Stolen Childhood - Stolen Childhood - Giving Voice to the Silent Shrieks of Suffering Children, child obesity, abuse, documentary, sex, teen robbers, Lebanese children, politics, child labour, drugs, female foeticide, orphans, domestic violence, gambling, education, war, and more...


Children may be small beings but their problems are certainly not small. We will not just talk about these problems, but also try to offer some practicable solutions to them.



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Nepali Children for Sale… Bizarre but True!

Pooja Pooja, Shimla, INDIA
20 hr. ago

There is mounting concern about the problem of child trafficking in Nepal, which is one of the poorest countries in the world.

Recently, an investigation has cracked down orphanages in Nepal who are running a multi-million-pound international adoption racket, selling poor kids abroad without their parents’ approval.

Padam Bahadur Shahi, 31, a forest guard met with this miserable incident. When his one of the two boys fell ill, he send the kid to a children’s home in Kathmandu, on one of his friend’s suggestion, which he considered to be the only option for the well being of his child. But then after two years he got to know that the boy has been adopted by a Spanish couple.

The bleak figures postulate that more than 300 kids are adopted every year and 338 were adopted in the first six months of the current financial year. According to the official figures, 11 have gone to Britain since 2000.

The couples are ready to pay as much as $20,000 to intermediaries or officials.

With very little access to information or support, many parents put their child’s life in jeopardy.

Every day newspaper advertisements appear seeking information on lost children. They give little information that could help identify the child, but if no one comes forward within 56 days, the child is declared an orphan.

Needs a re-think

In recent times, the rising concern about the trafficking has incorporated a critique of national and local level political apathy on the issue and the chronic lack of law enforcement and political will to address this problem.

It is argued by critics from the NGO sector that while the government has voiced a commitment to mainstreaming gender and child rights issues, most of these programs continue to be conducted in isolation.

The marginalization of women’s and children’s issues limits participation and contributes to further exclusion.


Child Abuse, a Social Malaise in India

Pooja Pooja, Shimla, INDIA
Mar 10 2007, 5:47 am GMT

Prayaas, an NGO, conducted a yearlong study, with support from UNICEF and the Department of Women and Child Development.

They interviewed 17,000 children and accounted that over 50% children interviewed reported some form of physical, sexual or economic abuse.

Significantly, the study also notes that by the government’s own admission, 35 million homeless children in India need protection. But only an abysmally low 35,000 are actually placed in shelters provided by the government and non-government organizations.

Facts & figures:

1. Every second child has suffered some form of abuse.

2. The Indian government estimates that 12 million children under the age of 14 are employed. Children’s advocates say the figure could be closer to 60 million.

3. 60 % are economically abused.

4. 50 % are emotionally abused.

5. 30 % are sexually abused by relatives or known persons.

Needs a re-think

Occurrence or recurrence of incidents of child abuse shatters the semblance of well-being of the adult world.

Parents blame the authorities they in turn vent their anger on neglectful parents and then they all heave sighs lamenting the degradation of basic social values. In the bargain, the child and his/her trauma are forgotten. Hardly any one seems concerned to question: What would be the extent of damage to the psyche of the little one and how should he or she be treated to rehabilitate him or her and make him or her, a healthy future citizen.

I think the government must re-locate the investment from spending on the shelters, to the protection of these children, from where they frequently escape to return to the very world from which they were rescued.



Is the Violent Behavior or Guns, Killing Youth in America?

Pooja Pooja, Shimla, INDIA
Mar 8 2007, 9:38 am GMT

killings_50What’s wrong with these American high school youths! Graph of suicide cases are mounting each day.

A 17-year-old youth shot himself in the head after killing his ex-girlfriend in central Michigan high school. In a similar other incident, a 16-year-old boy shot himself at his high school in Texas and later died at a hospital.

I have been thinking lately, what could lead these kids to shoot some one just like that. Although there are instances when a boy kills his ex-girl friend because of unrequited love while in others, probably it’s because of drugs, for taking such an extreme step.

