Reacting to a report in The Sunday Express on sexual exploitation of girls belonging to the Bachhada Denotified Tribe in Madhya Pradesh, the National Commission for Women (NCW) has said it will send a fact-finding team to the state this month to probe the issue further.
NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma said, “We have taken suo motu cognizance of the report. We are going to send a fact-finding team mid-July to find out what exactly is happening, the team will also question the authorities.”
In a letter to MP Chief Secretary Basant Pratap Singh on Tuesday, Sharma directed the state to take necessary action. The letter cited the report ‘A Girl on the Highway’ published on July 1 in The Sunday Express (Eye).
The NCW letter states, “The Commission is seriously concerned about the pathetic and miserable condition of such women and also concerned about the crimes and atrocities being perpetuated on young women in the districts.” It adds that “considering the gravity of the matter”, the state must take strict legal action and work on “rehabilitation and mainstreaming of victims of such atrocities. The NCW may be apprised of any action taken in the matter.”
Sharma added that she will be forwarding details of the issue to the apex child rights body, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, since it also concerns 1,500 underage girls.
The NCPCR has said that it has already gathered a field report on children being forced into sex work among some of the vulnerable DNTs including Bachhadas as part of its ongoing study.
Priyank Kanoongo, NCPCR member for Right to Education, said, “Among Bachhadas specifically, we found a high prevalence of trafficking of girl children from other communities to join the trade in the three districts of MP. Even school-going Bachhada girls are often made to drop out to get into the sex trade.”