Children have a right under Article 34 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child to live a life free of sexual abuse and exploitation and to access justice when this right is violated. Access to justice for children is defined as the “the ability to obtain a just and timely remedy for violations of rights” under international law. For sexually exploited children, the criminal justice system is an important way to secure legal remedies, including the compensation and services they need to recover and return to healthy lives. Indeed, participating in a criminal case against their offender is sometimes their only avenue for redress, as it can be costly and impractical to seek damages through separate civil lawsuits, and aid from state compensation funds, when available, is usually minimal.
To secure remedies for the violation of their rights, sexually exploited children must be able to engage effectively with the criminal justice system. States have a duty under international law and standards to help child victims participate in criminal cases against their offenders without being exposed to additional harm in the process, such as threats to their safety, privacy, health, or well-being. This “child-friendly” approach to justice recognizes the rights of child victims and witnesses and balances them against those of accused offenders.
In recent years, States around the world, including India, have put in place a wide range of child-friendly measures to make their criminal justice systems more accessible and hospitable to children.
India has introduced comprehensive legislation on sexual violence against children, namely the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (hereinafter referred to as “POCSO”) in 2014. This is in addition to existing laws on sexual violence. Moreover, Standard Operating Procedures have been developed by the State to respond to instances of sexual violence against children.
Despite these advances, child victims of sexual exploitation continue to struggle to access justice for the crimes against them. Few sexually exploited children enter the criminal justice system, and fewer still, participate in criminal proceedings until their conclusion. Indeed, it is rare for sexually exploited children to receive any legal remedy at all.

India, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal
Local Regions/Cities
Ujjain, Jaora, Mandsaur, Neemuch, Bhopal, Khajuraho, Katni, Kolkata