by Athokpam Chinglemba
Push factors are the general reasons why many victims want to leave their home country or state. These factors are the conditions or the socio-political environment where the children can be trapped easily by the traffickers.
The major cause of child trafficking in Manipur is non-functional of government schools. Until and unless the government schools are functional the crime of child trafficking cannot be eased.
In cases of child trafficking in Manipur, most of the victims were from the hill districts. There is a reason why the people from hill districts have suffered mostly from trafficking. The major cause or factor for the crime is non-functional of government schools. In the hills, as we all know that substitute teachers are running schools. The actual teachers share a part of their salary with the substitute teachers; subsequently the school is running under the supervision of those substitutes. On the other hand, some schools remain totally defunct even though there are many teachers. Let me share a vivid example of the situation in a village called Koso in Phungyar sub division of Ukhrul District which I have visited on January 30, 2010. There were 85 families in the village. There is only one LP school which is run by ADC. The school has a big building—inside the building there was a single desk, on the ground full of dust, stocked some bunches of thatch at a corner. No teacher was coming to impart education to the children of the village even though there were three teachers assigned for the school. This is why the children of the village have to flee from the village for education.
The parents prefer good education or simply education for their children. The only alternative is to send their wards to private schools at a nearby town or somewhere else.
The people in the remote hill areas are normally poor. They live on traditional economic systems, such as Zhum cultivation or traditional agriculture. The income earned from such ways does not suffice for the extra expenses for their children to send at a private school at a preferred town. Meanwhile the schools at their villages are partially or fully non-functional. What shall be done by the parents for their children to get education?
Poverty is one of the reasons why children get pushed into trafficking. Poverty leads to deprivation of basic needs and hardship living conditions leading them to look for better options elsewhere. The greater the intensity of impoverishment, the higher is the risk of falling prey to trafficking.
Poverty of the parents turned their lives from bad to worse. By taking these opportunities, the traffickers come up to the parents and lured them that their wards would be provided free education in the outside of the state. Instantly the parents gave consent to the traffickers.
The ignorance of the parents about child trafficking is another push factor. The parents have trust the traffickers so that their wards were handed over to them.
In combating child trafficking, to erase these push factors is equally important with other preventive measures.