BHUBANESWAR:More than 700 migrant children in 22 brick kilns located on the outskirts of the Capital City stay under hazardous conditions. The number is much higher when migrant children living with their parents and employed at construction sites and crusher units in and around Bhubaneswar are taken into account, Regional Head, Aide et Action, Umi Daniel said here on Thursday.
Daniel was addressing a conference on “Protection of Children in Migration”, organised by an NGO ‘Destination Unknown - Children on Move (DU-COM)’.
“In most cases, these children are bereft of potable water, nutritious food and hygienic surroundings. Adolescent females, who are vulnerable to sexual exploitation and trafficking, are the worst affected in these surroundings and the situation worsens as one moves into backward districts and interior parts of the State,” Daniel added.
Addressing the conference, Convenor of DU-COM Umesh Purohit said in recent times, Odisha has been the source, transit and destination hotspot for migration. An upswing in rail linkage has acted as a catalyst for inward and outward movement of wage earners from the State.
According to a survey conducted by DU-COM, the major factors which trigger migration in Odisha are poverty, natural disaster, unrest in Maoist-hit districts and communal violence.
While only 15 per cent of children move with their parents during transit or migration, the survey indicated that the street children, runaways, missing children and refugees form a sizeable majority of the migrant children population.
Minors from the State are engaged at textile industries in Surat, brick kilns in Andhra Pradesh, carpentry units in Kerala and children from Gajapati and Phulbani districts work as domestic helps in Goa.
“The State Government is not doing enough to enumerate inter-State and intra-State migrants. There is no proper audit of worksites of the MSME and industries functioning here to check the living standards,” Purohit said.
The forum sought a National Migration Policy to be drafted in consultation with migration-prone States and its early implementation.
Among others, Bincy Wilson, Programme Officer at Terre des Hommes, Netherlands spoke on the occasion.