Streetkids in grip of STDs

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by ajtr, Oct 19, 2010.

  1. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Streetkids in grip of STDs

    KOLKATA: Did you know that almost every child living on the city's pavements is subjected to sexual abuse? If this doesn't surprise you, you should know that of these children a vast majority has contracted sexually transmitted diseases?

    A recently-concluded survey among streetchildren in certain parts of the city show that at least 15,000 of them are either HIV positive or have contracted sexually transmitted diseases like Syphilis, Gonorrhea, warts, hepatitis and herpes. The survey was recently conducted by the National Institute for Cholera and Enteric Diseases (Niced) along with Unicef, a number of NGOs who have been working with street children. The survey was conducted in 54 wards of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation.

    According to the report, a copy of which is to be sent to the ministry of health, most of the kids in question are between 18 months and 14 years of age. While only 15,000 have already contracted infections, almost every street child that the survey team came across during the survey, has been exposed to sexual abuse.

    Among the NGOs who have worked with Niced in this survey are, Network Positive that works with HIV positive people and Medical Bank. Five zones in the city were chosen for the survey and the results were alarming. Pavements at the port area, Nimtala Ghat, Jagannath Ghat, Shovabazar Metro and Sonagachhi, were chosen for the survey.

    "These pavements turn into mobile sex districts by night. It is not that only girls are vulnerable. Even boys are exposed to the worst kind of sexual abuse from a very young age," said a researcher connected with the survey. It was conducted under the leadership of Kamalesh Sarkar, deputy director of Niced.

    Most of these children are orphans and have not yet been adopted by state-run or NGO-run homes or shelters. Naturally they are at the mercy of the senior neighbours on the pavements who force them into sexual activities in return for food, clothing and a percentage of the "income", according to the survey.

    "The youngest are the worst off. Kids as young as six to eight years old are forced to have sex night after night for a paltry sum of Rs 50! Of this they have to give up Rs 40," revealed Goutam Panja, spokesperson of the NGO, Network Positive. About 30 kids between 18 months and 14 years of age who are affected by sexual diseases have enrolled in this NGO as members.

    The survey found that at least 80% of the affected kids are orphans who have left their original "homes" to migrate elsewhere and are working as child labourers. "Their right to work is attached with their willingness to offer themselves for sexual abuse by employers and sometimes even by clients'.

    Even children who live with their parents are vulnerable. The survey has found that most women on the pavements work as part-time sex workers. After a certain age they push their children into the sex trade.

    "The fact that both parents and children can earn many times more from such activities is the biggest incentive. We have found that not a single woman among pavement dwellers works as household help. Initially they were not forthcoming but later they revealed the truth. Most even confessed that they have pushed their children into the trade because of ready money," said D. Ashish, spokesperson of Medical Bank that has partnered the survey.

    Read more: Streetkids in grip of STDs - The Times of India
  3. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Oct 8, 2009
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    Hyderabad and Sydney
    These kind of stories just tears your heart apart.
    How can parents themselves do this to their children. What has happened to the world....

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