77.8% of trafficked kids lured into sex trade on job promise: Report

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An estimated 77.8 per cent of the trafficked children are lured into flesh trade at the promise of good job, according to a report
Children shouting Slogans against Child Trafficking on the occation of Global Day Against Child Trafficking at Jantar Mantar on Friday.

Children shouting Slogans against Child Trafficking on the occation of Global Day Against Child Trafficking at Jantar Mantar on Friday.(HT File Photo)

An estimated 77.8 per cent of the trafficked children are lured into flesh trade at the promise of good job, according to a report

The report, compiled by West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights in collaboration with the International Justice Mission (IJM), said the children were subjected to brutal physical violence during conditioning period of the trade which also involved multiple rapes.

The report was released yesterday after on-field study in 2015-16 in the city and neighbourhood areas said.

“Once conditioned, these children were forced to provide sexual ‘services’ to 7-18 men in a day,” the report said.

An estimated 4.4 per cent of brothels and hotels in known red light locations, called ‘public establishments’ in the report, have minors sold for sex, the report said.

The overall number of children – both boys and girls – in such places like brothels was no more than 0.8 per cent, the report said.

Children have been put into the age group of 16-17 years.

In places where sex trade is carried out covertly, like residential premises, massage parlours and lodges, a higher number of 18 per cent children were engaged in such activities, it said.

Of the 131 sex workers sampled in such private establishments, where the information about flesh trade was known only to the select patrons, the number of children engaged in such trade were 24, the report said.

Regional Director, International Justice Mission, India Sanjay Macwan said after the launch, IJM in collaboration with WBCPCR (West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights) had conducted the survey with all possible help from Kolkata Police and CID.

Member Secretary, West Bengal State Legal Services Authority, Ajoy Kumar Gupta said: “One of the worst form of human trafficking is sex trafficking which is most visible in red light areas and a far greater number of them are women and children.”

The time has come for more inter-state collabration to fight this menace, Macwan said.

Macwan added, West Bengal has made some of the most progressive anti-trafficking efforts in the country.

“The finding of IJM’s study reflect the impact of state government’s iniatiatives, the proactive police effort to deter crime and timely conviction from the judiciary,” he said.

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Crime against children up by 300% in recent years, says NCPCR chairperson

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The deeper analysis shows that in crime rate a substantial increase has taken place between 2009 and 2015 due to marriage of minor girls, kidnapping and abduction and selling of minors for prostitution.
Rescued victims of Trafficking at Sahyog Village “Home For Childern” in Jharkhand.

Rescued victims of Trafficking at Sahyog Village “Home For Childern” in Jharkhand. (HT file photo for representation)

Stating that crimes against children in India have increased by almost 300% in a span of six years since 2009, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) chairperson Stuti Kacker on Saturday said a multi-sectoral action plan is needed to combat child trafficking.

“The National Crime Record Bureau suggests that there is a rise in crime against children since 2009. The number of incidents rose from 24,203 in 2009 to 92,172 in 2015, resulting an increase of almost 300% in a span of six years,” Kacker said in a written statement read out in absentia at the ‘Anti-Human Trafficking’ conference here organised by Kolkata Mary Ward Social Centre.

“The deeper analysis shows that in crime rate a substantial increase has taken place between 2009 and 2015 due to marriage of minor girls, kidnapping and abduction and selling of minors for prostitution,” she said.

Kacker also revealed that the number of trafficking victims among children have also significantly increased in recent years.

“NCRB data suggest that a total of 9,104 children were trafficked in 2015 which is a 27 percent increase over 2014. This includes both trafficking within the country and cross border trafficking. The estimate indicates that over 60 per cent of total human trafficking is of the children,” she said.

Kacker suggested an action plan in the country to address issues like poverty, unemployment and economic and gender disparity that are major reasons of any form of human trafficking.

“The causes of global child trafficking are varied and complex but it includes poverty, lack of opportunity, economic disparity, land demarcation, increased gender discrimination and discriminatory cultural practices,” she said.

“We need to protect our children from violence and crime to identify and close the gap that enables the traffickers a scope and formulate a multi sectoral action plan for combating child trafficking,” she added.

