The Fastest Growing Criminal Industry- HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Anti Human Trafficking cells are working hard to curb the inhuman practice of human trafficking in the state | By Renju R

Please read carefully: “This msg is for every girl who goes to college or office alone. If u find any child crying on road showing his/her address n asking u to take him/her to that address, take that child to police station n plz don’t take it to that address. IT IS A NEW WAY OF GANGS TO STEAL, RAPE AND KIDNAP GIRLS. Plz circulate to all. Don’t feel shy to copy this as ur status. Our one msg may save a girl.” This is an important notification shared on Facebook by the Anti-Human Trafficking Initiative in Kerala. This statement is proof enough to understand the depths to which human trafficking has sunk  in India and a pointer to how deep its roots have spread. As this vile  racket thrives, these inhuman traders are coming up with new and innovative ways to carry out human trafficking, the illegal trade of human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation, forced labour,  reproductive slavery – a modern-day form of slavery or similar practices and the removal of organs.

Human trafficking is a crime against humanity. Thousands of men, women and children (anyone under 18 years of age) are falling into the hands of these traffickers every year. This is a lucrative industry growing fast in the world and ranking second in the  criminal industry after drug trafficking.

Recently we heard of the major instance of trafficking 26 juveniles (18 females and 8 males) into Kerala from Karnataka by the Netravathi Express, to be engaged as laborers working for meager wages in several cashew peeling units at Kollam. The 2 agents were nabbed and the juvenile victims were rehabilitated.

People are taken across the border of Waynad to Kudagu(Coorg) in Karnataka to work in farms and Sri Lankan Tamils attempt to immigrate to foreign countries by illicit means through the Kerala Coast. These are just a few examples of human trafficking that have recently come to light  in Kerala. Santhosh, a caretaker of a Juvenile Home, says, “I joined here in 2001. Within 2 years, I have seen an alarming rise in child trafficking. The flow of labourers to Kerala from other states precipitated this. One notable factor is that the trafficking of children from Tamil Nadu has decreased because of the strengthening of the Juvenile Justice Act by that state. Recently we got 12 children from Chattisgarh. The agents bring the children here. All they expect is one square meal a day, but they are grossly exploited. So we have to take every step to protect these children.”

Waking up to the dire situation, the Kerala Police has already established Anti Human Trafficking cells at district levels to curb the instance of human trafficking in the state.  The State Nodal Office became fully functional on March 1 of this year in Trivandrum. To attend the calls of informants regarding children in need of care and protection, a control room functions round the clock. The state Nodal Office also monitors the functioning of AHT Cells in the Districts.

The state level co-ordination of Anti Human Trafficking is entrusted with S.Sreejith IPS, Dy.Inspector General of Police, Kannur Range who happens to be the State Nodal Officer of the AHT cell. DIG Sreejith says, “This illegal criminal industry comes third in money making in the world. In Kerala, trafficking of children is rampant and most  people are not even  aware that it is a crime. The life style of Kerala is quite high compared to other states in India. So poor families in other states send their children here in despair, hoping that they would at least be fed. By curbing such malpractices, we want states to be aware of their duties and make them responsible for taking care of their children.”

Now AHTUs (Anti Human Trafficking Units) are active in every nook and corner of the State. Since March 2011, the Anti-Human Trafficking units have coducted 556 rescue operations in the state till 30 September 2011 and 880 victims were rescued. Of the rescued victims, 844 were Indians, 34 were Sri Lankans and 2 were of Nepali origin.

For the effectiveness of the AHT cell, training and awareness programmes are being organised. The state Nodal Office Co-ordinator Harish Kumar C P says, “We are providing training on Anti-Child trafficking and Juvenile Justice Act for police officers and personnel attached to the AHTUs. We are co-ordinating with Transport, Narcotics, Excise, and Railway departments and plan to include more departments in our cells.”

Kerala’s Anti-Human Trafficking cells are working more alertly now. They also intervene in the issue of sexual atrocities against tribal women and timely action is taken by State Nodal Officers, with the support of District ATHUs  Such cases are widely reporting from the tribal settlements of Kerala in Kasargod, Wayanad and near Vithura in Trivandrum District. Till now 123 cases have been registered in this issue. Explaining the structure of the cell, DIG Sreejith said, “The ACPs/Dy.SPs, DCRB are the district level Nodal officers. They, with the support of the Department of Social Welfare, Child Line services, and Child Welfare Committees conduct rescue and rehabilitation of victims.”

