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Child Abuse in Asia: Child slavery in Asia


SOCIAL AND CULTURAL ISSUES

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Shaju
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Default Child Abuse in Asia: Child slavery in Asia

Child abuse is a state of emotional, physical, economic and sexual maltreatment meted out to a person below the age of eighteen and is a globally prevalent phenomenon.

It has serious physical and psycho-social consequences which adversely affect the health and over-all well-being of a child. It may include physical or mental ill-treatment, sexual abuse, malnutrition and many others which are responsible for hindrance of a healthy growing body of a child.

Children who are normally born in poor families areoften subjected to work at shorter ages and are usually underpaid and harassed both mentally and physically. Child abuse is a violation of the basic human rights of a child and is an outcome of a set of inter-related, social, psychological and economic factors.

While certain child abuse and neglected issues are common in almost all countries at the global level such as physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional and psychological abuse, problems of street children, there are also many issues which are prevalent only in certain regions of the world.For instance, in Asia where population density is high, the issues of child labor and child sexual exploitation are also high.

The largest population of children in the world live in South Asia and majority of these children lack access to proper health care, nutrition and education. This reflects the socio-economic reality of the developing countries of the Asian region.

The main factors that contribute to the magnitude of the problem of child abuse are poverty,illiteracy, caste system and landlessness, lack of economic opportunities,rural-urban migration, population growth, political instability and weak implementation of legal provisions.

If we go through the stats regarding the rate of child harassment it throws an egregious remark on the face of Asian countries. WHO estimates that almost 53,000 child deaths in 2002 were due to child homicide. In the Global School-Based Student Health Survey carried out in a wide range of developing countries, between 20% and 65%of school going children reported having been verbally or physically bullied in school. Similar rates of bullying have been found in industrialized countries.

An estimated 150 million girls and 73 million boys under 18 have experienced forced sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual violence involving physical contact. Some states in India among which a large portion of it currently under poverty line are Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Manipur and Mizoram and among these states the cases of child abuse and exploitation are occurring at increasing rates. The need for awareness for the same is more in these states where education is not given any primary importance and children are forced to work at early stages of life.
Various surveys and studies have been carried out by India incorporating all the legal and ethical backgrounds in relation with the child exploitation. In 2007 India carried out a study which assumed that child abuse in India, as in other developing societies, is a phenomenon which is widespread and cuts across ethnic, social and economic boundaries.

The study aims to develop a comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon of child abuse in India, with a view to formulating appropriate policies and programs to prevent child abuse and to address related issues through community based program interventions. According to the researchers the only data on child abuse in India that are rather trustworthy are the data of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). The numbers of NCRB show a steep rise in the total number of crimes against children.

Several measures taken against the abuse include rescuing children from banned occupations and their repatriation and mainstreaming into appropriate education streams.

One of the major problems in understanding the scope of the subject of 'child abuse' is that it is extremely difficult to get responses from children on such a sensitive subject because of their inability to fully understand the different dimensions of child abuse and to talk about their experiences.Children in most sections of Indian society are traditionally and conventionally not consulted about matters and decisions affecting their lives.

In the family and household, the neighborhood and wider community, in school or in work place, and across the settings of social and cultural life, children's views are mostly not given much importance. If they do speak out, they are not normally heard. The imposition of restrictive norms is especially true for girl children. This limits children's access to information and to choice, and often to the possibility of seeking help outside their immediate circle.

It is therefore difficult to gather data on abusedchildren. In India, there is no law that specifically deals with child abuse and there is no clear delineation of sexual abuse in the Indian Penal Code.

Indian laws consider only “assault to outrage the modesty of a woman,” rape by penile penetration, and “unnatural sexual intercourse” like sodomy as punishable sexual crimes. It is a matter of mere shame that even today most of the children are considered not more than a money making machine.
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