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SC to hear after two weeks plea seeking guidelines for prevention of child trafficking amid COVID-19

SC to hear after two weeks plea seeking guidelines for prevention of child trafficking amid COVID-19

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New Delhi [India], July 16 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Thursday posted hearing for two weeks on a petition filed by an NGO headed by Nobel Prize laureate Kailash Satyarthi seeking the government to frame policy or guidelines for rescue and rehabilitation of children and for the prevention of child trafficking amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The PIL was filed by NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and NGO's counsel HS Phoolka to discuss the issue and posted the matter for hearing after two weeks.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) told the court that an affidavit has been filed by the ministry in the plea.
Senior advocate HS Phoolka appearing for the organisation submitted that the affidavit does not address important issues like data regarding child labour, the ones who have gone back. Child Welfare Committee should use artificial intelligence to track these children, advocate said.
He argued that the Ministry of Labour has data on migrants who have gone back.
In the National Migrant Information system, the data might be destroyed as it is not useful to them, but must be preserved, Phoolka said.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, during the hearing via video-conferencing, asked Phoolka to give him a call so that they can discuss the issue and assured that data will not be destroyed.
At this, Chief Justice Bobde told Phoolka that Solicitor General is willing to talk to him and address issues and he is saying data won't be destroyed.
Asking both parties to speak with each other and discuss the issue, the Bench posted the matter for hearing after two weeks.
The PIL sought directions to Centre to frame policy or guidelines for rescue and rehabilitation of children and for the prevention of child trafficking amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has hit the world.
It further sought a direction that such guidelines to be implemented strictly and for action to be taken against traffickers.
The NGO had alerted that the period of opening up after the national lockdown will see a considerable spike in child trafficking for labour and prostitution.
The court had earlier noted that child trafficking was a menace and was carried out because there is a market for employing children on account of cheap labour. It also said that children are trafficked for prostitution also.
It had also asked the NGO and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to assist the court with suggesting a mechanism to curb this menace and asked if private establishments and employers can also be registered formally in a way so as to keep in check the employment of child labour.
The top court had suggested forming an expert committee to frame a policy to prevent and protect children from private contractors who are part of the mafia.
The NGO referred to the court's 2012 judgment, which had held that an FIR should be compulsorily registered in the case of every missing child. (ANI)

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