Childhood is the fundamental right of every child in the world. But it is a matter of great irony that when a few live in a world of fantasy, enjoying a carefree, innocent life, so many children struggle for the next meal, being harassed and tortured in a number of ways. There are ways to free society from child labour and begging and there are rehabilitation centres all over the country to give these children a new lease of life. Childline responds to the toll free helpline number 1098 round the clock. The rescued children are mostly housed in the Child Welfare Committee’s homes until their parents turn up and take charge. However, in some cases where the children are left unclaimed, the government would take up charge.

If left unattended these child labourers and beggars could be abused or recruited for anti-social activities. So next time you come across a child labourer or beggar, all it would take you is the trouble of making a phone call. Please do NOT hesitate to listen to your conscience.

Call: 1098, 9497998990, 9633234123 or email:

Sex racket and murder: Heat on ONGC officials


AGARTALA: After the gruesome murder of a housewife, Ashalata Das alias Soma, in Kanchanpalli on the outskirts of Agartala recently, names of some ONGC officials have come up for investigation for their alleged involvement with her. This is the first time that allegations are being made at this corporate body, which has been functioning here since 1970.

Ashalata’s body was found in a field on October 17 and police arrested her husband Sanjib, a tailor, her sister-in-law Jhuma, mother-in-law Chanubala and father-in-law Premananda Das for their alleged involvement in the crime. Hundreds of angry neighbours attempted to set their house on fire but police intervention at the right moment saved them.

It was alleged that Jhuma, who worked as a helping hand in the quarters of some of the ONGC officials, had illicit relationships with them. Some of the officials would visit her house at night regularly and spend time with her. It is believed they offered her large sums of money among other things. Neighbours identified at least three ONGC officials as “regular visitors” to the house though their names were not formally given to the police. Neighbours suspect that Jhuma perhaps tried to get Ashalata to entertain the ONGC officials who visited here and when she refused, she was murdered. It is not clear if Ashalata was forced to join the racket, but neighbours confirmed that she was subjected to regular torture by her in-laws.

A three-member delegation of the visiting Tripura Women’s Commission, led by chairperson Tapati Chakraborty, is also probing the murder. The team was here on October 18. “Many of the ONGC officials were reported to visit Jhuma’s house at night,” said Siuli Debbarma, vice-chairperson, adding, “neighbours claimed that on the night of the murder they had seen some of the vehicles ONGC officials used to travel in, parked outside Jhuma’s house.”

The commission delegation also met the DGP in-charge, Kishore Jha, and sought a thorough investigation into the case and stringent action against the culprits. DIG range Puneet Rastogi visited the spot and reviewed the investigation. When asked if Ashalata was raped before she was murdered as reported, Debaprasad Roy, officer-in-charge of Amtali Police station, said, “The rape is not yet confirmed as the medical report has not reached us.”

However, a doctor involved in the post-mortem, speaking on condition of anonymity said Ashalata had not been raped.

Sex racket busted

KENDRAPARA: A sex racket was busted and six persons arrested here on Thursday evening. Police raided Aram Hotel in Kendrapara town and arrested the six, including three girls. Those arrested include hotel owner Shiva Kumar Kar, Baishnab Bai (34) of Pattamundai and Sital Jena (30) of Erasama, believed to be customers, police said. Police also found a secret exit in the hotel that was used by the people involved in the trade during such raids.

Sex racket busted, three women rescued

Police on Saturday claimed to have busted a sex racket operating here under the guise of an Ayurveda massage centre and rescued three women hailing from Andhra Pradesh and Manipur. Acting on a tip-off, two persons, including one from West Bengal, were arrested in this connection yesterday, they said.The three women, who were rescued, have been sent to a government-run rehabilitation home, police said. The woman, who owns the massage centre, is wanted in connection with a similar case and has been absconding, police added.

US decision on India regarding human trafficking questioned


WashingtonThe decision by Obama Administration to grant China a political waiver and India an upgrade in this year’s annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report issued by the State Department has been questioned by the a US lawmaker.

At a Congressional hearing yesterday, Congressman Chris Smith, alleged that Administration’s decisions in this regard are politically motivated as both India and China are facing problem of human trafficking, particularly sex-trafficking of women and girls.

th is the author of the landmark Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) as well as subsequent laws to make further strengthen and adapt TVPA.
In the 2008 reauthorisation of the TVPA, Congress decided that no country should be allowed to skirt sanctions on the Tier 2 Watch List for more than two years before being downgraded to Tier 3. 2011, represents the first year that the limit was put to the test.

