Caution on online appeal to adopt orphan children

Image Source - The Telegraph

An NGO said, “Desperate pleas on social media for helping or adopting children who lost their parents to Covid-19 may make them vulnerable to trafficking and abuse.”

The Indian branch of Save the Children, an international non-governmental organization that works for protecting child rights in 18 Indian states, has appealed not to share details of orphan children online.

They asked, instead of sharing their details online contact helpline number 1098 for protecting them from falling prey to traffickers.

In a released issue on Thursday, Save the Children gave the instance of an online appeal that gave the details of two such children and wanted to know if anyone could adopt them and had also said that such an action may also encourage illegal adoption.

Chittapriyo Sadhu, deputy program director of Save the Children in India said, “Children who lost their caregivers and left to fend for themselves are extremely vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.”

He added, “It is an incredibly confusing time for such children whose mental health may also be a matter of concern.”

Mahadev Hansa, Jharkhand state head of Save the Children said, “Under the present circumstances, it is better not to post specific details of such children like their names, photos, and locations that may increase their vulnerability.”

He added, “The Jharkhand government, however, did a praiseworthy job when the chief minister issued helpline numbers and urged people to inform about such Covid orphans for protecting them from being exploited or trafficked.”

Hemant Soren said, “The government would help, besides Covid orphans, even those children whose parents are undergoing treatment at hospitals and have no one to look after them.”

Ranchi’s Child Welfare Committee (CWC) chairperson Roopa Verma said, “We have been receiving a huge number of calls, about 100 daily since the chief minister announced the helpline numbers.”

She also said, “All those may not be related to Covid-orphaned children alone as many did not quite understand the purpose and also called for seeking different help.”

She added, “We are scrutinizing those calls and sending teams to the locations for verification.”

Verma said, “The government would help children who lost their parents to Covid-19 or undergoing treatment at hospitals, besides sponsoring such orphans if any close relative agreed to look after them but the CWC would monitor them.”

Verma further added, “The CWC will monitor such cases and step in whenever required.”

She added, “We would keep the Covid orphans at a designated place at present and then decide the next course of action like organizing their education at residential schools, etc.”

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