Eight girls rescued from placement cells

TIMES OF INDIA

NEW DELHI: Eight girls from Assam, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh have been rescued from four placement agencies in east Delhi allegedly involved in human trafficking. Four persons, including a woman, have been arrested.

“There was a tip-off from an NGO, Shakti Vahini, and we raided the four placement agencies, Babita Enterprises, India Maid Bureau, Deepika Placement Agency and Mission Welfare Society,” said Sanjay Kumar Jain, deputy commissioner of police (crime). The arrested have been identified as Ravinder Yadav, Pradeep Toppo, Vimal Kerketta and Babita, all residents of Shakurpur in east Delhi.

Four of the rescued girls are from Assam, one from Chhattisgarh and three from Jharkhand. “The girls were terrified and have disclosed that the placement agencies had employed them as domestic help across Delhi. When they wanted to go home, the agencies had detained them and withheld their earnings. These placement agencies wanted them to employ further as domestic helps

,” Jain said. After medical examination, the girls were sent to the children’s home for girls at Nirmal Chhaya in Hari Nagar. Ten girls, who were lured on the pretext of employment in the capital, were also rescued from GB Road brothels in central Delhi. The girls in the age group of 15-18 years were rescued from GB Road brothels following a tip-off by Rescue Foundation, an NGO. Nine of them are from West Bengal and one from Bihar.

“They all belong to poor families and were lured on the pretext of providing them employment in Delhi,” Devesh Srivastava, Additional Commissioner of Police (Central), said. The raid was conducted after the NGO informed police that a a minor girl who was missing from 24 Pargana in West Bengal is confined at Kotha No- 58, GB Road. Out of ten, nine are residents of West Bengal while one is from Bihar.

‘Escort services new form of prostitution’

TIMES OF INDIA

PANAJI:  A need for tackling human trafficking at the root with help from states where victims are sourced is required, felt the ‘consultation of service providers from Goa and source states to combat human trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation in Goa’, a seminar on human trafficking held at the secretariat hall in Porvorim.

Addressing a session on ‘Process of rescue in Goa and need for support of source state to prosecute traffickers’, crime branch police inspector Sunita Sawant said “Escort services is the new form of prostitution. Escorts give all sorts of ‘comfort’ to tourists.”

“The escorts (who are usually victims of trafficking) come in batches from north east for 5-6 days…They are usually lured with jobs in the hotel industry,” she added. Sawant felt, “Transit and source state trafficking offenders need to be brought to book.”

Narrating the difficulties faced in convicting offenders, Sawant said in one instance the rescued girls fled from the protective home. Hence, they could not get them to testify in court and the offenders were subsequently acquitted.

She narrated another instance wherein a Bangladeshi girl who was trafficked initially told officials she hailed from West Bengal. She revealed the truth to a counselor after three months, Sawant added. Police inspector Gurudas Kadam cited an incident in Anjuna where an Andhra Pradesh-based businessman was found dead after a conference where businessmen exploited trafficked girls in a hotel.

The hotel did not maintain any record of the girls entering the premises nor the rooms used for the illicit activity. The hotel manager was also involved, he added.He said many times the victims do not cooperate and hence authorities need greater help from source states (from where victims are trafficked) to eradicate the problem of trafficking from the root.A counsellor at one of the state-run shelters where victims are rehabilitated said, “The girls are traumatized. They want to go home… Sometimes, the victims become hostile.”

179 girls trafficked into Goa rescued over last three years

TIMES OF INDIA

PANAJI: A total of 179 girls who were trafficked into Goa for commercial sexual exploitation were rescued in the state over the last three years.

The revelation came from Anyay Rahit Zindagi (ARZ), a nodal NGO working to curb human trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation in Goa. ARZ was participating in a two-day consultation workshop of service providers from Goa and source states to strategize combating human trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation in Goa.

Representatives from eight states including Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Nagaland, Assam, Mizoram, Manipur and West Bengal are also participating. According to ARZ director Arun Pandey, though Goa is a destination state for trafficked girls, no study has been done on the magnitude of the trafficking.

Pandey said 146 were Indian girls followed by Nepal (27), Bangladesh (4) and Russia (2). From Indian states, 39 girls came from Mumbai. Others were Manipur (31), Goa (16), Andhra Pradesh (14), West Bengal (09), Nagaland (08), Karnataka (07), Maharashtra and Assam (both 5 each), Mizoram (4).

