Srilanka: Child Abuse Rampant
According to the National Survey on Child Labour nearly 26 per cent children living in Sri Lanka engaged in an economic activity while not attending school or any other educational institution. It is reported in the survey that 52 per cent (475,531) of all working children are under 15 years of age.
According to a report of UNICEF: The State of the World’s Children 2009 , In SriLanka, preliminary calculations provide an estimate of approximately 5,000 children, who have been trafficked internally and currently find themselves in some of the worst forms of child labour, including being conscripted to fight in conflict situations and involved in commercial sex tourism.
Child abuse or maltreatment constitutes all forms of physical and/or emotional ill treatment, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or commercial or other exploitation, resulting in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power’ Vulnerable children face five principal types of risk: sexual abuse, emotional abuse, institutional abuse, physical neglect, and non-organic failure to thrive.
In Sri Lanka 25% of court cases heard in courts are child abuse cases, reveals a study conducted by the Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms Ministry. A notable feature is majority of children were victimized by their blood relatives.
Apart from this , a large number of children are involved in some form of economic activities or child labour in Sri Lanka. The majority of the children engaged in economic activity are boys (62.3 per cent). Furthermore, 95 per cent of all working children reside in rural areas.
The National Child Protection Authority was created as the first governmental organization dedicated to work to secure the rights of children in Sri Lanka. The NCPA have taken several measures to protect Sri Lankan Children from various abuses so far which includes the ‘Child Line’ hotline service, which was introduced to aim at eradicating child abuse and to come to the defense of helpless children.