Crimes against children are rampant in India, as well as in neighbouring countries. Child trafficking is a highly organised, cross-border crime, but the child protection ecosystem to tackle it is fragmented, under-resourced and largely ineffective. This is starkly illustrated by the 3,200 cases of sex trafficking registered in India in 2015 which resulted in just 50 convictions. Likewise, only 5% of the 90,000 child sexual abuse and rape cases in 2016 resulted in convictions. The increased vulnerability of children to trafficking following the economic conditions precipitated by the Covid-19 pandemic underlines the urgent need for coordinated and coherent action.
Since 2014, the British Asian Trust has supported over 18,000 children and young women in India, vulnerable to or in situations of exploitation. We believe that child trafficking will only be tackled by delivering solutions that are collaborative, innovative, replicable and scalable, and are grounded in research-based evidence. Our work with the Child Labour Free Jaipur coalition, for example, engaged 35 international companies in championing a child labour free Jaipur, increased rescues by 70% and improved enforcement of child labour laws, securing the first five convictions for the crime ever in the city to date.
In 2022, the British Asian Trust is launching a new partnership with the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, which aims to raise $50 million to cut child abuse and exploitation in India by 50% in the next 10 years. We aim to address the lack of convergence, communication, coordination and collaboration across the public, private and civil society sectors working on child protection in India. Mobilising funding from private and corporate sources, we will create a transformative movement to tackle child abuse and exploitation in India.