‘Haryana Police shows zero tolerance towards human trafficking’

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Haryana State Commission for Protection of Child Rights has taken a strict view of large-scale trafficking of juveniles towards north India: Goel

Haryana State Commission for Protection of Child Rights member Balkrishan Goel, who was recently given an award by Consulate General of the United States in India for his contribution in the field of child rights protection, spoke to The Hindu on the increasing cases of crime against the juveniles, including rape in the State and the efforts being made by the commission to tackle it.

Haryana has been one of the destination States for minor girls trafficked from Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal for marriages and household work. A human trafficking racket was recently busted in Faridabad. What efforts have been made by the Haryana State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (HSCPCR) to curb this menace?

The commission has taken a strict view of the large-scale trafficking of juveniles towards north India including parts of Haryana. The district Child Welfare Committees (CWCs), District Child Protection Units and the police have been directed to carry out special drives across the State to identify the juveniles working as domestic helps and rescue them. A placement agencies racket is on the radar and we are not going to spare even a single trafficker in the State. The Faridabad police is pioneer in establishing Anti-Human Trafficking Police Station in India. The statistics prove that the Haryana Police are now following zero tolerance policy towards human trafficking in the State. In 2016, we registered only 30-odd cases and only 48 in 2017. In 2018, however, more than 20 cases have been registered in the first three months itself.

The instances of rape and molestation of minor girls are also on the rise in Haryana. What has been done by the commission in this regard?

The HSCPCR has been encouraging people to report the cases and providing every kind of support to the victims of sexual abuse. We extend all possible medical, police, legal and psychological help to the victims. The campaigns against sexual violence by non-government and other organisations are supported by the commission.

The police officers are found to lack sensitivity and knowledge of law to deal with criminal cases involving minor victims. What efforts have been made by the c commission in this direction ?

The commission is sensitising the police force time and again, especially the child welfare officers who are posted in every police station of the State. It is one of our top priorities. We are preparing an informative text in a simple language to circulate in the police force in order to ensure strict implementation of all the laws related to the children.

The CWCs in Haryana have also failed to assert their authority due to lack of knowledge about their power s and inadequate infrastructure. Your comments.

I would disagree. The people serving as CWC officials are the best human rights activists and professionals with deep roots in the field of child rights. Undoubtedly, issues such as poor infrastructure, poor record maintenance, and callous attitude of the members have been there, but things are improving. It might take time, but the State government is working in the best interest of the children to ensure justice to the victims of any kind of violence. We are working in the direction to liberate CWCs from ad hocism and keep their independence intact.

What efforts have been made by the commission to ensure safety of children in schools in the wake of the murder of a child in a private school in Bhondsi last year?

The State government had sent across an extensive circular on ‘Safety of School Children’ inside the school premises. The schools have been asked to maintain a complete record of entry and exit. The police verification is mandatory for every staff and should be repeated every year. The school authorities are directed to install CCTV cameras in every nook and corner.

The re are instances where Child Care Homes have been found running without proper monitoring in Haryana. In the case of Apna Ghar in Rohtak children were sexually abused for years. A Home in Gurugram is also under the scanner for alleged violation of adoption laws and suspected human trafficking. Your comments.

The proper monitoring of all the 68 Homes in the State is being done on a regular basis. Any one violating rules and laws will be dealt with strictly and the same has been directed to the other departments of the State as well. The children in the Homes are asked to report any crime against them to the officials. CCTV cameras are being installed in the Homes.

The district Child Welfare Committees, District Child Protection Units and the police have been directed to carry out special drives across the State [Haryana] to identify the juveniles working as domestic helps and rescue them

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मानव तस्करी मामले में आरोपित को भेजा जेल

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काजीमोहम्मदपुर थाना क्षेत्र के सादपुरा इलाके से युवती की मानव तस्करी मामले को लेकर तीन दिनों तक चले हाइवोल्टेज ड्रामा के बाद पुलिस ने बुधवार को आरोपित युवक फूलबाबू को जेल भेज दिया।

