India’s obsession with white skin leads to a large number of foreign women being trafficked into Delhi, say senior police officers.
They are lured with promises of employment but end up as sex workers, mostly operating from posh localities and even high-end hotels.
“The traffickers seize the passports of women who try to put up a fight on learning the reality,” says a senior police officer involved in several operations to rescue trafficked women, both Indian and foreign.
These women, mostly from poorer countries like Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, usually come to India on three to six months of work or tourist visas.
“By the time their visa ends, they are deep into prostitution and find no other escape. So they keep returning on extended work permits,” says the officer.
A few of them turn into pimps, often luring their own relatives and country-women into India and later forcing them into prostitution, the police say.
The traffickers employ several means to lure victims.
“Those who aspire for more than mere employment are lured on the pretext of joining a dance group. Some others are promised employment as clerks with big private builders,” the officer said.
Instead, they are sent out across the country to provide sexual services by brokers who mostly operate through the internet. Charges for their services can range between Rs.2,000 and Rs.1 lakh per night, with the women themselves being given very little money.
When they turn old and are no more sought-after, some return to their country while many others are confined to GB Road.
Eighteen people, including 10 Thai girls, were arrested for allegedly running flesh trade in the garb of operating two spas at Banipark area in the state capital, police said on Sunday.
All the accused, 10 Thai girls and eight men, were booked at Sadar police station under prevention of immoral trafficking act, they said.
There were complaints from the local people that on the pretext of massage, prostitution racket was being carried in the Thai spas, police said.
After probing the plaints, the local police raided the Crystal Mall at Banipark and arrested the manager, four Thai girls and helpers at the Thai Harmony Spa. While six other Thai girls, three customers and manager of Crystal Spa were also arrested, they said.
The girls used to charge from `3,000 to `6,000 depending on the customers standard for one time massage and illicit relations, they said.
Police have recovered the visa and passports of the accused Thai girls and verifying their antecedents.
On November 2 night, six people, including one woman, were arrested for running a flesh trade racket from a hotel under Karni Vihar police station.
The Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri Kiren Rijiju led the Indian delegation to the first BRICS Ministerial meeting on Migration held in Sochi, Russia yesterday. After detailed deliberations, a joint declaration was issued, which is a major milestone so far as orderly and legal migration amongst BRICS countries is concerned. Following is the Text of the Joint declaration:
“We, the Heads of the Migration Authorities from the Russian Federation, the Republic of India, the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of South Africa, guided by the Ufa Declaration and the commitment to respect human rights included in that declaration:
1) Affirm the interest of BRICS countries in exchanging views and sharing experience on migration issues;
2) Acknowledge the interrelationship between transnational migration and development and the need to deal with the opportunities and challenges that migration presents and take advantage of its positive impacts;
3) Reaffirm the openness of the BRICS to deepen collaboration with other countries, international and regional organizations, based on principle of equality and mutual respect for discussing and addressing the issue of international migration including the facilitation of safe and orderly migration;
4) Acknowledge the impact of migration to the social and economic development and demographic situation in the BRICS countries;
5) Express the interest of BRICS countries in sharing best practices in the development and implementation of national migration policies or procedures;
6) Acknowledge the relevance of cooperation in the field of migration in the BRICS space;
7) Recognize the importance of promoting the mobility of skilled workers in the space of the BRICS countries;
8) Reiterate the commitment to combat and prevent organized criminal human trafficking and migrant smuggling;
9) Welcome strengthening of the dialogue and cooperation in the field of migration, including migration policies, procedures and strategies as well as working meetings of representatives of the migration authorities of the BRICS countries;
Confirm our commitment to strengthen our partnership for our common development and to this end adopt this Joint Declaration, which is open for other countries to join”.
It is believed that this joint declaration will go a long way in smoothening the flow of people and would enrich social, culture and economic ties. The members also resolved to combat and prevent transnational organized crime in line with the Ufa declaration. The meeting was also attended by representatives of the Shanghai Cooperation Council (SCO), Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and other International bodies on migration.
