Tuesday, a not very good day for India with NCPCR revealing the total number of distressed children who lost their biological/adoptive/legal guardian to the ongoing pandemic. To them, COVID-19 had cost much more than just loved ones. Hope for a bright future and a loving family seems to be far reached dream for some, others who are too small to understand what actually happened to their parents often ask the immediate family about their parent’s return. Some are abandoned to struggle for life on their own!

NCPCR (National Commission for Protection of Child Rights), a statutory body, informed to Supreme Court of India that over 9,300 children suffered in Covid-19 devastation. To its knowledge, the number of orphaned children stands at 1,700+ while the rest left stranded.

It had never been an easy task to face the aftermath of any catastrophic event. The squeaking economy, job loss at rife, migrant crisis, etc. might be at the forefront, but we can’t turn our eyes away from these sored innocent souls who are anticipated to be nowhere children now. The question arises can anyone contribute to giving them back their childhood? If so what can be done and how?

Hideous motive of trafficking behind “Adoption”

Unintentionally their sorry condition had invited many ill-morale people, calling for the adoption over social platforms. Staying cautious would be a great idea as behind such calls there could be some evil motives. The emphatical social messages calling for process free adoption through them isn’t something to be trusted.

Lately, the most crowded social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp were inundated with adoption messages, requesting people to come forward to help the destitute. Little did they know the government was keeping an eye on all such activities and on investigation most turned out to be fake.

For instance, Pankaj Kumar Mishra, a Women and Child Development (WCD) district probation officer in UP told IndiaToday.in that they looked over two such WhatsApp texts and when the mentioned numbers were dialled they turned out false.

The officials informed, almost every such message had the same body with name and number changed. Common people are not much learned of the whole laid out adoption process. Being ill-informed makes them more vulnerable to such mischief.

It is to be noted that Adoption is a legal process in India and for any lawful adoption one has to follow the procedure maintained by CARA (Central Adoption Resource Authority). Other such activities are ethically and legally wrong and strict actions are provisioned for the faulters.

Earlier Union minister for women and child development Smriti Irani warned couples about adoption. She requested them to not get influenced by calls of direct adoption, as one might claim, and urged them to report such to the authority.

“In illegal adoption, the child might face exploitation, trafficking and abuse. He/she has no security then. Who will do a follow up of these children who are adopted illegally? Who will be responsible if a child is forced into labour after adoption? [sic]” unfolded Kamal Kant Tiwari, who runs an adoption agency in Kanpur, named Subhash Children Home, while speaking to IndiaToday.in on how the laid out guidelines ensure child protection and safety.

Duty as a responsible citizen

In case you come around a child you think has been orphaned or abandoned, call the childline at 1098, a nationwide emergency number operated by Childline India Foundation, an NGO providing immediate assistance to children in distress, in collaboration with WCD.

One can also contact local/district Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) or inform the local police station directly about such cases.