Child marriage is one of the major social issues still prevailing in India. Though there is a decline in the rate of child marriages in India (United Nations, 2012), new forms of child marriage (Bride Trafficking) have emerged on a wide scale. As per the National Crime Record Bureau Report, more than 22,000 girl children were kidnapped for marriage in 2012. The Child Brides are usually bought from the poverty stricken source places like West Bengal, Orissa and Jharkhand and sold in destination places like Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. The lack of accountability in both source and destination places has resulted in the development of an organized form of trading of child brides. The 2013 report commissioned by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has reported that organized trafficking rackets have started operating in Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. This whole system of buying and selling of children for marriage has simultaneously resulted into other forms of crimes like child rape and child labour among bought brides. This chain of crimes continues to be committed against children due to this lesser known form of child marriage. The lack of legal accountability has also encouraged and enhanced the rate of child marriages among bought brides.
EP aims to strengthen the systems at Village and Block levels through the roll out of the ICPS; develop capacities of families, communities and service-providers; establish improved reporting and monitoring systems; and doing evidence-based policy advocacy to support most vulnerable, such as unaccompanied children, child labourers, children living on streets and children affected by HIV.
The Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) was launched by the India’s national Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2009. The intent of the scheme is to build a protective environment for all children in India, with a special focus on those who are the most vulnerable, such as unaccompanied children, child labourers, children living on streets and children affected by HIV. Community-based protection mechanisms
Support formation and strengthening of community based structures at village, block and district level
Support the synergy of structures with stakeholders Panchayati Raj Institutions, School Management Committees etc.
Building referral linkages with child protection services
Develop safe communities model in two cities
EMPOWER PEOPLE is working alongside the Government in its efforts to prevent child marriage, which includes: • Law enforcement: Capacity-building on laws, • Developing support mechanisms at ground level • Girls’ empowerment: Life skills, protection skills. Connecting with Protection schemes • Community mobilization: Working with influential community and religious leaders • Promoting convergence of sectors at all levels, in particular with education and social protection schemes and programmes. • Promoting Secondary education for adolescents formation of adolescent collectives life skills programme etc
Convergence with other programmes to combat child labour and child marriage, and universal access to improved water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, is also ensured. In partnership with government, non-governmental organizations, academia, media and the private sector, the programme aims to:
Improve equitable access to quality early childhood education
Accelerate implementation of the Right to Education Act and child friendly schools
Enhance capacities of teachers and pre-school functionaries to deliver quality education
Mobilize communities to demand equitable access to quality education
Expand access to secondary education for adolescents with a focus on reducing gender and social disparities