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Action plan ready to fight commercial sexual exploitation of children
National meet stresses on technology for better enforcement
ActIT Jammu, Projects, Java,, C# Training Jammu
The first National Level Consultative Meet on choking demand for commercial sexual exploitation of children has resolved to create an inter ministerial framework to ensure better and effective implementation of policy pronouncements on the ground.

The National Level Consultative Meet held recently, is a first of its kind of initiative that attempted to bring key stakeholders within and outside the Government on one platform to deliberate a way out of the current environment of lack of enforcement teeth which has led to proliferation of commercial sexual exploitation of children.

The meet, which deliberated on various facets of the issue, has firmed up a national action plan with the child at the centre of its focus. Proposed to be helmed by the Prime Minister's Office, this will be a network which would bind inter governmental departments such as the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) closely with different Government agencies such as the CBI ,working in close conjunction.

With choking demand for children in commercial sexual exploitation at its core, this framework is expected to result in prioritization of the issue in terms of the discourse at the national and at the level of the Central and State Governments.

"This is not just a WCD issue. WCD can and should take the initiative but the need of the hour is to create an inter-ministerial framework to take this forward", opined Mr. Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Member of Parliament.

Mr. Chandrasekhar, who chaired the meeting, also articulated the view that technology can play the role of an enabler in sharing intelligence and data when it comes to not just commercial sexual exploitation of children but also of other child related crimes.

""We already have a Nat grid which really enables information sharing on terror related issues. Why can't we have a child grid replicated on similar lines which will ensure inter agency coordination and intelligence sharing something which will lend to better enforcement", remarked the Member of Parliament.

Inadequate data was a key element on which there was complete consensus that poor and insufficient crime records plague this sector. The problem, many speakers said, was compounded because the official data is itself inadequate due to issues such as stigmatization, fear, police apathy and the like.

It was mooted that better information coordination systems on a digital platform be set up and maintained while at the SHO level, there should be consistent data available on 'history sheeters'- an imperative given the fact that repeat offenders mostly operate with impunity.

A key theme that resonated throughout the conference was that there was no paucity of laws as far as Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children are concerned. However, lack of awareness and sensitization to the issue as also inadequate enforcement and deterrence seemed to be plaguing all efforts to deal effectively with the problem.

This was an area which was also intensely debated and Mr. Dilip Kumar, Joint Secretary of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs weighed in to say that enforcement capacities are stretched with the police and most of India's investigative agencies and though ''the typical response is to hold the police and the MHA to book, yet capacity building, especially at the grass roots level and greater sensitization are the needs of the hour''.

Ms. Chhaya Sharma, DG, NHRC (National Human Rights Commission), elaborated on the above and explained the systemic and operational lacunae that police officers grapple which include lack of funds for rehabilitation of victims as also inadequate incentives which constrain effective police operations in this area. Another key issue that was discussed at length at the meeting was the role of the judiciary.

Ms. Jyotika Kalra, Member, NHRC in her closing remarks called for enhanced centre-state and agency to agency coordination for better results on the ground. She also opined that policy actions by central and state level authorities need to be backed by high visibility media campaigns to create and sustain awareness of the issue and elevate the theme to the centre of national discourse. This in turn will prompt policy makers to elevate the issue to the status of a national public policy priority, she said.

—(IPA Service)

News Updated at : Tuesday, July 11, 2017
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