Children as young as 14 are being recruited and used by non-state armed groups, or terror organisations, in anti-government activities in Jammu and Kashmir, according to a new report by the US state department.
The Trafficking in Persons Report 2019, released on Thursday, also said children as young as 12 are forcibly used by Maoist rebels to handle weapons and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and in some cases, act as human shields, elsewhere in India. Maoist rebels also engage in sexual slavery in their camps, said the report.
The use of “child soldiers” for propaganda is particularly rampant in areas affected by left-wing extremism (LWE) in the states of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, the report said.
Claiming that India doesn’t fully meet the minimum standards in eliminating human trafficking, the US has kept the country in Tier 2 category of countries on the basis of its efforts to combat the practice . India has been placed in the Tier 2 category on human trafficking for almost a decade.
To put things in context, the Tier 2 ranking is given to countries that have not fully complied with anti-human trafficking measures, but are making efforts to do so. Countries that have fully complied with the measures are in Tier 1.