Illegal Placement Agencies Work as Front for Sex Slaves

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BY EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE PUBLISHED IN THE SUNDAY STANDARD

NEW DELHI: Indian investigators looking into the human trafficking ring from Nepal zeroed in on a curious fact. The girls who fetch the highest prices, come from Melchi village and a Sindhupal Chowk town, around 100 kilometers from Kathmandu. The doe eyes, fair skinned girls from Melchi belongs to the Tawang Gurung caste, and are in great demand. From Sindhupal they are brought to Kathmandu on the pretext of getiing jobs and better life in India. To avoid detection by enforcement agencies, they are then moved to Kakarbita, approximately 250 kms from Kathmandu.

“They have changed their modus operandi. Girls are being brought through Siliguri instead of Sonauli in Uttar Pradesh. For Bangladeshi girls,  Guwahati is the transit point and the girls are sent to Paltan Bazar before boarding a train at Rangiya railway station which connects to Chennai and Mumbai. Recently, 60 Bangaladeshi girls were rescued from Rangiya station,” the officials said.

Investigators confirm that the mushrooming of illegal placement agencies play a key role in the thriving human trafficking industry in India.

A document, in possession of The Sunday Standard, reveals details about Nepalese girls rescued from various parts of India.  On July 14, Seema (name changed) was rescued from a hotel in Delhi’s Karol Bagh area. She belongs to Jhapa, a poor district of Nepal. Parsa, Makwanpur, Chitwan, Sindhuli, Arghakhanchi, too, are known to be major source of human trafficking. The tribal areas of Gumla, Lohardaga, Khunti and Simdega of Jharkhand and Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar, Malda, North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas in West Bengal are the hubs of this fastest growing criminal enterprise.

Some big time traffickers have tied up with hotels and bedsits in Middle East cities, while some of them even own property to enable prospective victims to get work visas, and  are then trafficked.

Illegal Placeme

Like it has been discovered in the Majid rape case, a lot of the trafficking is done by placement agencies that are a front for organised crime syndicates. In Delhi, 462 placement agencies are registered with the  government, but more than 1,000 of them are running illegally. They are spread all over the city and operate from one room offices in unauthorised colonies. They have a wide network in West Bengal, Assam, Jharkhand, Nepal and Bangladesh.

Their targets are victims from sub-poor families, who are shown a rosy picture of life in Delhi and the Middle East countries to gain their confidence. The traffickers have penetrated the remotest of villages in Eastern India and Nepal, which are the worst hit by poverty and hunger.

Once the girls fall into their trap, they are tortured and forced to have sex with hundreds of men until they are “broken.” A grim humour pervades this brutal business.

“Strangely, 75 per cent of traffickers are nicknamed Raju or Raja, whether the girls being trafficked are from a remote Nepal village or from Jharkhand,” says a Delhi police officer.

Sex trafficking is a booming $120 billion global criminal industry and an estimated 8,00,000 women and children are trafficked across international borders for sexual exploitation every year. A girl sold to a brothel in India fetches between Rs 1 to Rs 3 lakh. But they fetch a better price in the Middle East, with the traffickers getting paid between Rs 6 to Rs 12 lakh a girl.

Hence, the lure of smuggling sex slaves abroad. The criminal human chain starts with a local agent who lures the victims from home for Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 per woman as their commission. The trafficker earns more than Rs 2 lakh with a single female. “This dirty business runs into thousands of crore,” says a senior Delhi cop.

According to a UN report, 79 per cent of total female trafficking is bound for sexual slave market followed by forced labour (18 per cent).

The parents of the girls are paid just Rs 10,000 with the promise that every month the same amount of money will be delivered to them.

Which, of course, never happens.Parents of a Nepalese girl who was rescued from Chandigarh had told investigators that they were paid Rs 5,000 by a Nepali middleman. They were promised aid of Rs 4,000 every month saying that their 14-year -old daughter will also be able to go to school while working in India.

The parents had approached authorities after there was no news from her nor any sign of the money.

“Victims fall into the sex trap because of various reasons including illiteracy, poverty, family conflict and lack of awareness,” says the officer, adding that India’s sex industry itself includes over 15 lakh women.

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