Under new amendments to be debated in Parliament this week, tough punishment will be imposed on those who engage in or recruit a child forcibly or compulsorily for use in armed conflicts while offences related to adoption too are being broadened.
These will be among several amendments to both the Criminal Procedure Code and the Penal Code in a bid to crack down on crimes against children and keep up with the international conventions that deal with such offences. A child has been listed as a person under 18 years of age. Punishment for the recruitment of children for armed conflict will carry a term of imprisonment of up to 30 years and a fine.
According to amendments to the Penal Code, offences related to adoption are being broadened to include the obtaining of consent, written or oral, of a pregnant woman, for money or any other consideration, for the adoption of the unborn child or to recruit a woman or a couple to bear children for the same purpose.
It will also be illegal to arrange or assist a child to travel to a foreign country without the consent of his parents or lawful guardian. Other punishable offences would include failure of a person providing services by the use of computer to prevent intimacyual abuse of a child, failure to inform of the use of premises for child abuse, debt bondage, serfdom, forced or compulsory labour or slavery. The Bill will also give power to the Police to arrest such offenders without a warrant.