Tourism is the major source of income and activity in the tiny state of Goa but with the good things there is always some evil in disguise and something similar goes with the case of the tourism business. Being a tourism state Goa gets people from all over the world and that also leads to raising in crimes related to drugs, prostitution, and child labour/trafficking activities.
This tourism season the Goa Tourism has partnered up with the non-profit organization Children’s Rights in Goa (CRG) in order to stop child abuse and exploitation. They are moving to implement more child-friendly laws which can help the stakeholders report any form of child abuse they see.
It has been noticed that children are seen begging or working, sometimes late at night, on the Baga, Calangute, and Candolim beaches. Sometimes, cases are registered and these kids are taken to protective shelters where they’re kept until parents come for them. But this has done nothing to curb the exploitation of children.
Tourism Director Menino D’Souza spoke on the matter saying, “We hope to see that exploitation of children used for begging, which is mostly seen in Candolim and Calangute, is stopped, as hotels and shack operators as well other stakeholders will need to call the police if they see any child/children being exploited.”
An official said that there is a possibility that these children are brought to Goa from other states and exploited, especially children around 4 or 5 years old. D’Souza also believes that the children used for selling wares and begging on the beaches are exploited.
After the children are taken to protective shelters, the parents appeal to a Child Welfare Committee (CWC) to get their child back. But the children are put to the same work again and the cycle repeats itself.
A Police Inspector Jivba Dalvi rescued many such children during his term at Calangute and said that there need to be stricter laws in place that stop the parents from exploiting their own children. Dalvi also said that these parents have no proper documents most of the time and resort to crying and begging for their child to be released from the CWC.
The code if implemented correctly will ensure that all children, even those of tourists, locals, daily workers, are protected from exploitation. The code is also in accordance with the United Nations Convention which makes sure all tourist activities are done with child safety and their rights in mind.
The staff of the tourism industry shall be provided with child sensitivity training, they’ll be taught about children’s rights and how they can bring notice to any child abuse they see. Hoteliers, shack owners and operators, taxi drivers, lifeguards, police, and all concerned people will be provided with information on child protection laws and procedures while dealing with children.