In his remarks, Smith expressed concern about the Administration’s decision to upgrade India from the Tier 3 Watch List to a Tier 2 country. ”India was upgraded to a Tier 2 country in this report despite the fact that it has one of the largest populations of enslaved laborers in the world, and has only prosecuted and convicted a small handful of labor traffickers,” he said.

Defending the decision of the Obama Administration in this regard, the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Robert Blake, said the State Department upgraded India to Tier 2 in the 2011 TIP Report because of the government’s greater resolve combating its trafficking problem, particularly bonded labor.

Blake said, “The Government of India increased law enforcement efforts through the establishment of over 80 Anti-Human Trafficking Units, ratified the UN TIP Protocol, achieved landmark convictions against bonded labor traffickers with punishments of significant prison sentences, and increased rescue and rehabilitation efforts of thousands of trafficking victims in many parts of India.”

However Smith argued, “The most dangerous three words in that part of the world is, ‘It’s a girl’. If it’s a girl, she may be dead, or if she gets a little bit older, she may be exploited through trafficking,” said Smith, who chairs the House subcommittee that oversees human rights and co-chairs the Congressional Human Trafficking Caucus.

Blake said India’s anti-TIP efforts have continued since the publication of the 2011 TIP Report. ”At the federal level we have seen efforts by the Ministry
of Labor, which called for all state labor secretaries to appoint nodal officers to tackle forced child labor and bonded labor,” he said.

“The Ministry of Home affairs has also been instrumental in broadly recognising the anti-TIP contributions of one judge of the Mumbai court (who has taken over and cleared hundreds of sex trafficking cases and issued rehabilitation orders for 1,200 rescued women and girls) and has asked Judge Swati Chauhan to share her anti-trafficking court model widely across India,” Blake said.

Blake added, “Bonded labor remains a persistent and difficult challenge in India’s anti-trafficking agenda in all jurisdictions but in August, the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights announced a new cell to focus government efforts on the elimination of bonded labor.”

India is today one of America’s most important partners, and a large and complex democracy that is increasingly committed to stopping exploitation of vulnerable people. ”The Government of India and State governments have taken
significant steps in their anti-TIP efforts, responding both to international attention to TIP issues and India’s own robust civil society that seeks social justice and reform,” Blake said.


“Wife-sharing” haunts Indian villages as girls decline


BAGHPAT, India (TrustLaw) – When Munni arrived in this fertile, sugarcane-growing region of north India as a young bride years ago, little did she imagine she would be forced into having sex and bearing children with her husband’s two brothers who had failed to find wives.

“My husband and his parents said I had to share myself with his brothers,” said the woman in her mid-40s, dressed in a yellow sari, sitting in a village community center in Baghpat district in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

“They took me whenever they wanted — day or night. When I resisted, they beat me with anything at hand,” said Munni, who had managed to leave her home after three months only on the pretext of visiting a doctor.

“Sometimes they threw me out and made me sleep outside or they poured kerosene over me and burned me.”

Such cases are rarely reported to police because women in these communities are seldom allowed outside the home unaccompanied, and the crimes carry deep stigma for the victims. So there may be many more women like Munni in the mud-hut villages of the area. Munni, who has three sons from her husband and his brothers, has not filed a police complaint either.

Social workers say decades of aborting female babies in a deeply patriarchal culture has led to a decline in the population of women in some parts of India, like Baghpat, and in turn has resulted in rising incidents of rape, human trafficking and the emergence of “wife-sharing” amongst brothers.

Aid workers say the practice of female feticide has flourished among several communities across the country because of a traditional preference for sons, who are seen as old-age security.”We are already seeing the terrible impacts of falling numbers of females in some communities,” says Bhagyashri Dengle, executive director of children’s charity Plan India.”We have to take this as a warning sign and we have to do something about it or we’ll have a situation where women will constantly be at risk of kidnap, rape and much, much worse.”


Just two hours drive from New Delhi, with its gleaming office towers and swanky malls, where girls clad in jeans ride motor bikes and women occupy senior positions in multi-nationals, the mud-and-brick villages of Baghpat appear a world apart. Here, women veil themselves in the presence of men, are confined to the compounds of their houses as child bearers and home makers, and are forbidden from venturing out unaccompanied.

