Rising numbers of children are being forced into criminal activities by gangs and syndicates every year.
Street children, the most economically and legally vulnerable group in our society, are the ones most likely to be snatched up for criminal purposes.
Furthermore, many of these children tend to be completely oblivious of their own involvement, as well as the extent of the dangers they are being subjected to, not to mention illegality.
The numbers are sobering -- out of the approximately 40 million children in the country, children being defined as those between ages 5 and 17, some 1.3 million children are engaged in hazardous jobs, with 70% of those children involved in criminal activity.
Those who use children for their own criminal agendas, often harming or even killing them in the process, should be shown no mercy by the law.
These individuals belong behind bars.
Certainly, there are few things more despicable than the deliberate and systematic exploitation of children, which often involves getting them addicted to drugs. Using a combination of coercion, intimidation, and manipulation, these minors are then used to aid in drug peddling, picketing, mugging, human trafficking, and many other types of criminal activities.
Street children are our “invisible population,” which is why their plight is ignored so often. Criminals also know that dead or missing street children are less likely to be noticed, and hence less likely to be traced back to the syndicate.
It is National Child Rights Week. Let us use this occasion to find a way to stop this terrible exploitation of our child population. For that, shelter and education provided by the government would go a long way.
In the longer term, the problem of poverty needs to be addressed, which makes children so vulnerable in the first place.