INDICATING the extent of exploitation involved in child labour, latest government statistics show that over 25 per cent of rapes on children last year were committed by their employers and co-workers.
According to data compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) for 2015, 8,800 cases of rape on children were registered across the country under the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences Act (POCSO). In 2,227 cases, or 25.3 per cent, the offenders were found to be employers or co-workers.
This is the first time that NCRB has tabulated data in terms of the relationship of the victim and the accused in cases involving rape. The data also shows that less than two per cent of rapes committed on women in 2015 happened at the workplace.
In the case of children, the data reveals:
# Neighbours were the biggest abusers in such cases in 2015 — 3,149 (35.8%).
# In over 10 per cent of cases last year, children were subjected to rape by their own family members or relatives.
# In 94.8 per cent of cases, children were subjected to rape by someone known to them.
# 14,913 cases were registered under POCSO in 2015.
Amod Kanth, former police officer and founder of Prayas, an NGO that works for the protection of children, called the data “alarming” but “not surprising”. “Children are more vulnerable at the workplace, compared to women. Children work under elders who are in complete command of the work environment. They also work in homes or in closed environments as full-time help. There is no escape and chances of exploitation are high,” he said.
Kanth said that in such cases, boys are as frequently abused as girls. “When we conducted a national study on child abuse in 2007, along with the Ministry of Women and Child Development, we found that there were as many male victims of child abuse as female,” he said.
A similar set of data on women in 2015, compiled by the NCRB, shows that they were most vulnerable to assault by neighbours and those promising marriage.
# In 27.4 per cent of rape cases, the offenders were neighbours.
# In 22 per cent of cases, the offenders promised to marry the women but did not.
# In nine per cent of cases, women were subjected to rape by close family members and relatives.
# In 95.5 per cent of rape cases, the offenders were known to the women.
According to the NCRB data, 34,651 rape cases were registered across the country in 2015. In 488 cases, the victim was raped by her grandfather, father, brother or son. Close family members were the offenders in 891 cases and relatives in 1,788 cases.
As many as 557 women were subjected to rape at the hands of their employers or co-workers. In 705 cases, victims accused their live-in partners or former separated husbands of having raped them, the data shows.
Last year also witnessed an overall dip in crime against women and an increase in the case of children. There were 3,27,394 cases registered under crimes against women as compared to 3,37,922 cases in 2014, a dip of 3.1 per cent. But crime against children spiked by 5.3 per cent, from 89,423 in 2014 to 94,172 in 2015. Kidnapping and abduction constituted 44.5 per cent of crimes against children last year.
The high rate of crime, however, does not necessarily show a deteriorating law-and-order situation but may be the result of police registering more cases.
In a state-wise break-up, Tamil Nadu (55 per cent) and Gujarat (over 49 per cent) had the most number of cases of sexual abuse against children at the workplace.
The data also shows law enforcers in poor light. In 2015, only 251 cases of child labour were registered across the country in which 449 children were rescued.
The data on overall crime against women shows Delhi at the top with 17,104 cases, and a crime rate of 184.3, and Assam with 23,258 cases and a rate of 148.2. Crime rate refers to the number of incidents per one lakh population of the subject group.
In the case of children, too, Delhi leads the way with 9,489 cases and a crime rate of 169.4. Among larger states, Madhya Pradesh comes close with 12,859 cases and a rate of 42.8.