Just like cancer, the roots of this disease too have reached even the remotest areas. Like the deadly disease, human trafficking too has already ensnared almost the entire society. Men and women are involved in this and therefore legally it is termed as an organised crime.
Take Chandu for example. This person hailing from Rohini in Delhi was once actively involved with the trafficking gang and has even spent a year in jail. Now he earns his living by assisting masons in construction works.
“What had led you to such an occupation?” he was asked.
“The money, the huge sum paid as commission was so lucrative!” confessed Chandu.
“What mount were you paid?” I asked
What Chandu said was indeed overwhelming. Being a small fry the rate was 10 to 12 thousand per ‘piece’. At least 10 pieces were to be supplied each year. So, that made up at least a lac annually. Bigger agents earn even upto 5 lacs a year!’
Once, while on a supplying assignment Chandu was caught red-handed by the Delhi Police. Chandu was waiting at the station for the arrival of the North-East Express. Two girls of around fifteen were being smuggled from Assam. The Train arrived in time. A middle-aged woman alighted with the two girls. Chandu came near to them.
Having had prior information, policemen too were on their look-out. Being dressed in casuals, they had blended with the crowds. Just as Chandu was about to get hold of the girls, a voice nearby shouted, ‘hands up!’ the officers of Delhi Police Crime Branch took Chandu and two girls into their custody. The girls were thus saved from sinking into the unfathomable depths of the pool of darkness.
This is not just a single story. In Delhi, recovery is less frequent than the loss in the gloom. Almost everyday girls from different parts of the country are being smuggled to the capital for flesh trade. Being poor, they are usually promised jobs and finally delivered to the brothels, beggar syndicates and dance bars and so on. Sometimes little boys are also brought as bonded labour.
What happened to Chandu after he was caught? Trial took six months and Chandu was sentenced to one year imprisonment.
On being asked if he has really shunned the gang, Chandu claimed that he has. I asked him further, “Didn’t you ever feel bad?” “it is a risky trade” came his prompt reply, “but why should I feel bad? All I know is money. My work was only delivering the girls to their destinations.”
People like Chandu are doing this for money. But why are they falling prey to this gang?
Poverty is one of the prime causes behind this, and this fact was clear from that 14-year-old’s statement. This orphan girl was staying with her maternal aunt. Her only means of livelihood was collecting wood from the forest and supplying them to far flung shops. One day, a man arrived in her village. He was apparently looking for house maids for working in Delhi. The maid would be paid Rs. 1600 per month. Thi girl thought that this could mean an end to their deplorable conditions. Thus, her aunt decided to send her with him. First three months were just perfect. She was staying with the trafficker’s family.
One day two elderly women arrived at the trafficker’s Delhi residence. They were the brothel owners of G. B. Road. The 14-year old overheard them talking in hushed voices about a deal. She sensed some danger and started to cry. She wanted to go back home.
Instead of taking her back, they took her to a hotel. The first night was okay. The next day those two elderly women came back. Soon after they left, the police raided the place. The hotel manager informed the girl, that she was in huge danger.
Later on that manager told, ‘for some reason, I had grown some affection towards her. I had given her some money and told her to escape. But she couldn’t.” Those two elderly women were keeping a vigilant eye on her. So, as soon as she crossed the road, she was caught by them. Since then, kotha no. 41 has been her address.
In the first night itself, the girl had to satisfy 4 customers. She was an adolescent. But her body was not ready to face such assaults and injuries. So she fell ill. Doctors told that her private parts were mutilated. If she was forced to any more physical activities, it could cause her death. The Kotha owner was shaken. She gave 2 months leave to her.
Later on, the girl got to know that those four men who had coveted her body were police officials. So the entente between the brothel owners and the police was pretty clear. As a result, these heinous crimes often go unnoticed. Even when they are notified no one acts upon it. So, the traffickers are gaining more and more courage over the days, believes Kailash Satyarthi of Bachpan Banchao Andolan. The head of the organisation said, ‘police has the complete details of trafficking: Source to destination. But they do nothing, especially in the lower rung.’
There is no way to break the viscous circle. Laws are made on paper, and they remain there. For instance, even though it is mandatory to take FIRs, police is still taking GD. So, there is no scope for taking the case further. So, the lost girls never come back.
Running parallel to this is the story of people like Pappu. He works for beggar syndicate. He was not ready to show his face, but was ready to talk to the media. I asked him, ‘Didn’t you fear?’, he answered, ‘No, Madam, why should I? I have to have Roti-Sabji. Police knows everything, but they are happy with the Hafta system. So I have no problem at all!’
Pappu studied till 9th standard. He couldn’t even manage a petty job. Each day his parents used to taunt him due to his joblessness. So, he was ready to do anything, just anything.
Suddenly he came across Guruji of Indrapuri. He is the kingpin of the syndicate. He told, if Pappu could supply kids for begging, he would be getting 50 thousand per month. Just to do away with the tag of unemployment, Pappu started working for the syndicate. Now the ‘competent’ Pappu has become the closest aide of Guruji.
‘Didn’t you feel that what you are doing is not right?’ Pappu’s defended, ‘Will the government provide me with a regular job of 9-5? Will it provide food? Madamji, who likes this kind of nasty works? But I have wife and kids at home…’. So there are some people like Pappu, who know that the job is not a good one, yet he cannot leave this field for the he has mouths to feed at home.
So, there is a very close proximity between the trafficked and traffickers. It is often out of compulsion, that human beings are objectifying their own species. And lawkeepers too are sometimes working in unlawful ways.
What will be the future of that 14-year old? Where will she go? On the other hand, what else could Pappu have done?
There are several questions, but no answers. And we don’t know who can provide the answers.