Call girl racket run by foreigner busted

TIMES OF INDIA

CALANGUTE: Calangute police on Friday busted a major call girl racket being operated over the internet by a Kyrgyzstan woman and her Indian husband from a place in Candolim.

According to SP (north) Vijay Singh, a police team led by Calangute PI Nolasco Raposo was on routine patrol at around 5am in Baga when they noticed a crowd gathered around a group of people fighting and causing a traffic jam. On suspicion they brought the two women and men who were fighting to Calangute police station. On interrogation, they learnt that it involved prostitution. The PI called an NGO and in the presence of their representative recorded the girls’ statements. One of the girls, aged 20, hails from Delhi, while the other, aged 24, is a native of Mehrun, Rajasthan. The girls said they were being trafficked by a woman from Kyrgyzstan who was staying at Ximer, Candolim. The police conducted a raid there and arrested Kyrgyz national, Valentina Shol, 29, along with her husband Alim Ullah, 31, a native of Jaipur. It is learnt that Shol was in India in 2011 too.

Another of the couple’s accomplice, Cholpon Erzhanova, also from Kyrgyzstan is reported to be absconding. According to police, the duo operates a website http://www.goaescorts.com through which they get their customers. Once in Goa, the customers are contacted over the phone to finalize arrangements. Police said the rates ranged between Rs 6,000 and Rs 16,000 per girl. The police seized foreign currency consisting of $ 11,340 and Euro 500, besides Rs 20,740, two passports, one laptop, seven cellphones and an air ticket.

The accused customers who were arrested are Anant Saurabh, 26, of New Delhi and Charit C, 29, of Bangalore. The girls would accompany their customers to five-star hotels, nightclubs, and casinos in Goa. The rescued victims have been sent to the protective home in Merces.

The police team consisted of Raposo, PSI Sherif Jacques, PSI Laxi Amonkar, LPSI Devyani Naik, HC Subhash Malvankar, LPC Sheetal Kinalekar, LPC Darshan Sawant, LPC Umika Poke and constable Navanath Chari. Police have registered an offence under Sections 3, 4, 5 and 7 of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act. Further investigations are in progress.

Trafficked girl rescued

TIMES OF INDIA

NEW DELHI: A minor girl was rescued from south Delhi after she alleged that she was sexually and physically assaulted by a trafficker. The girl was produced before Child Welfare Committee, which asked Delhi Police to register a case. The 17-year-old girl is a native of Tony Soong village, Darjeeling. On Tuesday, she was rescued by cops and NGO Shakti Vahini from Vasant Gaon, where she was provided temporary shelter by a Nepali family. “The girl was brought to Delhi four months ago on the pretext of marriage. The girl was being sexually and physically assaulted by the trafficker at Munirka,” said the CWC order. “To save her life, the girl ran away and was given protection by a family in Vasant Gaon,” the order adds. CWC noted that the girl was duped by a friend who gave her the number of one Satyanarayan from Siliguri. “According to the minor, her friend had given her the number of Satyanarayan. She left Darjeeling and went to Siliguri alone. After meeting Satyanarayan, they came to Delhi,” the order said. “The girl along with Satyanarayan was living in Munirka. After a week, Satyanarayan started exploiting her physically and sexually.” the order further stated.

TIMES OF INDIA

U.S. report rues low conviction rates in human trafficking in India

THE HINDU

“Challenges remain regarding overall law enforcement efforts against bonded labour and alleged complicity of public officials.”

Although India has made significant efforts in prevention of human trafficking, low conviction rates remain a cause for concern, according to the Trafficking in Persons Report-2012 released by the U.S. Department of State on Wednesday. As part of preventive measures, the Home Ministry has established anti-human trafficking units (AHTUs) with the objective of combining law enforcement and rehabilitation efforts. The Central Bureau of Investigation has also set up an anti-trafficking unit. However, the report states that “challenges remain regarding overall law enforcement efforts against bonded labour and the alleged complicity of public officials.”

Comprehensive law needed

The report says India needs to develop a comprehensive anti-trafficking law or amend anti-trafficking legislation to be in line with the U.N. Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, 2000, with adequate penalties prescribed by the U.N. Transnational Organised Crime Convention.It also recommends prosecution and conviction of officials allegedly involved in trafficking and States encouraged to establish special anti-trafficking courts, besides improvement in the distribution of State and Central government rehabilitation funds to victims under the Bonded Labour (System) Abolition Act. The report seeks improved protection for victims who testify against traffickers.

