Human trafficking is a well- organized International Crime Net Work. Mainly women and children are the targets, but sturdy males are not excluded from slavery.
Trafficking passes through three consecutive stages, the “Source”, i.e., the suppliers of the victims, then comes the “Transit” i.e., the place through which victims are made to pass, and finally the “Destination” i.e., the location, where the victims will be used.
Most shameful is the fact that India serves simultaneously as the Source, Transit and Destination. Women trafficking in India is an organized crime leading to prostitution.
According to the estimation of International Labour Organization, trafficking deals with 12 billion Dollars to 32 billion dollars per annum. Prostitution is not the only aim, but trafficking includes child labour and exploitation of girls for domestic helps on very meagre wages.
Mainly South Asia and South- East Asia are the sources from where victims are supplied. The International Trafficking Net Work refers, the number of victims from the above two regions to be respectively 2.25 lakhs and 1.5 lakhs per year. The number of victims in India itself reaches nearly one lakh per year. Also, 30% of the victims are below 18 years. Recent report shows, in one year women trafficking from W.B. reached 2000. Delhi is a receiver of such victims numbering to nearby 2,500. In this nasty trade, the gainers are the traffickers and the receivers are no less as they use the victims for the rest of their lives.
Middle-East is the major “Destination “of International Trafficking Net Work. Hyderabad, Cochin and the borders of Nepal, Bangladesh, and Pakistan are the loopholes of the “Transit”. Most of the provinces of India are well connected with Trafficking Net Work. Live-in domestic workers come from W.B., Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa.
In 2006, “Sakti-Vahini” has estimated that 378 of 593 districts of India are affected. 10% goes to International Racket and 90% is active in the Inter-State regions. Inter-State and Inter-District trafficking runs very smoothly in Rajasthan, Assam, Meghalaya, Bihar, U.P., A.P., Karnataka, Tamilnadu, and Maharashtra.. Receiver states are Delhi, Goa and North –Eastern States of India. Most surprisingly, the state J& K. is reported to be spared of human trafficking.
According to a report of Industrial Labour Organization, in Delhi, there are 70,000 girls working as domestic laborers. Children are trafficked to Rajasthan from W.B. and Bihar as child laborers, also to Surat from Rajasthan to work in the diamond cutting industry. Trafficking of laborers is concentrated in pockets of coastal areas.
In Haryana, there is a remarkable demographic imbalance (850 girls/1000 boys). Men find difficult to find wives. So, it is an easy way out to go through a network of touts helping men, young, old, widower with supply of girls from W.B. Assam and Bihar.
According to a report in 2004, approximately 5000 girls were sold in Meat region of Haryana.
To consider the causes of trafficking in children, poverty is not the only responsible factor. Loss of traditional sources of livelihood, growing unemployment, co modification and growing consumerism resulting from globalization are also other reasons. The socio-economic situation and geographical location of the family are also the causes. Girls are more vulnerable to trafficking for sexual purposes.
The girls who are forced to prostitution are bound to attend 8/9 customers a day and even sometimes the number may reach 12/14. Among these clients, 2% to 3% are mentally sick and seek pleasure in sexual torture.
The cruel practice of “Devadasi”. "Yogini" in the name of religion, leads to women trafficking. And the priests of the temple sexually exploit these girls in the name of traditional rituals.
The Bedia and Bacchara communities of Madhya Pradesh, U.P. & Maharastra Rajnats of Rajasthan buy girls from the traffickers. A myth runs as that sex with a virgin is a remedy of Aids or H.I.V. So, girls are also victims to fulfil such purposes.
Porous borders of India are not properly fenced. Taking advantage and influence of the police on either side, trafficking is an easy way out. Political and economic instability makes the traffickers flourish in Nepal, Bangladesh, and Myanmar and even Uzbekistan.
Every year 20,000 victims are enslaved from Nepal, where 10,000 come to India. More than 1.2 million children in India are caught up in human trafficking each year as child prostitute.
Centre for Communication and Development, Kolkata found 3.558 individuals trafficked during 2000-2005.from seven districts of W.B. as Birbhum, Darjeeling, Howrah, Murshidabad, Purulia, North and South 24 Parganas. Surrey showed 2,5000 teen agers disappear from W.B. each year.
In Patharpratima of W.B. 71 children were missing in 2005 of which 28 were rescued.
