Panchkula, 21 Nov: The Global Pandemic has seen a rampant rise in cases of sexual abuse and trafficking of children worldwide and the helpline numbers for children in distress are receiving an alarming number of distress calls, highlighting the plight of innocent children who have fallen victim to trafficking and are subject to all sorts of abuse that traumatize them for the rest of their lives.
Since we at HALSA believe that awareness is the greatest agent of change, HALSA being one of the principal partners decided to organize an International Webinar on ” Prevention of Sexual abuse and Trafficking against Children”
Accordingly, today i.e. on 21.11.2020 Haryana State Legal Services Authority being one of the Principal Partners with Bhagidari Jan Sahyog (NGO based in New Delhi and involved in Legal Awareness Campaigns related to social issues) organized an International Webinar on “Prevention of Sexual Abuse and Trafficking against children”. The webinar saw a great response and participation from School teachers, Trainee Teachers, Parents, Principals, Advocates, Para Legal Volunteers, and other participants from different parts of India and the world.
Hon’ble Mrs. Justice Indira Banerjee, Judge Supreme Court of India was the chief guest of the event and Hon’ble Mrs. Justice Daya Chaudhary, Judge Punjab, and Haryana High Court-cum-Executive Chairperson, HALSA was the guest of honor in the said webinar.
During her address Hon’ble Mrs. Justice Indira Banerjee, Judge Supreme Court of India congratulated the organizers of the webinar for organizing a webinar on a topic that is extremely important to children and others. Her lordship said that the future of a country whether developed or developing depends upon the children of the country. Any inappropriate sexually explicit behavior constitutes sexual abuse. Sexual abuse includes touching inappropriately, fondling, sexual stimulation, use of objects for penetration, etc. Incidence of child abuse are not straight and happen everywhere and to children of all socio-economic groups. Child abuse takes place across races, communities, and cultural groups irrespective of the level of education including rural and urban areas. Children are exploited for both commercial and non–commercial reasons. Her lordship stated that in most of the cases children are abused by persons known to them such as a relative, neighbor, teacher, or friend, however, only a small fraction of those who commit sexual abuses are actually apprehended or convicted.
Her lordship insisted on the fact that society has a collective responsibility to prevent child sexual abuse and that children from the largest manpower. Children are entitled to certain rights; they should be well-fed, looked after, and loved. They are delicate and they grow up as they are brought up. We need to teach our children about good touch and bad touch. We need to teach them to protect themselves.
Her lordship also emphasized the fact that Legal services authorities have a very vital role to play. Legal services authorities to play and they act as a bridge between persons who require justice and who are providers are justice. And therefore, legal services authorities shall take numerous initiatives to sensitize Parents and children about the law.
Further, during her address Hon’ble Mrs. Justice Daya Chaudhary, Judge Punjab, and Haryana High Court-cum-Executive Chairperson, HALSA said that to live with dignity is a basic human right and this right has been duly acknowledged by Article-21 of the Constitution of India. Right to Life is not only acknowledged as basic human rights in the Indian Constitution but also by most of the countries in their Constitutions as well as by international organizations such as the United Nations. Life with dignity cannot be envisaged without a happy childhood. Sexual harassment and trafficking of children is not a new problem but is in existence since mankind has started to civilize. The evolution of human beings has always been marred by sexual exploitation and trafficking of human beings and especially those of children.
Her lordship further said that Children being in a disadvantageous position on account of physical, financial, emotional, and psychological weaknesses & dependence are being subjected to sexual assault, sexual exploitation, and sexual grooming.
Her lordship while addressing the viewers said that in the 19th and 20th centuries, there has been a mass movement against slavery resulting in acknowledgment of sexual exploitation and trafficking as immoral and illegal. However, the acknowledgment and enactment of laws against sexual exploitation and human trafficking have not completely eradicated the problem.
Thereafter, Her lordship stated that HALSA has been playing an important role and has been making constant efforts concerning the issues of trafficking and sexual exploitation. It is for this reason that Narrative building and awareness programs are regulars at HALSA and Haryana State Legal Services Authority organized 3,511 awareness camps against trafficking and sexual harassment wherein 4,55,929 persons had participated.
In the end, her lordship said that we can only succeed if we work together. No government can win this battle alone despite being well-equipped and committed. The civil society or non-governmental organizations cannot succeed in this fight alone no matter how resourceful or passionate they are. There need to be conceived efforts. Let’s be partners in this fight.
That apart, Sh. Shiv Raman Gaur, IAS (retired) Former Principal Secretary, Government of Haryana, spoke in the inaugural session. Sh. Vijay Gaur. Secretary-General, Bhagidari Jan Sahyog Samiti welcomed the guests and Prof. (Dr.) Joyti Gaur, Dean, Swami Vivekanand University introduced the scope of the program. Sh. KK Aggrawal, Former VC GGSIPU, Chief Patron Bhagidari Jan Sahyog Samiti proposed the welcome speech, and Ms. Jaweplu Chai, Ld. District & Sessions Judge-cum-Member Secretary, Arunachal State Legal Services Authority proposed a vote of thanks for the inaugural session.
Shri Pramod Goyal, Ld. District and Sessions Judge-cum-Member Secretary, Haryana State Legal Services Authority, Sh. Kanwaljeet Arora ld. Additional District and Sessions Judge-cum-Member Secretary, Delhi State Legal Services Authority, Ms. Pragna Parande, Member NCPCR Government of India, and Professor Shehnaz Huda, Dhaka University Bangladesh were also present in the inaugural session. Prof. Aditya Malik, Vice-Chancellor, KRM, University addressed the viewers for the technical session.