Chandigarh, October 13: The problem of child abuse is as grave as the menace of drug addiction in Punjab.
This was stated by Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi while speaking at the Post Graduate Government College for Girls, Sector 42, Chandigarh.
He said, “The exploitation of children is rampant in Punjab. It is a matter of grave concern. In order to tackle the problem of drug menace, the state has to successfully tackle the problem of sexual abuse children.”
He said the problem of drug abuse in the state could be fallout of the long history of terrorism that had ruined the childhood of thousands of children.
“Every family has a gory tale of terrorism to share. All this had affected the childhood of many youngsters,” said Satyarthi.
Satyarthi, who is working for child rights since 1981, said the global number of child labourers in 1998 and 1999 stood at 26 crore which has been reduced to 15 crore.
He said the number school dropout children, which stood at 15 crore according to UNESCO, has also been reduced from to 6 crore in last 15 years. Satyarthi said he was also subjected to racism when he had initiated a global campaigning for child education.
“Words like —how a brown skinned man could lead a global campaign on child education? However, I did not let the criticism affect my work. Finally, it was the first time in the history of social moment that a person from India was elected by the entire world as the president of global campaign for children,” said Satyarthi.
He expressed anguish over the rising cases of sexual abuse of children. “I am peeved that 53 children are being sexually exploited everyday as per the survey. As we are talking for an hour, in the meantime two children may have been raped and eight children would have gone missing,” said Satyarthi.
“Shockingly, a majority of the children are being sexually abused by relatives. And it is more likely that such children will get hooked to drugs,” said Satyarthi.
“We have established institutions to protect child rights but we have to create a culture which is safe for a child,” he said. Satyarthi also praised Harjinder Kaur, Chairperson, Chandigarh Commission for Protection of Child Rights, for her relentless effort to end child labour in Chandigarh.