Submitted by alvin on Sat, 2016-04-16 14:02 “Sir, do you want a child?” I was shocked and scared when I got a call on my phone with a woman on the other end asking whether I needed child! Why would I need a child and who misinformed her about me were some of the questions running through my head. I wanted to find out more. So I told her, “Yes, where can I find one?” To which she replied, “Someone told me that you were looking for a child. They gave me your number. These are sensitive issues. It has to be a secret. You can first see the child and then fix the rate. But it is a girl child.” Even though I was appalled at the blatant marketing of children and the gender discrimination on top of it, I continued the conversation. I asked her to tell me where I should meet her. The woman hung up after telling me that she would herself get in touch with me later. However, there were no calls from her after that. I repeatedly called that number but there was no response. Two days later, when I called, the number did not exist. With the help of the police I got to know that the SIM was from Kanakapura. However, I never got to know who the person was. Someone must have told her that I worked for the welfare of children and she must have misunderstood that I “needed a child”. After getting to know the truth, the SIM was probably thrown away. This call was made to me on May 4, 2002. It brings up several questions. If someone who is selling a child can openly market it, how stringent is our law? Aren’t people afraid at all about breaking this law? Don’t people know that buying or selling children is against the law? The way in which children are bought/sold keeps changing every year. We can call it a “trend”. Selling children’s organs, trafficking, changing their gender are some of the reasons for which children are sold. However, these days it is done for adoption. Couples who do not have children would have approached the government homes and when that would not have worked out for them, out of desperation they would want to buy children at the cost of going against the law. There is a huge nexus catering to the needs of such desperate couples. They have a modus-operandi in place. They usually choose hospitals that lack security, single pregnant women, poor families in the borders and migrant families. In some instances parents themselves will be willing to sell their children. These poor families agree to sell their children because of deep rooted gender discrimination. They believe that a girl child would cause them “loss”. They will either commit infanticide or they sell the children. Orissa’s Kalahandi, Karnataka’s Gulbarga are two places that are notorious for it. While there is gender discrimination on part of those who sell their children, there is gender discrimination on part of those who buy children as well. Any couple wanting to adopt a child has to register at the adoption agency and then there will be a home visit. After this, there will be a process of selection of child. The child Rights Commission will decide whether the couple is eligible for adopting a child. It may be noted that adoption has to be done only as per the guidelines of CARA. However, this will take some time. Those who do not want to wait will try to adopt out of the law. There are ten lakh children in India waiting to be adopted. Reason: Those who want to adopt want children who are not older than ten months. They want male children, fair looking children, those with curly hair, those that have a mole on the cheek or a child from same caste! When they do not find a child meeting their “preferences” In the government homes, they are vulnerable and likely to fall prey to those selling children by kidnapping them. According to UNCRC (35) trafficking children or selling them is a violation. Indian Constitution too (Article 23) prohibits illegal trafficking of children. In spite of it, trafficking continues. Recently, a child that was kidnapped in Bowring Hospital was traced in Shivamogga. In spite of CCTVs being installed, there is no fear among people who kidnap children. Also, there is no monitoring mechanism for children’s safety in hospitals. It is important that we put in place a monitoring mechanism for children’s safety in schools, hospitals, government children’s homes. Every employee here must be aware about child rights. More importantly, the parent community must voice against the trafficking that happens on the pretext of adoption of a child. Adoption that is done without the approval of the Commission for Protection of Child Rights will amount to trafficking. Instead of spending time with their children, parents might have to spend time behind bars!