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Satyarthi to flag off awareness rally against child trafficking

 GUWAHATI, Sept 2 - Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi will flag off an awareness march against child trafficking and sexual abuse from the city in September, as part of a nationwide campaign of his foundation to fight this social menace.

 With the recent data reflecting an alarming situation in Assam and other north-eastern states in cases of human trafficking, child marriage and sexual abuse, many local stakeholders have joined this campaign launched by the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation to mobilise local NGOs, community organisations and also government departments.

The Guwahati leg of the march will be flagged off by Satyarthi from Gauhati University, which would reach Bongaigaon and Dhubri, and will reach Siliguri on September 27.

The march, supported by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will start from Kanyakumari on September 11 and culminate in New Delhi on October 16.

According to Hasina Kharbhih, founder of the NGO Impulse whose motto is to make India safer for children, the entire exercise aims at mass awareness generation among different communities and government agencies.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau and the National Family Health Survey-3, child marriage is a cause of concern in Assam with 1, 28,554 girls and 1,34,214 boys being married off before their legal age.

The report also highlights the per cent share of Protection of Children against Sexual Offences (POCSO) cases where the perpetrator was known to the survivor, which stands at 93 per cent. Assam also registers 1,317 such cases, which account for 38 per cent of the national figure.

“These numbers are merely indicative of the amount of child trafficking that takes place. In several other cases which go unreported, children are sold multiple times and forced to endure physical, mental and sexual assault, consistently,” Kharbhih stated.

Professor Mridul Hazarika, Vice Chancellor of Gauhati University, also said that to uproot this social menace all segments of society must come together and act at their levels against child abuse and trafficking.

“Violence against children in any form, is unacceptable. This menace will see a decline only when the citizens of our country come forward and declare their zero tolerance against such crimes,” Hazarika added.

Kailash Satyarthi has been campaigning for the freedom, safety and security of children across the globe for the past 36 years. He had led the historic Global March Against Child Labour in 1998 that prompted the ILO to pass international conventions against the worst forms of child labour, in addition to the Shiksha Yatra in 2001, after which the Right to Education was included as a fundamental right in the Constitution of India.

He won the Nobel Peace Prize (2014) for his continuous efforts and struggle for the rights of children.

The rally is the launch of the three-year campaign against child rape and child sexual abuse which is aimed at increasing awareness and reporting of the cases, strengthening institutional response, including medical health and compensations, ensuring protection for victims and witnesses during trials and increasing conviction of child sexual abuse cases in a time-bound manner.

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