The government seems to take these events, as a reason to tighten security in schools, shopping malls and on the roads, but that clearly seems to be addressing a symptom, instead of solving the problem.

The influence of the pharmaceutical companies in this country is too overwhelming, the legalized drug pushing is occurring right in living rooms and fortunes are being made at the top of the pile but at the bottom, folks are killing each other.

Bottom line

Despite the prevalence of firearms in their own and other families’ homes, America’s parents fail to recognize the immediate danger guns pose to their children and are not taking steps to ensure their children’ safety.

Indeed, these make clear the challenge that remains to translate parents’ abstract concern about guns and youth into a personal consciousness and to inform parents of what they can and should do to better protect their children from the threat that lies in their own homes and those of their children’s friends and neighbors.



Battle Against Hunger is at Risk in Mauritania

Pooja Pooja, Shimla, INDIA
Mar 7 2007, 9:59 am GMT

United Nations World Food Program (WFP) is running short of funds and this would directly affect the younger generation of Mauritania.

According to the estimations, nearly 68,000 kids in Islamic Republic of Mauritania, who are already entrenched in the vicious of malnutrition, will experience a clog in their provisions if the condition persists.

WFP Country Director Gian Carlo Cirri asserted that they require $14.4 million for its Mauritania operation this year, which however seems a distant dream.

If the situation continues then it would retard the growth which is made against malnutrition in the largely desert north-west African country.

The results of a recent joint food security survey express the current situation as precarious. Indeed, total cereal production per capita is 7.7% lower than the average over the past five years. Furthermore, cereal prices have increased, further eroding the already weak purchasing power of subsistence farmers.

According to a WFP study, 165,000 people are highly vulnerable and depend on humanitarian aid to survive through the toughest months of the year. Another 180,000 struggle to feed themselves adequately.



Britain: Children Failing to Get Good Education

Pooja Pooja, Shimla, INDIA
Mar 6 2007, 5:28 am GMT

children-failing-to-get-good-education_50Recently Ofsted report has revealed that young children, around three to five year olds, are failing to get a good education in half the nursery and primary classes.

Consequent upon which, they are making unsatisfactory development in language and literacy. Girls are however, making progress in dealing with creative pursuits but boys could be seen running after each other in ‘raiding’ games.

The outcome of the survey has posed question to the new curriculum forced on nursery classes by the Government in 2003. Children are expected to meet around 117 ‘early learning goals’ in six subject areas, including mathematical, physical development, communication, language and literacy.

Teachers were supposed to record the children’s progress with the aid of cameras and tape recorders but only one third of them took account of the reports.

The report further postulated that in a third of schools, nurseries standards in communication, language and literacy were lower than expected and speaking, and listening skills were very poor.

The most troublesome feature of report was the emerging gap between girls and boys. Girls achieved better than boys across all the areas of learning. Boys did not speak with as much confidence or show an awareness of the listener.

Hence, the need of the hour is to take the issue seriously and try to create new atmosphere or the kids so that they could enhance their cognitive abilities right at the tender age. Otherwise, they might face problems in the long run with respect to their careers.



Children Exhibiting Sexually Harmful Behavior

Pooja Pooja, Shimla, INDIA
Mar 5 2007, 9:28 am GMT

sexually-harmful-behavior_50Kids as young as five are displaying inappropriate behavior and charities working towards the welfare of children noted that internet is the real cause behind this mounting trend.

Startling figures revealed:

1. One in 10 of the offences were committed by children aged 12 or under.

2. In 2002-3, there were 1,664 children were given police warnings.

3. By 2005-6, this had risen to 1,988.

The voluntary sector treats most of the children demonstrating what is termed ’sexually harmful behavior’, taking referrals from police, social services and the National Health Service.

More and more number of children are committing sex offense such as indecent exposure or sex assaults, or exhibiting inappropriate behavior among younger kids.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) treated nearly 750 youth last year with majority of them boys.

And presently, the graph is showing an upward trend, to a degree due to awareness, which was not present before.

