India: Sending Children to Circus

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Subject: India: Sending Children to Circus
From: Bruce Harris - Casa Alianza (bruce@casa-alianza.org)
Date: Thu Apr 06 2000 - 21:31:31 EDT


Sending Children to Circus
By SD correspondent

    TAKING of many under-aged children, especially girls to the
different Indian cities to play in circuses has become another form
of
human trafficking. These girls come mainly from Makwanpur
district,
south of Kathmandu.
    According to Omu Tempa Lama, chairperson of the Makawanpur
Women
Development Center, a local NGO, more than 200 young girls of 5
to 15
years of age have gone to Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Calcutta and
other
Indian cities to work in circuses from Hatiya, Phaparbari, Chhatiun
and
Padam Pokhari VDCs of the district.
  Lama says that the minors have been the victims of exploitation
as
they are forced to work hard and sometimes in inhumane
conditions in the
circus.
    "When they grow up, they are exploited sexually as well. Many
such
girls have returned home after being the victims of sexual
exploitation
in India," she says.
    There has been a growing trend of sending daughters to play in
circus in India among the different communities like Tamang,
Danuwar,
Brahmin and Kshetri of the Makawanpur district.
    The girls are recruited by agents, mainly indians, who come to
the
village in search of the recruits. it is said that there are also some
agents in Hetauda.
    The agents go to villages and often convince the firls' families
that they would earn more money in India and enjoy better life there.
But it is learnt that the girls are paid only Rs. 50 a day.
    "There are many fathers and brothers who readily approve and
fall on
the sleek talks of the agents," says Rabindra Chapagain, a social
worker
in Hetauda.
    The agents often 'buy' the girls giving lumpsome amount to the
family and there are families who spend the money on motorcycles
and
other luxuries, he says.
    Now, the agents have begun to eye not only the illiterate rural
girls, but also the school girls. More and m,ore school girls are said
to have been enticed to go to play in circus.
    "As the guardians are more than happy to send their daughters
to
India to play in circus, nobody is able to stop them from being
trafficked. Even the VDC chairmen have sent their daughters to
India for
this purpose," Lama says.
    Makawanpur is one of the most notorious districts for girl
trafficking in the country. There is no legal provision to take action
against those who send such girls to India to paly in circus.
    Lama is of the opinion that sending girls to play in circus is like
selling them. "Lawsuits should be filed against the senders under
Human
Trafficking Act. But the local police officials are reluctant in this
regard," she says.
---------------------------------------------------
Source: Sunday Despatch/ 2 April 2000
--------------------------------------------
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-------------------------------
"In their little worlds in which children have their existence,
there is nothing so finely perceived and so finely felt,
as injustice...."

Charles Dickens, "Great Expectations"


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