काजीमोहम्मदपुर थाना क्षेत्र के सादपुरा इलाके से युवती की मानव तस्करी मामले को लेकर तीन दिनों तक चले हाइवोल्टेज ड्रामा के बाद पुलिस ने बुधवार को आरोपित युवक फूलबाबू को जेल भेज दिया। उसकी मां और भाई को हिरासत में लेकर कई प्रमुख बिंदुओं पर पूछताछ की जा रही है। आरोपितों के खिलाफ पीड़िता की मां ने मानव तस्करी करने का आरोप लगाते हुए प्राथमिकी दर्ज कराई थी। लापता युवती को फारबिसगंज से पुलिस ने बरामद किया। वहीं से आरोपित को भी गिरफ्तार किया गया था। बरामद युवती को बुधवार को कोर्ट में बयान दर्ज कराने के बाद मेडिकल जांच कराया गया। इसी आधार पर आगे की कार्रवाई करने की कवायद में पुलिस जुटी है। इधर, पुलिस की प्रारंभिक छानबीन में मामला प्रेम-प्रसंग का बताया जा रहा है। आरोपित के परिजन ने युवक और युवती की शादी का प्रमाणपत्र कोर्ट में पेश किया है। पुलिस का कहना है कि युवती के बयान पर ही सबकुछ निर्भर करता है। उसी के बयान पर आगे की कार्रवाई की जाएंगी। अभी फिलहाल मामले की तहकीकात की जा रहीं हैं। बता दें कि युवती के घर से लापता होने के बाद इलाके में जमकर हंगामा हुआ। आरोपित के घर का घेराव कर लिया गया। थाने पर भी दोनों पक्ष आपस में भिड़ गए थे। इलाके में तनाव व्याप्त हो गया था। वरीय अधिकारियों ने मौके पर पहुंचकर किसी तरह मामले को शांत कराया था। पुलिस फोर्स को गश्ती बढ़ानी पड़ी थी। तीन दिन बाद आरोपित के जेल जाने पर मामला पूरी तरह शांत हुआ।

Traffickers recruit child labour as Indian schools break for summer, campaigners warn

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Anti-trafficking groups are warning that many children never return to school once they start working

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As schools break for summer, human traffickers across India are convincing impoverished parents to send their children to work over the holidays in factories and farms, campaigners said.

Anti-trafficking groups are urging the government to crack down on child labour during the two-month break, warning that many children never return to school once they start working.

“In this season, playgrounds and neighbourhood shops become hunting grounds for traffickers,” said Kuralamuthan Thandavarayan of the International Justice Mission, an anti-trafficking charity.

“They track children from poor families and convince parents that it is a waste of time to allow their children to play or stay home when they can earn instead.”

There are an estimated 10.1 million workers between the ages of 5 and 14 in India, according to the International Labour Organization.

More than half of them toil on farms and over a quarter are in the manufacturing sector embroidering clothes, weaving carpets, making matchsticks and bangles.

“In many villages, with both parents out working, teenagers at home during summer break are lured by recruiters looking to hire cheap labour in the (textile) mills,” said Joseph Raj of the non-profit Trust for Education and Social Transformation.

Other children join their parents in brick kilns, where they work between November and June, when the rainy season begins. The recruitment and payment systems in these kilns trap seasonal migrant workers in a cycle of bonded labour, according to a 2017 report by the rights groups Anti-Slavery International and Volunteers for Social Justice.

Wages are low and often paid at the end of the season, and families are forced to put their young children to work to make 1,000 bricks a day, which allows them to make the minimum wage, said the report.

“Agents promise to bring the children back to the village in time for the new academic session. But the problem is that many don’t return,” said Krishnan Kandasamy of the National Adivasi Solidarity Council, an advocacy group.

Tamil Nadu state government data showed that nearly 30 percent of the 1,821 people rescued from debt bondage in 2017 were children.

“It starts out as children helping their parent, but slowly they take on more work that involves longer hours,” Kandasamy told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

He said his organisation has already rescued 456 bonded labourers in the southern states of Tamil Nadur, Karanataka and Andhra Pradesh this year, many of them children.

“We are increasingly finding children in mango orchards, jasmine flower farms, brick kilns, rag-picking centres and out grazing cattle,” said Kandasamy.

CBI busts human trafficking racket in New Delhi, books five for sending 11 boys to US

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The CBI on Tuesday busted a human trafficking racket and booked its five members for allegedly attempting to send 11 teenaged boys from Punjab to the United States on forged and fabricated documents.