Kevin Gibbs, co-chairman of the NSPCC asserted,

These children have usually experienced some sort of trauma - sex abuse or violence - which seems to be behind this… This is affecting all sectors of society. The children we are seeing come from all kinds of background.

It seems that the problem is really lurking around hence, immediate and proper action is required at the hour. And this has to done by the parents itself. They must know what their kids are doing.

You must get involved and teach them what is and isn’t appropriate behavior.


Life is Better in Prison Cells Than Streets for Children in Haiti

Pooja Pooja, Shimla, INDIA
Mar 3 2007, 5:28 am GMT

Future of Haiti seems to be miserable. Countless children at a very tender age are seen throbbing in the prison stadium. Yes, you read it write, when kids in the other part of the world are preparing themselves to read and write, children in this country are spending their important years at Fort Dimanche, Port-au-Prince’s children’s prison. And the irony of the situation is that, most of them do not know why they are living there.

The boys in here are the products of poverty, child abandonment, rampant homelessness and an educational system that has failed to enroll 1 million school-age children.

Their plight reflects a country overwhelmed by the problems of its young more than 200,000 Haitian children have lost one or both parents to AIDS and 300,000 work as unpaid domestic servants in a system of bonded servitude.

Some of the inmates of this hillside prison were as young as six when they arrived. However, it’s a different issue all together that their actual age is beyond measure because of the inadequate proof.

Maryse Penette-Kedar, head of PRODEV, a foundation that is trying to improve conditions in the children’s jail, is trying to convert the prison to a rehabilitation center for the kids. Since, the prevailing socio-political conditions are such that the life of these kids is in danger.

The prison, for all its deprivations, can be a refuge from a hostile environment.
A few parents have begged officials to imprison their children, even when they have not been accused of a crime because they believe Fort Dimanche is safer than the streets. Gang members murdered several children shortly after being released because of suspicions that they gained their freedom by becoming informants.

Along with the innocent kids, there are children who have been detained for some or the other crime and often bully the ‘juniors’ when they do come in. But they are treated equally by the authorities and are forced to abide by the laws along with the others. For instance, Ricardo, who was arrested for banditry was forced to take shower, which however, he avoided when living outside the walls of Fort Dimanche.


Genital Mutilation, an Old Age Tradition Thriving in Africa

Pooja Pooja, Shimla, INDIA
Mar 2 2007, 9:12 am GMT

genital-mutilation_50Every year, two million girls on the African continent are subjected to female genital mutilation against their wish. Isn’t it horrifying?

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
is one of the most frightful forms of violence against women. Even though much sensitization has been made on the negative effects of such practices, some Africans and even people of other parts of the world continue to carry out the practice.

Recent estimates place at 120 million the number of girls affected by female genital mutilation in 28 African countries as well as among African immigrants in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Europe and the United States. It is an extreme form of violence, which attacks the very core of a woman’s being and robs her of health and dignity.

Why practice FGM?

For parents, reasons for adhering to the practice range from fear for the daughter’s marriage ability and honor, to conformity and insistence by older relatives and the community.

Most often the historic reasons cited are marital fidelity, controlling the woman’s sex drive, preventing lesbianism, ensuring paternity, ‘calming’ her personality, and hygiene. It is commonly considered an important rite of passage.

Needs a re-think!

Female genital mutilation represents a blatant attempt to control women’s sexuality and subordinate their status in society. It is also a violation of the human rights of girls and women.

In Africa, nine out of 28 countries have enacted laws criminalizing female circumcision. Yet the people perform the offensive deed with sheer impunity and as a matter of fact, nothing substantial has been done in this regard.

Laws against female genital mutilation are necessary, but not sufficient to stop the practice or to enhance women’s rights. Thus, legal change must be accompanied by public education and other campaigns and must be a part of an overall framework to promote women’s rights.

Female circumcision can be stopped within a generation. The long-term solution to the issue of female circumcision is empowering women. and this would not be possible without the effort of government within the country.