 

Human trafficking: Police crack down on illegal placement agencies

Millennium Post

Human trafficking: Police crack down on illegal placement agencies

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New Delhi: Unsafe migration from the states leads to human trafficking and illegal placement agencies have been playing a key role in building a strong trafficking network. Taking a note of the situation, Delhi Police has started a crackdown in illegal placement agencies which have been flourishing in the Capital. Police sources told Millennium Post that the Central Delhi Police have started the move and they have asked all the station house officers (SHO) and the concerned Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) to check illegal placement agencies flourishing in their areas and take quick action against them.

Sources further claimed that in a meeting senior police officers have told the SHO and ACP about the illegal activity. After the investigation, it will be the duty of ACP to give their senior police official a report on them. So far in Central Delhi, around seven placement agencies have been found legal. “An advisory regarding the illegal placement agencies will also be sent to the concerned police official of their jurisdiction,” said a police source.

The move came after Central Delhi Police in a major breakthrough, busted a human trafficking and forced bonded labourer racket, and arrested three accused persons. A total of 16 bonded labourers, including seven minors, were rescued during the entire operation. According to NGO Shaktivahini, several illegal placement agencies flourish in cities like Delhi where there is a high demand of live-in maids who can work even at odd hours as per the schedule of the employers. The employers are also specifically looking for younger children because ‘they are cheaper’, complain less and can be exploited. Sources claimed that the illegal placement agencies have the network which operates from the village from where the girl is trafficked.

Rishi Kant from Shaktivahini stated that the traffickers first spot the vulnerable places in villages after which they conduct a recce of the area to know which family is very poor and in search of money. “They start contacting the family and tell them that their children will have a good life in metropolitan cities and also send them money if they are sent to them. But in reality, all the money is taken by the placement agency, not even a single penny is sent to the family,” he said.

Three arrested for human trafficking

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Representational Image 

Pithoragarh, Nov 9 (PTI) Three persons, including a Nepali, were arrested today on charges of trafficking a 17- year-old Nepalese girl from an area under the Jhoolaghat border outpost here in Uttarakhand, an official said.

Bunti and Sahil from Jammu and Raju Parki from Jalati village in Nepals Darchula district were taken into custody by a team of the anti-human trafficking cell, said Brij Mohan Bahuguna, the cells in-charge in Pithoragarh.

They were arrested after they could not answer why they were taking the girl along with them, he said, adding that apparently, the men had lured her on the pretext of marriage and were trafficking her.

The teams suspicion increased when the accused could not establish their relation with the girl. They have confessed that they were taking her to marry her off, Bahuguna claimed.

“We are investigating whether the teenager was being forced by the youths into immoral activities,” he said. PTI CORR ALM ANB ANB

These are the safest and most dangerous states for women in India

While Goa was ranked the safest among the states, Bihar was found to be the most unsafe.
Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

With violence against women becoming rampant in the country, the safety of women has become a matter of grave concern.

Logic cannot really deduce what provokes alleged perpetrators to impregnate a child or even rape a 100-year-old woman for that matter.

In such a situation, the Ministry of Women and Child Development has released a Gender Vulnerability Index, complied by Plan India that ranks states in India, in terms of the level of safety that they promise to women.

The index aims to identify the status of Indian women with regard to education, health, poverty and protection.

According to the study, Goa has been rated as the safest state for women, with a GVI (Gender Vulnerability Index) score of 0.656. It has ranked first in terms of protection, fifth for education, sixth for health and survival and eighth for poverty.

Other states where women are considered to be least vulnerable include Kerala, Mizoram, Sikkim and Manipur.

Picture courtesy: Plan India

Picture courtesy: Plan India

On the other hand, Bihar was found to be the most unsafe state for women, with a GVI score of 0.410. Women are believed to be the most vulnerable in the state, less healthy and poorer, as compared to other states in the country. The state also ranked the lowest in terms of education and protection.

Bihar was preceded by Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, with GVI score of 0.436 and 0.434 respectively.