Uneven, not stringent

The report recognises the progress made by Indian law enforcement agencies in combating human trafficking in 2011, observing that most forms of forced labour in the country are prohibited under the Indian Penal Code, the Bonded Labour Act, the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act and the Juvenile Justice Act. It states that these laws are unevenly enforced and the prescribed penalties therein “not sufficiently stringent.” However, the punishment for sex trafficking under the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act and the IPC are sufficiently stringent.“The ITPA also criminalises other offences, including prostitution, and has some provisions that are sometimes used to criminalise sex trafficking victims,” says the report.

Corrupt police

“Non-government organisations continued to report that……corrupt law enforcement officers reportedly continued to facilitate the movement of sex trafficking victims, protect suspected traffickers and brothel keepers,” alleges the report adding that there is no reported prosecution or conviction of government officials for trafficking-related offences during the reporting period. This, according to NGOs, is due to a lack of sufficient evidence.The government continues to implement its three-year nationwide anti-trafficking effort by disbursing funds to State governments to establish at least 107 new AHTUs.Some NGOs believe that some units are more focused on sex trafficking than labour-related trafficking, while some feel the focus is more on child trafficking, than on both children and adults.

2009 directive

Through a 2009 directive, the Home Ministry has advised the States to use standard operating procedures developed in partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to proactively identify trafficking victims and refer them to protection services. But the report says its implementation is not known.However, the report recognises that the government continues to fund 100 NGO-run hotlines for vulnerable sections and distributed rehabilitation funds. It also raises issues pertaining to overcrowding, poor hygiene and limited services in the government-run shelter homes.The report points out that 90 per cent of trafficking in the country are internal and it is mostly related to the disadvantaged social strata. “There were increasing reports of females from north-eastern States and Odisha being subjected to servile marriages in States with low female-to-male child sex ratios, including Haryana and Punjab.” Maoist groups forcibly recruited children into their ranks, it says.

THE HINDU

Graft fuels trafficking

Graft fuels trafficking

Graft fuels trafficking

PANKAJ SARMA IN THE TELEGRAPH

US department of state’s report paints gloomy picture for region

Guwahati, June 20: A US government report has painted a gloomy picture of human trafficking in the Northeast.The US state department’s 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report, released by secretary of state Hillary Clinton yesterday, said there had been a rise in women from the region being subjected to “servile marriages” in states with low female-to-male child sex ratios such as Haryana and Punjab. According to the report, girls from the Northeast are also subjected to transactional sexual exploitation in West Asia under the guise of temporary marriages.

The report blames corrupt law enforcement officers in India of facilitating the movement of sex trafficking victims besides protecting suspected traffickers and brothel-keepers from enforcement of the law by taking bribes from sex trafficking establishments and sexual services from victims. “Some policemen allegedly continue to tip off sex and labour traffickers to impede rescue efforts,” the report said.

The arrest of a BSF jawan posted at Aizawl for trafficking a minor girl from Mizoram to Rewari district in Haryana in September 2011 also finds mention in the report, which says the accused jawan has been out on bail since December 2011. The report has put India among Tier 2 countries whose governments do not fully comply with minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance.

“The government of India does not fully comply with the minimum standards for elimination of trafficking. However, it is making significant efforts to do so. The ministry of home affairs continues to establish anti-human trafficking units which are responsible for combining law enforcement and rehabilitation efforts,” the report said.

It added that there had been numerous reports about sex trafficking victims being rescued by police-NGO teams and increased reports about inter-state coordination among anti-human trafficking units that resulted in the victims being rescued. “In one case, the Manipur, Rajasthan, and Kerala anti-human trafficking units collaborated in the rescue of 33 trafficked children,” the report said.

Welcoming the report, Rishi Kant of Shakti-Vahini, a Delhi-based NGO working against trafficking, told The Telegraph that a large number of girls, mainly minors, from the Northeast was being regularly trafficked and forced to marry in states like Haryana and Punjab.

“The registration of trafficking cases by the police in the Northeast has risen, but the government must ensure that guilty persons are convicted in court and for that the judiciary also needs to be sensitised,” he said.

The anti-human trafficking unit of Assam police has recovered many girls from Hissar district in Haryana with help from Shakti Vahini and has been rewarded recently by the Union home ministry for its efforts. The report also quoted a senior government official saying that while trafficking rescues and registration of cases have increased, convictions remain low in the country. It added that the government continued to make progress in its law enforcement efforts to combat human trafficking in 2011, but concerns remain over the uneven enforcement of trafficking laws and alleged official complicity.

PANKAJ SARMA IN THE TELEGRAPH