On the sidelines of the BRICS Ministerial meeting on Migration, Shri Rijiju held a bilateral meeting with Mr. Konstantin Romodanovsky, Minister and head of the Federal Migration Service of Russia, yesterday. In this meeting various issues were raised including simplification of work permits and issue of temporary resident permits to Indian nationals. Russian Minister was forthcoming and promised to look into the issues on priority. He also invited the Indian side to visit and see the existing system regarding immigration and migration followed in Russia.
NAINITAL: Traffickers of earthquake-affected girls and women from Nepal seem to be finding new routes. In the latest rescue, the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) brought to safety on Friday, 10 teenage girls — all between the ages of 12 and 16 years — at Banbasa in Champawat on Nepal-Uttarakhand border.
Security forces also apprehended a 55-year-old man who accompanied the girls along with his minor daughter, after he failed to produce proper identification and papers.
The girls were residents of Nepal’s Kanchanpur district. SSB informed the girls’ parents, who travelled to Banbasa, after which the girls were handed over to them on Saturday evening. Poonam Sareen, assistant commandant of the SSB said, ‘The man accompanying them was drunk and could not produce any identification papers.”
“We apprehended him, suspecting trafficking, as the racket has gripped the country hard after the devastating earthquake earlier this year,” she added.
As per various reports and studies, the United Nations Organization and local NGOs estimate that around 10,000 to 15,000 women and children are trafficked from Nepal every year. The majority are said to end up in Indian brothels, while the others are taken to various countries including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Recently two Nepalese women rescued from the clutches of a Saudi diplomat in Gurgaon revealed that the Gulf has long been a hellhole for women and children trafficked from Nepal.
An alleged trafficker arrested by Delhi police in July this year had said that traffickers approach villages in remote districts affected by the quake of April 25 this year. They offer lucrative jobs and take the women to Delhi from where they were booked onto international flights to the Gulf.
Janakchand, director of REEDS, an NGO working to prevent human trafficking at the India-Nepal border, said, “Most of these criminal networks are based in India, which makes identification of traffickers tricky and difficult. The gangs have representatives and agents looking for ‘suitable targets’ across Nepal, particularly in deprivedand affected areas.”
The website of UNICEF says that it is already “supporting” the police to establish or strengthen at least 84 checkpoints and police stations throughout the country and in earthquake-affected districts.
In order to check trafficking, the Nepalese government suspended international adoption rights after the quake and also banned children from travelling between districts and across international borders without parents or approved guardians. The registration of new orphanages has also been suspended by the Nepalese government.
It has been luring poverty-stricken youths from the neighbouring nation Nepal promising better life.
A company, tantalisingly named WinWin, has for some time been luring poverty-stricken youths out of their homes in the remote hills of Nepal to India in the hope of acquiring a better life. But now, WinWin — that describes itself as a skill development company from Varanasi, the high-profile constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi — is under the scanner for suspected links with a well-organised international human trafficking racket.
“We have received several reports on the activities of the company. Investigations have been launched,” Inspector-General of Police (Varanasi Zone) Amrendra K. Sengar told The Hindu.
In the past few months alone, an estimated 60,000 Nepalese nationals, mostly young women, are believed to have crossed over to India hoping to join the company.
In the early hours of September 22, as The Hindu team waits at the Belahiya border check point, it is witness to Nepalese police personnel intercepting a WinWin “trafficking” agent attempting to smuggle out two girls from northern Nepal.
“You are a liar! This is the fourth time you have been caught red-handed. Why have you been doing this again and again, putting lives of innocent girls at risk?” shouts an infuriated policeman at the agent. Later, the policeman tells us: “The emerging trend is that traffickers have started targeting vulnerable sections in the areas not affected in the April earthquake, as most agencies have been focussing on pockets that witnessed massive devastation.”
