New Delhi: The Delhi Police will work to ensure that the national capital is a secure place for children as the force stressed today that locating missing children is a “high priority” task for them.
During an event held here to mark World Day Against Child Labour, the police joined hands with NGO Child Rights and You (CRY) with a pledge to protect and ensure the rights of underprivileged children.
“Locating missing children is a high priority area for the police. We are committed to make the city developing, encouraging and protective for its children through operations like ‘Muskan’ and ‘Smile’,” Delhi Police spokesperson Dependra Pathak said.
He added that all the stakeholders need to have a professional approach towards this issue.
“We want to make a safe and inclusive atmosphere for children, both by mobilising public opinion and also by using legal provisions,” he said.
As part of the new collaboration, the police and CRY will hold awareness drives in vulnerable areas and also encourage people to take proactive steps to ensure that the rights of children are protected and honoured.
In a symbolic gesture, during the event at India Gate, personnel from the police and Border Security Force (BSF) along with volunteers of CRY and general public created a human chain to raise awareness about child labour.
They also took a pledge to never employ children below 18 years of age and to speak up against it.
Pathak added that the collaboration was necessary to gain assistance from people who have expertise in handling issues relating to children that are “sensitive” in nature.
“Professional acumen is required to handle the issue as the world of children is sensitive,” he said.
There are over 33 million working children in the country who are below the age of 18, of which 10.13 million are under 14, CRY said.
According to the 2011 census, there has been an increase of 31 per cent in the number of working children between the ages of five and nine.
“Despite all efforts, there has been a mere decrease of just 2.2 per cent per year in the number of working children between the age of five and fourteen,” CRY said.
“Every child deserves a childhood, and child labour robs them of that,” Vatsala Mamgain, Director of Resource Mobilisation, CRY said.