Trafficked on Myanmar passports, Indian housemaids struggle to return home

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Since Myanmar's democratic government took over in 2016, it has been easier to travel through the country and traffickers have stepped up activity, according to a recent report by the anti-trafficking unit in northeast Indian state of Mizoram.
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Years of ethnic violence and armed conflicts in northeast India have made it a trafficking hotspot, campaigners say. The region is a source, destination and transit point for girls being trafficked into brothels or domestic servitude. (Representational Image)

The 17-year-old recalls being excited as she took the car journey and bus ride from her home in northeast India and across the border into Myanmar. But a few weeks into her stay in Yangon, a phone call to her distraught mother suddenly made her fearful. “She told me I had illegally crossed into another country,” she said. “My family said I should come back and their tone made me very scared.” An agent – a man she had seen around her neighbourhood but “didn’t know too well” – had housed her in a Yangon hostel, and had promised to get her a fake Myanmar passport and a well paid job, she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

She and seven other girls from northeast Indian state of Manipur had crossed borders in June and were holed up in Yangon for three months, waiting to be moved on to jobs as housemaids in Singapore or Malaysia with their new travel documents. They were among hundreds who transit through Myanmar’s biggest city – an emerging hub for traffickers seeking to send Indian girls to Southeast Asia to become domestic workers, said Hasina Kharbhih of Impulse NGO Network, a charity that has helped repatriate many trafficking victims. Travelling on illegal documents leaves the already vulnerable young women with little protection, she said.

Since Myanmar’s democratic government took over in 2016, it has been easier to travel through the country and traffickers have stepped up activity, according to a recent report by the anti-trafficking unit in northeast Indian state of Mizoram. “The Myanmar route to South East Asia is seeing increasing trafficking because for many miles on both sides of the border, the people are the same – speaking the same language, looking the same,” said Thianghlima Pachuau, head of the Mizoram police force. “We have had tragic cases in the region. In one instance the girl died in Singapore but could not be brought home (to India) since her documents indicated she was a Myanmar national. Her parents never got closure.”

BORDER ROUTES

Years of ethnic violence and armed conflicts in northeast India have made it a trafficking hotspot, campaigners say. The region is a source, destination and transit point for girls being trafficked into brothels or domestic servitude. The underdeveloped region is bordered by China, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Bhutan. Many of these porous borders are crossed every day by thousands of people, who share similar ethnic, religious, linguistic and cultural characteristics, security officials say.

Traditionally, traffickers have used Nepal as a transit point to send women to the Gulf countries. But trafficking through Myanmar is now on the rise, police say. Moreh, a thriving business hub on the India-Myanmar border, is the first stop for girls trafficked from the northeastern states. “The border crossing is easy because agents have family and friends along border villages, who shelter the girls and get them across,” Pachuau said. “Once they cross over, they are told not to reveal their Indian identities and then they are just lost.”

Now back home, the 17-year-old high school dropout – who did not want to reveal her name – remembers praying three times a day in her Yangon room as she waited for the agent to get her a passport and ticket to fly to Singapore to work as a maid. “I thought I was escaping to a better place. I was wrong,” she said.

JOB OFFERS

Jervis Lalramnghaka runs a recruitment agency in Aizwal, the capital of Mizoram. His is one of the bigger agencies in the city, that scouts for young women for jobs as domestic help. “Most of the girls are in their early twenties and divorced,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “We guarantee them an income of up to 25,000 rupees ($390) a month and a two year contract. But the first four months’ salary comes to me as fees.” He sends young women to Singapore, Malaysia and sometimes Macau on Indian passports only, he said, admitting it was a complicated, bureaucratic process compared to acquiring fake travel documents in Myanmar. Along the main road that winds through Aizwal town, posters advertising “housemaid jobs and good salaries” are everywhere. Each has the number of an agency at the bottom.

Many such unregistered agencies teach the girls a smattering of English, some basic housekeeping skills and send them to Myanmar as a jumping off point, said Lallianmawia Mawitea, head of the Mizoram anti-trafficking unit. “Getting a passport and travel documents in Myanmar is easy for the agents,” he said. “The girls don’t realise that when they travel on the fake passport of another country, there is very little we can do to help them when they are abused or in trouble.”

BILATERAL TIES

The rescue of the 17-year-old in September, along with seven other Manipuri girls from Yangon, was a test case for authorities in both countries as they tried to repatriate them. “Rescuing the Indian girls from Manipur was easy but the repatriation was a learning lesson,” said Maung Maung Win of the Young Men’s Christian Association in Yangon.

The charity mortgaged their property to pay for the indemnity bonds required to release the girls, who had been booked under the Burma Immigration Act of 1947 for illegally entering Myanmar, he said. A new cooperation agreement between India and Myanmar aims to plug the gaps in this trafficking route. Now in its final stages of approval, the agreement looks at ways to protect trafficking victims, ensure early repatriation and to prosecute traffickers.