Village men farm the lush sugarcane plantations or sit idle on charpoys, or traditional rope beds, under the shade of trees in white cotton tunics, drinking tea, some smoking hookah pipes while lamenting the lack of brides for their sons and brothers. The figures are telling. According to India’s 2011 census, there are only 858 women to every 1,000 men in Baghpat district, compared to the national sex ratio of 940. Child sex ratios in Baghpat are even more skewed and on the decline with 837 girls in 2011 compared to 850 in 2001 — a trend mirrored across districts in northern Indian states such as Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan and Gujarat in the west.

“In every village, there are at least five or six bachelors who can’t find a wife. In some, there are up to three or four unmarried men in one family. It’s a serious problem,” says Shri Chand, 75, a retired police constable. “Everything is hush, hush. No one openly admits it, but we all know what is going on. Some families buy brides from other parts of the country, while others have one daughter-in-law living with many unwedded brothers.”

Women from other regions such as the states of Jharkhand and West Bengal speak of how their poor families were paid sums of as little as 15,000 rupees ($300) by middle-men and brought here to wed into a different culture, language and way of life.

“It was hard at first, there was so much to learn and I didn’t understand anything. I thought I was here to play,” said Sabita Singh, 25, who was brought from a village in West Bengal at the age of 14 to marry her husband, 19 years her elder.

“I’ve got used to it,” she says holding her third child in her lap. “I miss my freedom.” Such exploitation of women is illegal in India, but many of these crimes are gradually becoming acceptable among such close-knit communities because the victims are afraid to speak out and neighbors unwilling to interfere.

Some villagers say the practice of brothers sharing a wife has benefits, such as the avoidance of division of family land and other assets amongst heirs. Others add the shortage of women has, in fact, freed some poor families with daughters from demands for substantial dowries by grooms’ families. Social activists say nothing positive can be derived from the increased exploitation of women, recounting cases in the area of young school girls being raped or abducted and auctioned off in public.


Despite laws making pre-natal gender tests illegal, India’s 2011 census indicated that efforts to curb female feticide have been futile. While India’s overall female-to-male ratio marginally improved since the last census in 2001, fewer girls were born than boys and the number of girls under six years old plummeted for the fifth decade running. A May study in the British medical journal Lancet found that up to 12 million Indian girls were aborted over the last three decades — resulting in a skewed child sex ratio of 914 girls to every 1,000 boys in 2011 compared with 962 in 1981.

Sons, in traditionally male-dominated regions, are viewed as assets — breadwinners who will take care of the family, continue the family name, and perform the last rites of the parents, an important ritual in many faiths. Daughters are seen as a liability, for whom families have to pay substantial wedding dowries. Protecting their chastity is a major concern as instances of pre-marital sex are seen to bring shame and dishonor on families.

Women’s rights activists say breaking down these deep-rooted, age-old beliefs is a major challenge. “The real solution is to empower girls and women in every way possible,” says Neelam Singh, head of Vatsalya, an Indian NGO working on children’s and women’s issues.

“We need to provide them with access to education, healthcare and opportunities which will help them make decisions for themselves and stand up to those who seek to abuse or exploit them.”

(TrustLaw is a global news service on women’s rights and good governance run by Thomson Reuters Foundation. For more information see

(Editing by Sugita Katyal)

MP girl sold for Rs 90,000, found


THE TRIBUNE / Jind, October 24

The police has recovered a 22-year-old girl hailing from Madhya Pradesh from the local railway station. According to police sources, the girl, identified as Maya, a resident of Betul district of Madhya Pradesh, was found to be loitering at the local railway junction on Saturday night under suspicious circumstances.

She told the police that her uncle sold her for marriage to a youth a few days ago against a payment of Rs 90,000. She said she became a widow after her husband died three months ago. The investigations revealed that the girl was married to a truck driver, Ved Prakash, a resident of Dhangar village, on October 20, but she fled from his house on October 22 and reached Jind. She told the police that as she was married against her wishes, she fled and wanted to return to her house in her native village.

While no complaint has been lodged by anyone in this connection, the girl was produced before the duty magistrate, who sent her to the Nari Niketan at Karnal till she was sent back home.This is the second such incident in which a woman, hailing from outside the state, has been recovered after being sold for marriage in the region.