TODAY -

Alert! Child Trafficking has rooted in Manipur

By Premjit Laishangba *



Every Manipuri would be happy and exuberant if he/she hears any news of a kind like "Manipur lifted the Santosh Trophy", "Mary Kom set her feat yet another time again at the women world boxing championship", "Kunjarani won medal on her comeback at the world weight lifting championship","Manipuri student topped the 10th CBSE board exam for NE region", etc and etc.

But unfortunately such kinds of news are heard rarely now a day. Instead news of agitation, strike, boycott, suicide, ransom, burglary, highway blockage, and many others which traumatize people are abundant on the front page of various local and national newspapers. Being an inmate of the Kangleipak, I would also love to hear the news of well-beings because I am proud to be a Manipuri.

On the contrary, I was shocked and outraged by the heading I found in a very popular national newspaper highlighted as "Child traffickers from N-E set up base in TN". The body of the heading elaborately furthers that hundreds of children from the northeastern states are being trafficked by well-networked groups, who have found a safe haven in Tamil Nadu.

The rescue of 76 malnourished children, from Manipur and Assam, from a home at Kuzhithurai in Kanyakumari district is only the tip of a vast network, which receives crores of rupees from churches and agencies abroad by showing a large number of children under their ''care''.

It is highly shameful that Manipur involves in such humiliating activities which jeopardize its identity. Manipur is known to every head for its excellence in sports, art and culture, handicraft and handloom products, its natural scenic beauty, salubrious weather, the glittering Loktak Lake and sometimes edifications and its researched work.

Yet, such prestigious perceptions are hindered by certain existing black system created by the villains. More precisely, they are worse that the worst. These villains are creating hypes to input some trustworthy believes to the innocent guardians' mind so that they cannot ignore what the villains propose for the betterment of their siblings.

As a result, they can misguide as many children as they can. But in the real world, they only mean to do such activities for money. Many unauthorized children homes are transacting money from foreign missionaries in the name of religion by showing them a bulky numbers of children who they trafficked from poor states like Manipur.

And in order to escape from insurgency and to conceal their image, these plotters are migrating their projects to far-off villages in southern and western India.

As per the investigation, it further says that children from Manipur, especially those belonging to the Kuki tribe, are targeted by traffickers masquerading as evangelists and missionaries as people in the insurgency-hit areas are willing to send off their children if they are promised a good education.

While 1,096 children's homes, housing 3.5 lakh children, are registered in Tamil Nadu, almost an equal number operates without registration, evading government scrutiny. The children aged six to 15 are kept in pathetic conditions and are often made to do jobs like carpentry, cooking and laundry. There have even been cases of children dying under suspicious circumstances and some being molested and abused.

From these we can clearly learn that these traffickers promised the parents of the victims to provide good education. This again means that parents are struggling to provide education to their children. So, this should be a FYI message to the government if they are pretending to keep silent even though they know such kind of activities.

In case they don't know, then this is an alert signal to the government to take up immediate and effective action to provide proper education to the growing children not in the valley region but also in the hilly region as well. A state with diverse groups of people with different culture and tradition inherited from history has faded its beauty day by day.

Good deeds are unheard while bad things are bearing more and more in this state. Many people are crying for food while many others are feeding for guns. Children prefer to see guns than to pens and books. With prevailing chaos in the state, parents and guardians are opting to send their children to other state for study. No one can deny this truth.

Therefore, right or wrong, the one who promised to give good education to the children are genuinely honoured by the parents and guardians. And finally, they sent their children with the traffickers without introspecting or scrutinizing for what and to where there children are heading to. This was the only mistake committed by these negligent parents.

Now, who should be blamed?

The traffickers, the parents, or the government. The only answer that would come out will be- All the three are defaulters. The traffickers will always be traffickers. If they are not able to get any children from Manipur, they will go to other places.

So, no one can stop them from doing such things. The only important thing is to find out how they do it. If people are aware of such crooks, and the government takes action to minimize such activities, only then, we can save our blooming children from exploitation.

At the end, the most significant responsibility comes to the government and the parents. Government should take up steps to provide education to the children. They should spend money in recruiting new teachers to fill up the vacancies instead of spending huge money in recruiting commandos and army cadets. They should minimize opening army battalions and regiments.

Besides, private schools should be co-operated to launch new centers at the remote areas not only in valley but also in the hilly districts.

On the other hand, parents should be very curious and cautious of sending their children, out of the state, to any unknowns. They must see the background and the authority of the assigned children/orphan homes so that they can understand the prospect.

Child traffickers may not be somebody from Manipur. They may be from foreign origin. The trickiest query is who employs them. There are thousands of unauthorized children or orphan home operated in the country which are meant only to earn money by bilaterally cooperating with religious missionaries abroad.

Instead of giving education to the children, these missionaries employ them as labourers. To the villains education means exploitation.

The loser will only be the victims- the children and the parents. We should save our children first because they are our future and our aspect of growth and prosperity.

Lastly, it is high time for the people in the state to build up rapport with good deeds so that once again every one would be thrilled by big hyped headings, in the front pages of the newspapers, which makes us proud to be a Manipuri.




* Premjit Laishangba contributes to e-pao.net regularly. The writer can be contacted at laishangbam(dot)singh(at)accenture(dot)com
This article was webcasted on February 05th 2010.


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