During 2004-2006, in Sandeshkhali of W.B. 300 children were missing among which only 30 were rescued.
Hundreds of girls are kidnapped from all over India to be prepared for Common Wealth Games. These girls are injected with oxytocin to make them more voluptuous for prostitutions. Report of Ruchira Gupta from the organization Apne Aap Women Worldwide tells that they are taught limited vocabulary of English “Hello”, “ Thank you”. “Pls. use condom “etc. Government starts hundreds of condoms vending machines instead stopping sex trafficking.
Most are picked up from Railway stations, Bus stand, Metro Station, Foot paths, Slum area etc. A fair skin 8-year old girl can fetch $2500 a night and for a dusky skin $2,000.
Women and children from lower castes, BPL level. Dalits, are the most affected victims of violence. Extreme poverty and low premium traditionally placed on females are two important factors leading to girl children to get sold into hell by family members and acquaintances also. Victims are denied food, and water for not performing with clients.
Beating is a regular part of child’s prostitute’s life.
Report says in India; 200 girls and women enter sex area of which 160 are forced to do so and others also obviously find no other alternative but to surrender.
Besides sexual exploitation, other factors responsible for trafficking are adoption, entertainment & sports (acrobats in circus, dance-troupes), bear bars, forced marriage, bonded labour, false marriage, camel jockey, begging, human organ trade, drug peddling, smuggling. All these are included in Trafficking Net Work.
Family, relatives, friends, community leaders, brokers, pimps, owners of brothels,
Political leaders, Criminal nexus all are involved in Trafficking Racket. False promise of jobs or fake assurance of marriage lures women. At times, the girls are simply abducted.
Now surrogate mothers are legally accepted in the society. A renting womb can fetch lots of money. Needy women willing to be surrogated mothers are often trapped by the
Traffickers and end up in prostitution.
Thin under- weight children are used as jockeys in camel races. The child is tied to the back of the camel. As the camel runs, the scared child screams and this screaming makes the camel run faster and the audience enjoys such inhuman sport. The children are purposely kept ill fed to remain under weight.
Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act refers only for prostitution; it does not include protection of children. The “sold” girls often get infected with Aids & H.I.V. Such girls, if rescued by police or N.G.O.s are not accepted by the society. Their ultimate shelter then becomes Destitute Homes.
Human Trafficking has its roots in inhuman mentality. The outlook of human civilization must be changed; otherwise human beings will continue to be used as commodities in trading. So, conscience and morality must be roused to bring an end to such condemnable activities.
It is a wonder that despite ultra-modern advancement in Science & Technology in today’s world, human beings can still resort to such barbarian and savagery.
Prevention is best achieved by community policing. Public awareness campaign and community participation are the two keys. Creating legal awareness is one of the most important factors of any social programme. Legal awareness empowers people by making them aware of their fundamental rights and strengthens them to develop zero tolerance against abuse and exploitation.
Immigration officials at the border must have good communication with Police and Anti-Trafficking N.G.O.s. Help lines, Help Booths and Co-operating Police Force are very important to provide prompt help to victims.
Government Organizations and N.G. O s from all regions should deal with this International problem. They should come forward to initiate awareness among the poor section of the society against trafficking. The next step is to counsel the family of the rescued victims to come to terms with social acceptance.
Door to door survey of incidents of trafficking and cautioning of the deprived part of society against touts who lure the victims is necessary. In awareness camps, mainly three points can be focussed:
Beware of the touts
Don’t get seduced by the strangers or partially familiar people.
Don’t let children under sixteen get employed as laborers (Child labour is legally prohibited.)
Detailed discussion should follow on false promises of marriage, jobs etc. Overall campaign should be made to ensure that the children are sent to school and not as domestic help elsewhere.
Now in most states of India, primary education is free. Every child should avail of the opportunity and education is a must. The fundamental awareness of education in developing countries can be initiated by Government, N.G.O. by appointing efficient and competent social workers. The overall responsibility and necessary action should be carried in the International level.
Retired Lecturer (Applied Mathematics) in Burdwan Women’s College, West Bengal, India
Professional Writer in leading News Papers n magazines of Kolkata, India n on ON-LINE.
Author of Academic Books, Children Books, Fictions, School n College Text Books.
Talker in All India Radio, Kolkata.
Translator of English Classics into Bengali.