‘Maneka seeks details of govt homes in state’

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National Commission for Women (NCW) member Sushma Sahu on Wednesday requested Union minster for women and child development Maneka Gandhi to order a probe into the functioning of all government short stay and children homes being run by the NGOs and mentioned in the social audit report of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai.

Sahu, who met Maneka in Delhi on Wednesday, told TOI over the phone that she also sought the minister’s intervention for justice to the minor girls, who had allegedly been raped and physically abused during their stay at Muzaffarpur children home and other government shelter homes in Bihar and mentioned in the TISS report.

The TISS report about alleged rape of minor girls at Muzaffarpur children home led to the arrest of nine accused, including seven women. The arrested persons also include Brajesh Thakur, the proprietor of NGO Seva Sankalp Ewam Vikas Samiti, which was running the children home.

Sahu said when she apprised Maneka of the pitiable conditions in government homes mentioned in the TISS report, the minister immediately called a top ministry official and asked him to provide her all the details and developments on the issue from Bihar.

Sahu said she also wrote a letter to the ministry to order the state level officers for fresh medical examinations of the minor victims. Sahu had visited the children home at Muzaffarpur on June 9. She said the girls were virtually kept in captivity inside crammed rooms. She had raised her suspicion over a door connecting the girls’ room with a printing press located just beside the children home. The press is also owned by Thakur.

 

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Child Labour: Capability and wellbeing

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“Well, if we don’t recruit children from Assam, they will get into more trouble, as who will then feed them? By working for us, at least they get to eat properly,” came a sympathetic response from a villager in Kimin block.
As part of a team studying human trafficking in our state, I visited Kimin block in Papum Pare district, due to its close proximity with Assam, in the winter of 2017. Another part of our team in Assam had informed us that almost 80 percent of the local children (from the tea tribes) are recruited in Arunachal Pradesh as domestic help, agricultural labourers, daily wage labourers, and as unskilled labour force. These children are spread across the districts of Arunachal Pradesh, with a major concentration in the capital complex.
In Kimin block, these children were present in hundreds. A few made the transit every day from work in the tea gardens while most others were employed in the capacity of domestic help in the houses of the towns. Ranging in the age group of 6 to 14 years, these children had come to be employed for meagre salaries between Rs 500 to 1500 per month, ie, Rs 16 to Rs 50 per day. While the salary rates differed in the capital complex, the statistics of prevalence remain the same.
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), “child labour” is often defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential, and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development. It refers to work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children and interferes with their schooling by (a) depriving them of the opportunity to attend school, (b) obliging them to leave school prematurely, or (c) or requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.
In its most extreme forms, child labour involves children being enslaved, separated from their families, exposed to serious hazards and illnesses, and/or left to fend for themselves on the streets of large cities – often at a very early age.
Child labour is engaged in the agriculture, industries, and services sectors. The worst forms of child labour are sale or trafficking, pornography, debt-bonded labour, and child soldiers.
“It is not just the Assamese children; even local tribal children from the villages come to study in the towns and often stay with their relatives. However, they do not do much studying as they become cheap labour for their relatives in return for food and shelter,” said one a school teacher when I asked about the migrant children in their town.
“They wake up the earliest, finish all the work first, and then come to school. After school, they go back and do whatever their relative asks of them at that time. Thus, we have to take longer classes so that most of these children finish their homework in the school itself, as we know most of them won’t get to study at home,” added another teacher.
According to the ILO, globally 152 million children between the ages of 5-17 are child labourers, of whom 73 million are engaged in hazardous work. Based on the 2011 census, India has 5.6 million child labourers. Laws and legislation are in place to fight against these practices, but it requires collective and integrated efforts in ending child labour and promoting safe and healthy work for young people.
“It is quite difficult to find ‘bontis’ (domestic helpers) these days,” my uncle proclaimed the other day.
“Why?” I asked.
“Well, you have to pay the person who brings the bonti, the person who finds the bonti, the person who made the connection between the first two people, and the bonti’s family. Too many payments have to be made for just one bonti.”
The increasing numbers of child labourers (CL) in Arunachal Pradesh need an urgent introspection on the capability and wellbeing of the future pillars of the nation. Our dailies have reported a couple of cases of physical, emotional and sexual abuses of CL. Diverse perspective and assumptions float when we discuss child labour. Are we shaping CL or slashing their future? How can we stop this inhuman practice in our state? Can they have books instead of tools in their young hands? These are some of the questions that bother us.
On 12 June, 2018, the ILO celebrated the World Day Against Child Labour (WDACL), focusing on the need to end child labour and ensure safety and health of the young workers.
What is required in our state is a culture to stop engaging child labourers in our homes, hotels and other places as apprentices, janitors, babysitters, farm a hands, mining workers, and so on. Imagine the future and wellbeing of these young minds, denied education and childhood (freedom, pleasures, play, and socialization). We have failed to provide free education, childhood, and freedom in their impressionable ages.
We need to envision the future wellbeing of our children, where they grow up with capability and function as self-reliant persons. In order to achieve it, we have to give the best opportunities to our children. The laws have to be followed in their true spirit, and livelihoods of parents and family members should be secured, thereby helping prevent child labour. Not an easy task at all, but not an impossible task either with collective and integrated efforts of individuals, civil society, and the state.
These pillars are essential in upholding the spirit of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC, 1992): Survival, development, protection and participation rights of the children. (John Gaingamlung Gangmei is Assistant Professor, Department of Social Work, RGU; Ronnie Nido is former research officer, National Research Study on Human Trafficking in India, TISS, Mumbai)