Africa: Witchcraft, Playing with Lives of Children in Malawi

Pooja Pooja, Shimla, INDIA
Mar 2 2007, 9:07 am GMT

Children are the only ones who are vulnerable to all kind of atrocities, whether its porn, sexual abuse, malnutrition, hunger, child prostitution, conscription in squadron, they seen everywhere.

Now, a weird thing has smacked the headlines, children in Malawi, a Southern African country, have become the soft target by the practitioners of witchcraft.

By the way, what do you think about the practice of witchcraft?

Do you believe it exists?

Do you think it should be stopped or is it part of tradition in some cultures?


Children are prone to being taught witchcraft against their will because of their innocence and ignorance that make them take action such as ritual killing of relations without question.

There have been instances where the minors are being hacked by the ‘witches’, who practice ‘black magic.’ Though, they were arrested but later released on bail despite having pleaded guilty to the charges.

Even if taken to court, the matter is treated as a misdemeanor, attracting a small sentence.

And the effects of witchcraft?

Fear and superstition become more entrenched. People remain poor because the witchdoctor is greedy and insatiable, and his impoverished clients are squeezed dry. People within a community are set against one another. People do not work, but rely on the witchdoctor to solve their problems and make them rich.

Bottom line

Africa is not exempt from the superstition and hatred that is a sad part of European culture. Also, this sort of a thing find its roots in deep seated rituals and traditions hence, it is a sensitive issue so the government needs to act very cautiously in eradicating the evil.



Central Africa: Child Sexual Abuse Widespread in Camps

Pooja Pooja, Shimla, INDIA
Mar 1 2007, 9:54 am GMT

Throughout history, the Great Lakes region in central Africa has been recognized as a great provider of protein for millions of people through its many fishing communities. These days, it’s better known for the years of recent conflict that’s involved multi-layered civil wars, genocide and millions of refugees.

High vulnerability of girls to sexual abuse and exploitation has roots in the social-cultural relations between males and females. Traditional practices such as early marriage were common as parents encouraged their children to get married in exchange for bride price.

Now, a new report by World Vision has found that 1.4 million children, in refugee camps dotted across the region have been sexually abused and most often by adults, they know and trust, which encompasses other refugees, security forces, teachers, medical and aid workers.

World Vision Regional Coordinator Valarie Kamatsiko said the situation would worsen if the authorities did not step in.

Life for children, especially girls and women is really very gloomy. They have no place to go particularly when they are being preyed upon by their own acquaintances.


U.N. Health Chief Urges New Drive Against Polio

Pooja Pooja, Shimla, INDIA
Mar 1 2007, 8:10 am GMT

Even after 18 years and $5 billion spent, the anti-polio campaign has hacked the infection rate from some 350,000 cases a year to around 2,000, while the number of countries in which it is endemic has slumped to just four from 125.

Looking at the trend, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan has decided to start a new task that aims at rooting out polio. She said,

If we don’t meet this virus with an immediate surge of commitment, the virus may win. We are facing our best and perhaps our last opportunity to eradicate polio.

But eradicating the disease has been a tough job, with the infection rate ticking again after touching a record low of 483 cases in 2001.

Countries worst affected by the disease are India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Africa.

The WHO has postulated that a two-year operation to complete the job of eliminating polio would need some $1.2 billion, which is only twice what has been spent on containing the outbreaks in the 26 newly infected countries.


Almost 100,000 Mozambican Children Are Displaced by Cyclone and Floods, Says UNICEF

Pooja Pooja, Shimla, INDIA
Mar 1 2007, 7:12 am GMT

flood-in-mozambican_50The deluge in Africa is swallowing the natives. Recent cyclone in Mozambique, a southern African country, added further misery to the inhabitants. Approximately 80,000 children have been dislodged and nearly 160,000 people have been rendered homeless. In case, some epidemic breaks, which is quite a probability, it would lead to uncontrollable disaster.

Hospitals as well as classrooms swept away with the turbulence of destructive flood and persistent heavy rains.

