Wednesday, October 10, 2007 (New Delhi)NDTV24X7
Every year close to one lakh Indians, mainly women and children simply disappear. Most end up either as bonded labour or are forced into prostitution.
On Wednesday the government and the United Nations came together and launched, as what is being called, one of the largest coordinated campaigns against human traffickers, even roping in Bollywood and Indian industry to take on the third largest organized criminal activity in the world.
Singing a song for the child victims of trafficking, singer Usha Utthup joined hands with other bollywood stars and NGOs to launch in India the Global fight against trafficking considered to be the third largest criminal activity next only to illegal drugs and arms sales.
”The children of red light areas are innocent and the real victims of trafficking,” said Usha Utthup, Singer.
According to estimates there are over 12 million child labourers in the country. Many of them end up being forced into prostitution in the country.
”I want the customers to be arrested, the demand is higher for even kids between 9-6 years of age. These people need to be punished,” said Renuka Choudhary, Minister, Women and Child Development.
Over the years several members of NGOs and police have been killed while fighting traffickers. The government and the United Nations say that they are fighting a very determined enemy.
”It is about 32 billion dollars industry. 800 thousand people are trafficked every year. The same people who are into moving arms also move people,” said Jeff Avina, Director of Operations, UNODC.
”Its is becoming a focal issue because of the international pressure, because of UN pressure. It is time we have a system in place which is coordinated and visible and accountable,” said Kiran Bedi, DG, BPRD.
India is one of the biggest sources as well as a destination for trafficking. While efforts are on to combat this highly organized crimes, delay in prosecution still remains one of the biggest stumbling blocks.