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A CBI spokesman said that immediately after registering the case, searches were conducted at six places in Punjab. The five, identified as Sundeep Singh Luthra, Amit Jyot Singh, Rohit Gauba, Anshika Matharu and Rachna David, allegedly conspired in and attempted human trafficking of 11 teenaged boys to the US under the garb of an educational trip, the agency said.

It was alleged that the accused persons submitted false and fabricated documents to the US Embassy for obtaining a non-immigrant visa for these boys who were shown as students of a school in Pathankot in Punjab.

David, who was to escort the group of boys, was shown as the principal of the school, the CBI said and added that none of them belonged to the school mentioned in their applications. During the preliminary investigation, it was found that the accused persons, who run a travel agency in Southwest district of Delhi, had taken lakhs of rupees from the families of each of teenaged boys for sending them to the US.

The boys were brought from Punjab to New Delhi by the accused and were tutored to present themselves as school students at the time of their interview at the US Embassy.

Raped, beaten up, trafficked to Delhi…and now a rescuer

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A victim of rape, child marriage (to the rapist), domestic violence and, as if this wasn’t horrible enough, human trafficking!

Today she is 18, owns a small business and saves girls from descending into the same hell, at a village in the Sundarbans, West Bengal. Aparna (name changed) was just nine when she was raped by a 19-year-old man who entered her house while she was sleeping and her mother had gone for work.

He left her bleeding on the bed. In the evening, when her mother returned, Aparna narrated the incident to her, and the duo went to the village’s arbitration centre seeking justice.

After an investigation, the boy was identified and was forced to marry her. That was, as per the village elders, justice enough and punishment enough for the rapist. Today, Aparna encourages rape survivors to register FIRs rather than go for arbitration and end up marrying their tormentors.

Marrying the man who raped her soon turned into a nightmare for Aparna. Her husband started beating her up, singed her with cigarette tips, struck her with rods and belts. Every day, she was left blue and black.

Unable to bear it any longer, Aparna approached the arbitration centre to complain about domestic violence. This time, the elders told her to take the legal path.

“I filed a case and started visiting the court for the legal proceedings. Soon, it became a hassle for me to visit the court for hearings. One day at Canning railway station, from where I was supposed to board a train to meet my advocate, an unknown woman approached me. She was carrying a water bottle with her. I was thirsty and asked the woman for a drink of water. But she bought me a new water bottle. Few minutes after I drank that water, I became unconscious. When I regained consciousness, I was in a brothel in Delhi,” she said.

Some days later, Aparna got to know that her mother-in-law had sold her to a human trafficker.

“At the brothel in Delhi, I was forced to attend to more than eight customers a day,” she said, adding that there was physical violence also.

“Almost a month later, I learnt that the brothel was located in central Delhi’s GB Road. The building was like a cage where you can’t even breathe. At times, I was tortured by the customers who have left several cigarette burn marks on me,” Aparna told MAIL TODAY.

One day, and she remembers that it was raining outside, a customer dressed in a white shirt and blue denims came.

“He looked educated. After I locked the door, I started crying and I told him how I was trafficked. He assured me that he will rescue me. Few days later, a police team along with an NGO raided the brothel where I was caged. They rescued me. When I reached the police station, I was surprised to see the same man sitting in a senior official’s room. He recognised me and I was sent back to my village,” she said.

Aparna has also dedicated her life to saving young girls in her village from falling prey to predators.

“I am a part of Bandhan Mukti, a rape suvivors’ collective group. I am also a part of Swayangisddha, an initiative taken by West Bengal Police. I don’t want others to experience what I have. We work with vulnerable girls and victims, try to educate them and make them strong enough to defend themselves,” she said.

The 18-year-old has counseled more than 30 rape survivors and has educated several vulnerable girls about human-trafficking.

“During counseling sessions, many minor girls have told me about traffickers in their localities. I keep on passing such information to the police,” she said.

New lease of life for former trafficking victims

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Thirteen rescued women underwent a one-month skill-training programme under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana.

