At an advocacy on child rights earlier this week by Children’s Rights in Goa (CRG) and Arz, an organisation working for victims of trafficking, presented a study of four slums that identified children and adolescents residing in these areas as most vulnerable to sexual abuse.Advocate Sushma Mandrekar alias Chodankar, Chairperson, Goa State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (GSCPCR) on Friday said that the organisation has taken note of the study presented by director of Arz, Arun Pandey, and she will take appropriate action after consulting various stakeholders. She said that many of the issues will be addressed once their State Action Plan of was implemented in the near future.She said that GSCPCR was mandated to look into all children’s issues. “As per the Goa Children’s Act, we need to work with every department related to children, it cannot be only be Directorate of Women and Child Development.”Ms. Mandrekar further said,“My first task when I joined the Commission was activation of village child committees but most of them did not respond.”Mr. Pandey said that they conducted the study in the port taluk of Marmugao in south Goa. Through questionnaires, focus and group discussions, they researched sexual abuse of children in the age group 10 to 18 years and develop skills and suggestions to address it. They found that boys were sexually abused in jungles and houses when their parents were not there and girls were molested and eve teased.It also found that child marriage still existed among migrants who have settled in Goa for many years. In Baina girls are married as early as 12 years, Mangoor 14 to 17 years, Birla 14-15 years and Zarre 13 to 14 years.These children were not aware of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. They were only aware about penetrative sex and nothing else. Mr. Pandey identified some unsafe places such as in Baina, burial grounds, toilets, railway stations, Vasco bridge, and named certain bars and hotels. In Mangoor, the jungle, construction sites, toilets, and named a school, bars and hotels and a prayer place. In Birla, it was paan shops, a public hotel and some bars, hotels; for Zuari, public toilets, laundry, narrow lanes, and four slums areas.Arz said that suggestions from the children in these areas included police patrolling near bus stops, installing CCTV cameras, taking away license from bars, separate entry for toilets, government constructed toilets inside the house, proper street lights, setting up an outpost, a women’s helpline and sensitisation programmes with the police. Arz shared the suggestions with various authorities in Vasco, Verna, BDO, Chief Officer and Mormugao Municipality but no change was seen. He said that the State must play a pro-active role in safeguarding children by providing timely human resources and infrastructure.Father Maverick Fernandes, member of GSCPCR, said that from June a Child Help Desk was set up on Margao Railway Station by Childline in south Goa, where child and human trafficking used to take place.Children are most vulnerabe to drugs, he said. Because of the cost, the children even sniff whiteners. Authorities are aware of this but are helpless as the law is not stringent enough for children and are often misused. In north Goa beaches, children were found selling blowing objects late at night. Teenage pregnancies in schools are also on the rise.Snehal Salgaonkar from CRG said that they conducted a survey of children in Kharaswaddo and Calangute and found problems of corporal punishment, truancy, Balika Manch not functioning, inadequate toilets, no provision to throw sanitary pads, loud music and eve teasing.