Leila Pakkala, the Head of UNICEF in Mozambique, said,

It is rare for a country to be hit by two massive and simultaneous emergencies within such a short period of time. Mozambique responded quickly to the flooding, but there is no quick fix, and all our problems around water and sanitation, shelter, health, and education are now exacerbated by this severe cyclone.

Present priorities for the Government, UN agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are to ensure clean water facilities. However, temporary health structures are functioning, children are back in school in some region, and drugs & health equipment are delivered to all affected areas.



Daughters Aren’t Wanted in India

Pooja Pooja, Shimla, INDIA
Feb 28 2007, 12:07 pm GMT

Born into indifference and reared on neglect, the girl child is caught in a web of cultural practices and prejudices that hamper her development, both physically and mentally. In India, for a girl child the period from infancy to adolescence is a perilous path. In this socially inhospitable environment of male dominated society, a girl is considered to be someone, who will never contribute to the family income and who at marriage will take a large portion of family assets as dowry.


Palna is an orphanage in the capital’s Civil Lines district and a refuge for babies, which have been abandoned by their parents. And this is the only place where girls outnumber boys. Why? Because a girl child is nothing but a mere burden in the Indian families, so they prefer to discard them or go in for feticide.

Baby boys too are found here but they are only deserted in India if born to single mothers or are deserted by a married couple because of some disability.

Although gender-based abortion is illegal, parents are choosing to abort female fetuses in such large numbers that experts estimate India has lost 10 million girls in the past two decades. In the 12 years since selective abortion was outlawed, only one doctor has been convicted of carrying out the crime.

Looking at the present scenario it seems that girls will going to be the next endangered species in the nation.

The unholy specter of illegal sex selection to prevent or destroy female offspring at the pre-conception stage or the pre-natal just doesn’t seem to stop. Even the laws that have been framed to stop female feticide have failed.

Recently, an overwhelming discovery of a mass grave at the backyard of a hospital in central India smacked the headlines.

Last year, in a series of reports entitled Kokh Me Katl, or Murder in the Womb, two journalists working for India’s Sahara Samay television channel found 100 doctors, in both private and government hospitals, who were prepared to perform illegal terminations of girl fetuses. In the grainy TV pictures, doctors from 4 states and 36 cities talked with chilling casualness about how to dump the remains. Many weren’t bothered about the fetus’s age, just that it was a girl that could be got rid off. The average cost of the procedure was a few thousand rupees around $60.

There are instances when the ‘killers’ of the female fetus have performed the crime without impunity.

There is nearly every state in the nation that ‘boosts’ of female feticide, like Rural South India, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Kerala, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharastra to name a few.

Although ministers in India have woken up to a national crisis, the response has been to condone the abandonment of female babies. Thus, the idea of opening a cradle in every state has been proposed where the parents may abandon the unwanted child instead of throwing or killing it. However, I do not think that the idea would be feasible enough in the long run.

As said before, it would only end by improving the overall status of women in society. And to make it a reality, women themselves would have to take first step out from their shells into the realm where they themselves treat the girl child equally important as a male child. Only then, a girl child would find more and more acceptance in the Indian homes.


Guatemala: Kids Slaughtering Kids As a Part of Vengeance Against Society

Pooja Pooja, Shimla, INDIA
Feb 28 2007, 7:58 am GMT

guatemala_50Kids in Guatemala have lost their innocence, they are not afraid of murdering anyone. Is it because of the social set up or is the product of their own mental make up, it’s hard to differentiate.

There are apparent cases where the minors are carrying deadly weapons like pistols and knives in their ‘school bags’. For what? Just to slay the person who is not fulfilling their monetary needs.

Guatemala suffered almost 48 murders per 100,000 people last year, one of the highest rates in Latin America. Every eighth victim is a child in the region and considerable numbers of killers are youths.

Since, the end of the 36-year civil war, that ended in 1996, the world of crime has been occupied by drug traffickers and unruly street gangs.

