Continuous Efforts by Prayas JAC Society in Elimination of Menace of Child Labour in Jaipur, Rajasthan. Rescue, Repatriation, Informed Participation of Victims to Ensure Speedy Justice

Continuous Efforts by Prayas JAC Society in Elimination of Menace of Child Labour in Jaipur, Rajasthan. Rescue, Repatriation, Informed Participation of victims to ensure speedy Justice.                                                       Hotspot Jaipur: Evolving Legal Framework Prayas JAC Society is one of prominent partners in project called Child Labour Free Jaipur or Hotspot project, which has been actively working since 2019 towards the elimination of the menace of child labour prevalent in Jaipur, Rajasthan. The project has been instrumental in the fight against child labour and has been witness to significant achievements in the field. The continuous efforts by the partners have contributed in decreasing the menace of child labour. The prevalence of child labour was acknowledged through a survey and a major rescue operation conducted by Prayas JAC Society. The initial identification of the issue at such scale did not immediately translate into tangible legal / administrative actions and much efforts were put into raising awareness amongst the officials to curb this menace of child labour. Prayas pioneered the sensitisation efforts amongst Police officials and Judicial Officers. The resultant change in the Judicial Approach towards the child labour cases was transferring of child labour cases to the specialised POCSO Courts that are better equipped to handle the cases of child labour with appropriate sensitivity. The Judiciary was now better equipped to handle the cases of child labour. The Police Personnel were sensitized regarding the relevant laws, child safe procedures and we facilitated the onset of rescue framework in practise till date.  After streamlining the initial frameworks to deal with the child labour cases, Prayas JAC Society focussed to get the victims of trafficking and child labour appropriate justice. Prayas was instrumental in getting children to depose in the court against the traffickers without the fear of any consequences to either them or their family. One of the first convictions in a case of child labour was achieved through the efforts of Prayas JAC Society. Steady and continuous progress was being made in the right direction when COVID-19 struck and lockdown was imposed. The pandemic and consequent restrictions imposed during lockdown not only hampered the ongoing activities but also pose new challenges in the fight against child labour. The travel restrictions, remote operations of judicial offices meant our team had to revise the operational framework. Pursuant to this goal of adapting to the new challenges, we revised our framework with focus on Video Conferencing for evidence submission of the children, focus on timely repatriation of rescued children and emphasis on getting bail applications of the accused rejected. The efforts of our teams, both in Jaipur and Bihar, bore fruit when we facilitated the first evidence submission of child witness through Video Conferencing, State vs Anwar Ali in the court of District Judge, Metropolitan II, Jaipur. Since then we have successfully represented and deposed children through video conferencing in 9 cases in the cases of child labour. Additionally, in our enhanced efforts to bring accused to justice, we have contested bail applications of accused in over 25 cases in the district courts and 6 cases in the Hon’ble High Court. We were successful in getting the bail applications rejected in total 16 cases. We found success in High Court as well, where the bail applications of the accused were rejected and the accused were sent to judicial custody. Through diligent work and effort, the legal paradigm pertaining to bail applications has been shifted in the favour of children, ensuring safety and protection from the harassment at the hands of trafficker and from the threats of re-trafficking. Our teams continuous liaising with the judicial officers related to the issue of child labour and trafficking has led to sensitisation of the judicial officers. Through our efforts, a meeting of the POCSO judges, presided by the District Judge was called to sensitize the judicial officers on the issue of child labour and challenges faced in the legal process to get them justice. The progress made in the field has given a new shape to the legal framework of dealing with the child labour cases. Justice for children, what was once an exception is now becoming a rule.

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