More steps needed to save children from exploitation: HC judge

A Bombay High Court judge on Thursday said efforts need to be stepped up to save children from various forms of exploitation.

Justice S C Dharamadhikari said children have certain rights and those should not be denied to them.

He was speaking as the chief guest at the flagging off ceremony of a month-long campaign against trafficking of children here.

Justice Dharamadhikari said, "We, as a society, have failed our children, and we should now step up our efforts to save them from various forms of exploitation. If we are able to extend a helping hand to distressed children, the nation will usher on the path of development."

"We must take cognisance of the fact that our children have rights. The movement launched here will serve as a motivation for them to not deprive the children of their rights, willingly or unwillingly," he added.

The HC judge said legal luminaries should be aware of traditions of justice in the country.

"Any person sitting on a top judicial position should possess the innocence and fearlessness of a child. Police personnel should have the hearts and minds of a father and mother while dealing with children," he stated.

The campaign was launched by Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), a movement for rights of children started by Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi.

It is being supported by the Maharashtra Legal Services Authority (MLSA), the Maharashtra Labour Department, the Kailash Satyarthi Children's Foundation (KSCF) and Capgemini, a press note said.

Aimed at creating a child-friendly Mumbai, the campaign includes spreading mass awareness by 'Mukti Caravan', which is led by the survivors of child labour and trafficking, it said.

Mukti Caravan is a mobile campaign which aims to spread awareness and sensitise people on child exploitation and trafficking through street plays, folk songs, infused with social messages, pamphlets, wall writing, pledge signing and awareness camps.

It will travel across 59 locations in Mumbai, including Bhindi Bazar, Masjid, Haji Ali, Madanpura, BDD Chawl, Dharavi and Kurar Village, before culminating at Sabzi Mandi (Kandivali) on December 4.