goes missing every eight minutes; while world-over 150 trillion dollars change hands in child trafficking every year, he said. The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, which deals with offence of trafficking, lacks teeth, Satyarthi said. “We are in discussion with the government to bring in a new, strong law,” he added. Annual global defence expenditure is estimated to be 2 trillion dollars, while only 22 billion dollars are needed for the education of children, he said, adding “all the children of the world can be educated on one week’s military expenses.”