Juvenile justice and protection

Bihar / India

What is justice for minors? What are the rights of children? What judicial protection do you have when you live on the streets? These are critical questions for hundreds of children in northern India. This project is helping to meet these challenges.

In India, buying a child from its destitute parents and subsequently reselling it, for example, to a pimp or a slave trader looking for a workforce at the mercy of an unscrupulous master, is a too frequent phenomenon. In the State of Bihar, Terre des Hommes Switzerland is working with its partner Bal Sakha to reduce the dangers that children face. The program includes the taking-in and training of children and young people, as well as raising the awareness of the population and the media. It also involves institutional actors dealing with child trafficking: police officers, lawyers and public authorities.

The action of Terre des Hommes Switzerland

The Bal Sakha program includes the taking-in and vocational training of street children.The partner organization of Terre des Hommes Switzerland works with children detained before, during and after their trials; In fact, a large number of arrested children live in the streets. Many left their homes for economic reasons or to escape domestic violence; Bal Sakha offers them a refuge with a day center and night center where they can wash, eat, put their belongings in safety, discuss their situation with educators and imagine solutions: for example, starting a training in carpentry or cooking. The organization encourages the return to family for the younger children or, when this is detrimental to their development, a ward in a boarding school. Its vocational training center offers new opportunities for young people. Bal Sakha has developed close ties with employers, small entrepreneurs who are choosing to trust young people.

Thanks to this project, working children are finding shelter in the centers of Bal Sakha, out-of-school children are returning to school, and cases of forced marriages of girls are being stopped. Children who need help and young people in conflict with the law participate in cultural activities and build up their learning capabilities, so that they hear music of the future rather than that of the dangers of the street.

Awareness-raising work is carried out in parallel. All of society must be informed about the rights of minors. In this context, training is set up for the professionals concerned (lawyers, magistrates, police officers, prison guards). Bal Sakha seeks, on the one hand, to ensure prevention by protecting young people and providing them with training and, on the other hand, to ensure that children's rights are respected during arrests.

Finally, Bal Sakha participates in the international campaign against children trafficking.

Day after day, children's rights are better protected.