Forced labour: Assam girl rescued from Kingsway Camp

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Forced labour: Assam girl rescued from Kingsway Camp

A 14-year-old girl from Assam, who was forced to work as a domestic help, has been rescued from north west Delhi’s Kingsway Camp, Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) said on Sunday – making it the third time this week that a girl was rescued from forced labour. The Commission said that it received information about the case from a phone call, immediately after which a DCW team along with Delhi Police reached the stated address and found the child working there.

“The girl was rescued and also counselled. She informed the Commission that her father had passed away when she was very small, after which her mother remarried and the two began living with the stepfather,” a DCW official said. The official further said that the girl claimed to have requested her cousin for a job in Delhi. The cousin knew a family, where she soon started working for Rs 5,000 per month from February 2017. However, till now, she had only been paid Rs 12,000 till now and even that money was given to her cousin. The owner of the house where the girl was working deals in auto parts.

After her rescue, the girl was sent to a shelter home to stay the night, and she was produced before the child welfare committee (CWC) the next morning. The CWC ordered police to register an FIR and also ordered an ossification test. A case was registered under sections 75, 76, 3, 14 and 16 of the Juvenile Justice Act.

DCW chief Swati Maliwal, on Sunday tweeted, “14 year old Assamese girl rescued by DCW. She was forced to work as domestic help by a plush family in Delhi. This is third such rescue this week by DCW. Earlier, 2 girls from Jharkhand were rescued by us. Delhi has become a hub of human trafficking. This needs to be curbed!” She further said that young girls are working in inhuman conditions in Delhi. “Humanity itself is at stake. We all need to ensure a healthy childhood, education and health facilities for these kids. All stakeholders must come together and act”. Earlier, two girls from Jharkhand were rescued from Rajouri Garden and Kingsway Camp. Both the girls had not haved receive payment from their respective employers. “Placement agencies are running a trafficking nexus in Delhi which needs to be curbed. I appeal to all stakeholders to regulate the functioning of placement agencies. Strongest action should be taken against the employer,” Maliwal had earlier said.

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.

Nepal girls trafficked into India up by 500% in last 5 years: SSB report

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HIGHLIGHTS

  • The study by Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) claims the number of victims brought illegally into India has gone up by 500% since 2013
  • SSB says they are then forced into prostitution or pushed to into domestic help or other forms of exploitative labour

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A study conducted by border guarding force Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) on “Human Trafficking on Indo-Nepal border” claims the number of victims brought illegally into the country has gone up by 500% since 2013 with girls trafficked from villages and Terai region of Nepal sold to brothel owners in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and other cities for up to Rs 50,000.

In 2013, 108 girls/children were rescued at Indo-Nepal border, while 607 such victims were rescued in 2017.

Calling Nepal the “source” country for most of the trafficking of children and women to India, SSB says they are then forced into prostitution or pushed to into domestic help or other forms of exploitative labour, and in a few cases their organs are illegally harvested.

Quoting statistics of Nepal’s women and social welfare ministry, according to which 26 of Nepal’s 75 districts are trafficking prone, SSB says that most women/children at risk are from the hills and of schedule castes, but members of higher castes are also trafficked into India.

The traffickers, men (often called ‘dalals’) and women (‘didis,’ who are sex workers themselves), bring the girls aged 9 to 16 – to border towns before they are brought to India by bus. Near the border, professional agents who lure the girls for selling in the brothels are paid up to Rs 6,000 for every child. Apart from the ‘didis,’ SSB says, sometimes family members also act as traffickers. The girls are coached to conceal their true age in case they are stopped and questioned by the police.

Discussing the routes taken by traffickers, SSB says Nepalese girls from villages are first taken to Kathmandu, either to the guest houses or carpet factories, or from there to border towns in Nepal, where they are sold to “brokers.”

“The brokers then travel by bus or by train to Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi or even to smaller cities and sell these girls to a brothel owner or madam (referring to female agents in India) for up to Rs 50,000. Most brokers travel by local buses to Delhi, and then Mumbai by train,” says the SSB research, exclusively accessed by TOI.

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Some of the brothel owners, SSB says, are politically connected and hence, are not convicted.

 SSB says peak trafficking months in Nepal are between June and late August or early September when ‘didis’ return to their villages and recruit girls to bring to Indian cities. “At this time of the year (June to August), every mountain village of Nepal suffers from more than the usual level of poverty, while they wait for new harvests,” says SSB.

Quoting a recent Indian government survey, SSB says 60% of women/children working as commercial sex workers do so out of poverty or economic compulsion.