Wary of disclosing his identity, the young suspect insists it is his maiden trip to Varanasi with the girls to enrol them in a WinWin skill development programme. The company is suspected to be run by two Nepali nationals.
“I recently learnt about the firm from my friends in my village Phalaban in Salyan [in northern Nepal]. Lots of people are going there for training … they offer 20-35 per cent returns. I have invested Rs.1.5 lakh and hope to get the first instalment this month,” claims the agent.
“The victims pay Rs.1.5 to 2 lakh per head to the company and then are made to operate as agents for bringing in more candidates from the remote hills of Nepal, on the promise of huge returns. We cannot stop the girls who are majors and carry valid citizenship papers,” says another policeman.
At Belahiya, a volunteer with Maiti Nepal, a non-governmental organisation, tells us that on an average, 600 girls cross into India every day: “Everyone wants to join this company in Varanasi. They have with them only a card of the firm carrying its name, WinWin, no other details. We don’t know where exactly these girls are being taken,” he says.
Trafficking of Nepalese nationals across the border is not a new phenomenon, but after an earthquake devastated Nepal in April this year, security personnel say there has been a spike in the outflow of young women looking for jobs abroad: this became tellingly evident after the case of the Saudi diplomats in Delhi recently.
Thanks to the friendship agreement between India and Nepal, there is free movement of people from both sides, making the task of the police that much harder. Only those accompanied by suspicious persons, and not having genuine papers, get intercepted, counselled and sent back.
For the moment, it is the NGOs that appear the most concerned: Rishi Kant of NGO Shakti Vahini stresses, “If the information on this company is correct, it needs to be investigated by senior police officers in Uttar Pradesh, in coordination with the State Principal Secretary (Home) and the External Affairs Ministry. The Nepali government also needs to be alerted.”
RANCHI: A case of theft under the guise of providing domestic helps came to light on Monday after a victim of theft from Phagwara, a city in Punjab, called up Khunti SP Anish Gupta reciting her woes.
Navdeep Walia, a resident of Phagwara was duped by placement agent Rekha, a resident of Murhu block in Khunti district of Jharkhand around a month ago. Talking to TOI over phone, Walia said, “I was in desperate need of domestic help when I got the contact number of Rekha from a person I know. She runs a placement agency in Punjabi Bagh area of Delhi. I spoke to her over phone and a few days after that, in the first week of September, she came to my house with two girls.”
Rekha allegedly demanded Rs.20,000 per girl and said that the girls would be taken back after one year. “One girl ran away the next day after arriving at my home. The second girl who acted innocent about the whole issue also ran away a day after that, taking with her my jewelleries,” Walia said.
After trying to contact Rekha for around a month, Walia finally decided to contact someone in Jharkhand and came across contact number of Baidnath Kumar, a social activist working against trafficking in Jharkhand. Kumar provided her with contact numbers of Khunti SP.
“I have spoken to Khunti SP and he has asked me to send all the details I have about this woman. I will also be lodging FIR here at Phagwara against Rekha and the two girls,” Walia said.
Khunti SP Anish Gupta said, “The woman (Rekha) has been identified. We are trying to apprehend her as getting to her may lead to disclosure of more such cases.”
Walia informed that after she was duped she contacted many other people in Phagwara and nearby areas and found that Rekha has allegedly done similar crime at many more households. “We got to know about nine such families who were duped by her. We have direct contact with two of the families,” Walia said.
Baidnath Kumar, who was the first person to be contacted by Walia said, “The lady (Walia) provided me with the contact number of Rekha. I called up on her number but her son Raghu received the call. When I confronted him about the issue he said arrogantly ‘neither Jharkhand police nor Delhi police can touch us, do whatever you can’.”
Meanwhile, Rishi Kant, member of Shakti Vahini NGO in Delhi said, “Such cases of people being duped by domestic helps and placement agents, especially in Delhi and Punjab, has come to limelight recently. People have to be more careful in such cases and should avoid getting in touch with unregistered placement agencies.”