Given that half of Guatemala’s population is under 17, the minors operate most of these rowdy street gangs. They just have one thing upon their minds and that is, society took advantage of me and now I’m going to take advantage of it. They are just soaked in vengeance from head to toe.

The most unfortunate thing of the entire process is that, once a kid joins either gang, she/he is not allowed to leave it. Thus, they face more harassment if they try to do so.

There is a case, where 9-year-old orphan, has brutally killed ten people a month.

These street gangs, have been joined by, mistreated or marginalized children as they offer these kids a kind of surrogate family. The number of child gang members in the Central American nation is reckoned at anywhere between 6,000 and 40,000.

Instead of operating at a particular place, some of the gangs believe in spreading their ‘tentacles’. For instance, maras originated in Los Angeles and spread to Central America in the late 1990s, when U.S. authorities began deporting illegal immigrants who had committed crimes.

The violence is becoming a major issue in campaigning for September’s presidential election.

Former army general and congressional representative Otto Perez Molina promises a ‘strong hand’ against youth gangs if he wins, and wants to change the penal code to allow 16-year-olds to be prosecuted as adults, down from 18.

Well, he might be able to do so if he wins but what about the kids, their future, by penalizing them, these episodes of killing would get a stop?



Iraqi Officials Say 18 Boys Killed by Car Bomb

Pooja Pooja, Shimla, INDIA
Feb 28 2007, 4:50 am GMT

car-bomb_50Generally, we find that young people are caught in Iraq’s daily massacre. On 25th of this month, more than 40 people, mostly college students, were killed in a bombing outside a mostly Shia college in Baghdad.

Lately, some 18 boys have been reported to be killed when a car bomb exploded in a park in Ramadi, where they were playing soccer.

There were conflicting results as to when the explosion actually occurred. The confusion grew deeper after the US forces announced that 30 civilians and one Iraqi soldier were injured by flying debris Tuesday when troops intentionally detonated 15 bags of explosives found in Ramadi.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani’s office issued a statement denouncing the 18 deaths and calling on Iraqi security forces to chase and punish the criminals.


Britain: Children Want to End Their Lives

Pooja Pooja, Shimla, INDIA
Feb 27 2007, 11:25 am GMT

children-in-britain_50Life of youngsters in the United Kingdom is not as brilliant as it could be presumed. Recent data has postulated that more and more children, even less than five years of age, are calling up ChildLine as there are frustrated and are at the verge of ending their life.

Horrifying figures suggested that nearly four out of five calls about suicide last year were from girls.

One in six of some 6,000 calls from youngsters to the helpline about mental health problems came from girls who talked about suicide. And there were more than 250 calls from boys regarding suicide.

Over all, the data suggested that there is an upward trend in the suicidal rates in the nation.

Do you know the reasons?

Probable causes for such a drift could be depression, eating disorders, family troubles, bullying, living with someone who has a mental illness, physical and sexual abuse.

Even the present lifestyle is adding fuel to the deteriorating conditions of the children. The parents have no time for an open discussion rather they do not have enough time to spend together with their family. Children are feeling neglected and so are not able to find a helping hand, which they are in dire need of. And hence, the consequences are in front of us, youngsters themselves are churning in this sadistic cycle.


More Teens Are Saying, ‘have a Cigar’

Pooja Pooja, Shimla, INDIA
Feb 26 2007, 8:00 am GMT

Kids in the US have really become ‘forward’, they do not like to puff in cigarettes but cigars. Yeah, puffing cigar is in vogue among American kids these days.

Cigarette consumption has reduced in the United States by 10% from 2000 to 2004 but the consumption of cigar has escalated to 28%.

Children think that cigars look fashionable since the high-profile politicians and others are seen smoking them regularly.

Not just politicians and women are promoting the stylish image of cigars, the culture too is saturated with images of cigar.

Children have this misconception that cigar do not posses health hazards as compared to cigarettes, which is quite wrong.

Kids generally start with the puffing business not for the sake of taste but to show that they have matured and assume it is a sign of growing up.

