Satyarthi launches online campaign against child sex abuse

Even as the national lockdown to avert the coronavirus contagion continues, Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi has launched an online campaign, urging the authorities to ensure that attention should be paid to keep children safe at home, as there is a "greater threat of sexual abuse, online abuse and trafficking" during this crisis period.

Launching the campaign, Satyarthi tweeted, "We may feel safe in our homes during the Covid-19 lockdown, but our children in homes, shelters and on the internet are at serious risk. There is a greater threat of sexual abuse, online abuse and trafficking. Let us come together and keep children safe at home".

The online campaign, especially on social media under the hashtag #KeepChildrenSafeAtHome by the Kailash Satyarthi Children's Foundation (KSCF), focuses on child vulnerability during the lockdown period.

A KSCF statement said, children might get exposed to dangers both in the real and virtual world. Till such time as the lockdown continues, children are much more vulnerable to exploitation by predators on the internet for use in pornography and grooming for the same, as well as to abuse at home.

#KeepChildrenSafeAtHome, an online hashtag campaign, focuses on child abuse, vulnerability and pornography

According to KSCF, over 93% of child sexual abusers are those who are found to be in touch with children in some way of other. KSCF has asked concerned citizens to report about these abusers though the police control room No 100, Childline Number 1098 and the Bachpan Bachao Andolan Helpline No 1800 102 7222.

KSCF said, hundreds of thousands of migrant workers and their children have returned from cities back to their villages. Economic hardship and misery stare at these families. Faced with hunger and starvation, children of these families are extremely susceptible to trafficking, child labour and child slavery.

It added, there should be an active campaign to make these families aware about the imminent threat. At the same time, there is a need to sensitise government agencies on threats relating to children and how the present economic condition could make children easy target for traffickers.

First published in Counterview.