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Child trafficking suspected behind pleas for the adoption of Covid ‘orphans’

While a clear and present threat of child trafficking and illegal adoption rackets coming into play during the pandemic exists, several genuine tragedies have come to the attention of child rights activists

Social media posts appealing for the adoption of kids allegedly orphaned during the Covid-19 pandemic may be a trick played out by child trafficking gangs that generally get activated during such calamities, warned UP police officials and child rights activists. The authorities have not only launched a probe into such posts but also begun gathering data on children actually orphaned by the pandemic.

Multiple messages portraying tragic stories of infants allegedly left abandoned after the death of their parents due to Covid-19, have been doing the rounds on social media platforms.

One such message in which a person was offering kids for adoption circumventing the legal process alerted a group of child activists in Lucknow. The message read: “If anyone wishes to adopt a girl, please feel free to contact. One girl is 3 days old and another is six months old, and they have lost their parents recently due to Covid. Please help these kids get a new life.”

Sangeeta Sharma, a child rights activist and a member of Child Line, said such messages were in circulation and requested her peers to report them to ChildLine.

“I called up one of the contact numbers mentioned in one of the similar messages and found that a man on the other end was promising a girl child for adoption without verifying her identity,” she said.

Sharma said she reported the matter to the Lucknow police and requested cops to trace the person who she feared could possibly be involved in child trafficking and illegal child adoption.

Lucknow commissioner of police DK Thakur confirmed that a team had been deployed to inquire into the case and other similar posts after being alerted by ChildLine activists.

Sharma feared many orphaned children were at risk of falling prey to human traffickers or illegal adoption rackets, looking to make a quick buck during the present Covid crisis.