Thirteen rescued women underwent a one-month skill-training programme under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Trained to perform the role of unarmed security guards

Thirteen former victims of trafficking who were rescued in New Delhi have been trained to perform the role of unarmed security guards, the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) announced on Monday.

Special project

The rescued women underwent a one-month skill-training programme as part of a special project under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), the corporation added.

The 13 women were rescued from G.B. Road, the Capital’s infamous red light area, by the Delhi Police’s Special Police Unit for Women and Children (SPUWAC), an NSDC official said.

Viable professions

Juvenile Justice Committee Chairperson Justice Mukta Gupta said the objective of the special project was to provide support and skill-training to disadvantaged women and find viable professions for them.

Positive development

Human trafficking is serious issue. We believe the NSDC’s special projects will encourage other victims to come forward and find opportunities for better livelihood. Through this transformational programme, we seek to achieve substantial impact on the lives of these women,” Justice Gupta added.

After they were rescued, the 13 women were provided shelter at Nirmal Chhaya complex, a home for the destitute, where they were counselled to manage their aggression and seek the path towards positive development. The women were later shifted to a home in Dwarka for their protection and away from threats from their former agents.

Policy dive: All you need to know about Trafficking of Persons Bill, 2017

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Policy Dive picks a policy issue, traces the debate around it, the different schools of thought and the choices involved.
More than 300,000 children went missing in the country between 2012 and 2017.

More than 300,000 children went missing in the country between 2012 and 2017.(Shutterstock/Representative image )

The government had listed the bill aimed at protecting trafficked persons, especially young girls and women, for introduction in the Lok Sabha in the just-concluded budget session. But continued disruptions, which virtually wiped out the second part of the session, prevented the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2017 from being introduced.

Here is all you need to know about the proposed law

Issue

More than 300,000 children went missing in the country between 2012 and 2017, government data shows. Around 100,000 are yet to be traced and it is feared that many of them could have been trafficked.

In 2016, for instance, 111,569 children were reported missing. Of these, 55,944 children were traced but only 8,132 trafficking cases were reported.

Many of these children are victims of modern slavery — forced into prostitution, labour or domestic work.

They are also used as drug mules and even given up for adoption illegally. Poverty and lack of opportunity also pushes a lot of young women, especially from the interior parts of West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar and Jharkhand, into prostitution.

Despite the enormity of the problem, India lacks a single comprehensive law for human trafficking. At present, trafficking is covered under half-a-dozen laws resulting in confusion and poor enforcement.

Significance

For the first time, a standalone law to address the problem has been proposed that will treat a trafficked person as a victim and not an offender. It not only prescribes stringent punishment but also addresses the crucial issue of rehabilitation of victims, many of whom are lured by traffickers on the promise of a better life and jobs.

The rehabilitation is not contingent on criminal proceedings. A special rehabilitation fund has been proposed for immediate protection of rescued persons. The punishment for traffickers varies from 10 years rigorous imprisonment to life sentence and Rs 1 lakh fine in cases of aggravated crimes.

Also in a first, a national anti-trafficking bureau run by the National Investigating Agency (NIA) has been proposed to coordinate with other countries, as many times the victims, mostly women, are smuggled out of the country.

The proposed law also makes registration of placement agencies that recruit or supply domestic helps mandatory.

Debate

The bill has been debated intensely, within the government and also among activists and organisations. When the bill was being drawn up, the ministry of external affairs said the law should address trafficking of persons within India as well as overseas.

The women and child development ministry (WCD), which is piloting the bill, had countered, saying the bill already covered the movement of trafficked person from one place to another within the country and also overseas.

Activists and non-government organisations such as Lawyers Collective have criticised the proposed law, saying it has nothing new to offer and all its provisions are already covered under existing laws. The new law will only end up “complicating the legal framework and its enforcement”.

The government says because the laws dealing with trafficking were not consolidated, the issue could not be tackled effectively. Hence, the need for a comprehensive standalone law.

Activists have also said no substantial research has gone into the bill, an argument rejected by the WCD ministry.

Lawyers’ Collective has pointed out that the provision to charge a person who encourages another person to “migrate illegally into India or Indians to some other country” with aggravated form of trafficking punishable with 10-year imprisonment could have serious implications for cross-border movement of people, including refugees.

The WCD ministry has said the argument does not hold.