“A coalition of organisations across the border is essential to ensure repatriation of trafficking victims,” said Kharbhih, who was part of the discussions on the bilateral agreement. “In the case of the Manipuri girls, we worked with our partners in Yangon and pushed hard to get them home. It would have been easier if the protocol was in place.”

Using data to fight modern slavery

By livemint:

A systematic data and information platform with algorithms to recognize irregularities will make law enforcement more efficient
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The illicit trade in flesh transgresses borders and transports humans around the world. Photo: iStockphoto

The inhumanity shows up in the numbers. A September report by the International Labour Organization estimated that in 2016, 40 million people were victims of modern slavery, every fourth of whom was a child. To put this in perspective, in 2016, only about 35 of 233 countries had a larger population. Despite the staggering numbers, there is a disconcerting lack of discourse and systematic policy interventions.

It is important to first understand critical aspects of the crime, and then identify scope for policy innovation. Perpetrators are constantly reinventing themselves; it is high time policies followed suit, and went a step ahead.

Trade in human flesh is the forceful or fraudulent removal of an individual, being intentionally misled about the purpose. Removal is followed by making it impossible to leave. This crime is controlled by a highly secretive and organized network of perpetrators with operations and presence in small villages, urban powerhouses and of late, the dark web, across the globe. While technology is facilitating efficient crackdowns, it is also rendering more security to these clandestine operations.

The illicit trade in flesh transgresses borders, and through the victims’ perilous journeys, transports humans around the world. International commitment to fight slavery is evident from Target 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals, which seeks to end human trafficking, modern slavery and forced labour. Yet, actions remain disappointing.

Even nationally, laws often aim at regulating industries where victims are known to be held, like the sex trade industry, or through fair trade labels, but they lack in methods to identify these networks, the core of the problem. It is an uncomfortable truth that national governments, including ours, have failed to lay due emphasis on.

Indian states, however, are making commendable strides and innovating in their crackdown methods. Maharashtra, for instance, has 12 special cells for tracking illicit trade and a Crime And Criminal Tracking Network to connect police stations across the state. The mandatory registration of placement agencies in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh adds an impediment to forced outmigration and gives law enforcement agencies more backing to shut an illicit operation.

Micro solutions are very crucial in striking at the root of modern slavery, and therefore, states need to be empowered in their approach. In July, at a conference organized by the Maharashtra State Commission for Women—the first ever on women trafficking by a government institution—experts discussed issues around fostering better prevention mechanisms through shared data capabilities, among others.

The next crucial step in striking at human trade should be innovation in collaborations, using different digital capabilities. Cyber trafficking is one of the biggest contemporary challenges, and systems are getting more complex through technologies like crypto currencies. Often, in issues related to cyber crimes, different agencies have snippets of information since data points are geographically scattered. Therefore, a systematic data and information platform, developed at a micro level but shared at a macro one, with algorithms to recognize irregularities, will make law enforcement more efficient and accurate.

Any progress in developing cooperative databases and cracking down on cyber trafficking will be a futuristic move. The money and internet protocol trail, identified through data sharing, will be the golden circle in narrowing down and reaching perpetrators. The prosecution and conviction of Ross Ulbricht, founder of Silk Road website, is evidence of the success of such a systematic approach.

There is also room in improving physical crackdown, and use that to develop a comprehensive database. The initial steps in combating trafficking are the receipt of information of perpetration, investigation and prosecution. Victims are often smuggled using public transport and this can be made into an effective tool in identifying plausible instances.

Recently, Air Asia trained thousands of staff members in recognizing in-transit instances of human trafficking. Education campaigns like these for transport staff and general public and the passengers can help prevent the crime early enough. We should consider taking assistance from victims in the process of profiling, educating, and creating a data base, since no one would be better placed to spot these often inconspicuous crimes. Along with networks of information sharing, this will improve investigative processes, and help identify first-instance perpetrators.

Trafficking is a menace that transgresses boundaries—national, international and of human tolerance. A 100% cooperation at the inter-state level is non-negotiable. Different states in India must recognize the roles that networks play within their boundaries, assimilate this information and share it on a national, and possibly an international platform. Developing systems that group different information points and modalities could add the much-needed sophistication and address the lack of coordination among the state’s functionaries, furthering more nuanced efforts in preventing perpetration.