Here, parents have to intervene and try to convince them that smoking makes them stinky and smelly, not sexy and sophisticated. In addition, parents must take time to talk to them about their daily routine. Spending time together as a family, such as eating dinner together, can help make that conversation flow more naturally.



5,000 Child Sex Slaves in Britain: Report

vipinagnihotri Vipinagnihotri, Lucknow, INDIA
Feb 25 2007, 10:57 am GMT


In a shocking revelation from study of global slavery depicts that more than 5,000 children are being forced to work as sex slaves in the UK. It also includes thousands trafficked to this country by criminal gangs. What’s more, lots of them are threatened with violence, then sold into the sex trade or forced to become domestic servants.

Report also pinpoint the fact that the human trafficking trade now generates an estimated £5bn a year worldwide, making it the second biggest international criminal industry after the drugs trade. Children’s charities in Britain are of the view that there has been a tremendous rise in referrals of trafficked children to sexual exploitation services.

According to report, gangs especially those from Romania and Lithuania as well as Africa, are increasingly focusing Britain because markets in other European countries such as Spain and Italy are pretty much saturated.

Via: Independent

India: 45% of Girls Are Married Before Their Eighteenth Birthday

Pooja Pooja, Shimla, INDIA
Feb 24 2007, 8:02 am GMT

child_marriages_50It is a matter of shame on the part of society that almost 45% of girls in India are tied in a wed lock before they reach the age of eighteen, the legal age to marry. The number easily crosses 50% in eight states.

While 52.5% of the cases of under-18 marriages were found to be in rural areas, while the number stood at 28.1% in urban India.

Facts & figures:

1. 55% of girls in Andhra Pradesh are married off before they reach 18.

2. Jharkhand topped the chart with 61%.

3. The number stood at 60% for Bihar.

4. 57% for Rajasthan.

5. 53% each for Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

6. 52% for Chattisgarh.

Possible reasons for this trend are lack of education, position of girl child and women in society.

This tendency may act upon health and well being of the girls since a girl marrying below 18 often gives birth to an unhealthy child. Also it effects the mental and emotional well-being of the girl.

This clearly proves that the Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1929 isn’t being implemented effectively by several states across the country.

The government needs to provide alternative economic support and livelihood options for children who want to opt out of this abusive environment, more so the girl-child. More and more children believe they must be given the freedom to decide whom they want to marry, and at what age. The majority want to marry when they are earning adults and not be forced into early marriage.



Britain: Parents Not in Touch from the World of Their Children

Pooja Pooja, Shimla, INDIA
Feb 24 2007, 5:30 am GMT

drugs_09_50Parents are far away from the ground realties in which their teens are growing.

Recent report by Guardian/ICM poll revealed that most of the parents are oblivious about their children who are indulging into sex at a minor age they are going into the vicious cycle of drugs, drinking and smoking.

The findings are based on a study on nearly 500 children, 11 to 16 year olds. They were asked to fill in some confidential forms related to issues like alcohol, drugs, sex and internet. It was carried out in respective homes where parents and children were simultaneously given forms to fill, in different rooms.

The results were really an eye opener.

Of children who have tried drugs, 65% of parents think that they have not or do not know. Of children who smoke, 52% of parents were unaware. Of the children who drink, 45% of their parents believe they don’t, or don’t know. The average alcohol consumption per week among these child drinkers is five units.

Of children who say that they have looked at pornography online, 60% of their parents think that their children have not done so.

The research postulated that 15% of the children have talked about sex online and 3% have met stranger online but their parents do not anything about these.

Most 16-year-olds, and almost half of 15-year-olds have lost their virginity but 83% of their parents think they have not, or do not know.

Of the children who have shoplifted, 65% of their parents do not believe they have done so or don’t know.

On the whole, 84% of the children questioned said they did not smoke, including almost all 11- and 12-year-olds. But that drops to 65% among 16-year-olds. Of children who do say they smoke, the average number of cigarettes consumed a day is seven.



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