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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West Bengal Records Highest Number Of Human Trafficking Cases In 2016

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A total of 8,132 cases of human trafficking were reported in the country with West Bengal reporting the highest number of cases (3,579)," said the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) in Delhi today, releasing figures for 2016. That's a 44 per cent share of the national total.
West Bengal Records Highest Number Of Human Trafficking Cases In 2016

A report revealed more minors were involved in the sex trade in private establishments than public ones

From second place to first should be something to celebrate. But not in the case of West Bengal which has recorded the highest number of cases of human trafficking in 2016, replacing Assam which had aced the list for the previous year.

“A total of 8,132 cases of human trafficking were reported in the country with West Bengal reporting the highest number of cases (3,579),” said the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) in Delhi today, releasing figures for 2016. That’s a 44 per cent share of the national total.

Rajasthan is in second position with 1,422 cases or 17.9 per cent cases in the country.

Sanjay Macwan, Regional Director, International Justice Mission, said, “The increasing numbers could be a reflection of greater reporting of the crime of trafficking because of the state’s efforts to curb it.”

“Trafficking victims are still not coming forward to report the crime, they are still hesitant and stigmatised,” said Vivek Chowdhury, judicial secretary, government of West Bengal, adding, “Our chief minister is very keen to stop the crime and the government is geared to it.”

The NCRB figures came on a day when a report was released in Kolkata on commercial sexual exploitation of children in and around the city and revealed more minors were involved in the sex trade in private establishments – massage parlours, lodges and residential premises — than in public ones, the brothels.

The study was conducted by NGO International Justice Mission (IJM) and West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights (WBCPCR) over the last year in Kolkata, Howrah, North and South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore districts.

4143 sex-workers were documented from 451 public and 131 from 40 private establishments.The prevalence of minors in public establishments is 0.8% while in private ones it was a whopping 18 %. The minors observed in private establishments were 15 to 17 years old, all from West Bengal.

“Another unique observation was that 80% of contacts (pimps, madams, traffickers) in private establishments were females. This is different from the stereotypical notion of male-dominated exploiters and pimps. The ages of these contacts ranged from 16 to 58 years,” the report said.

What lured the minors? 77% of them were promised a good job before they were forced into sex work. Many were surprised to arrive in Kolkata and none of them had any notion that they were being brought into this trade.

The minors were subject to violence — multiple rape, beatings and threats of murder. Three survivors had witnessed murders of other sex workers as a warning against resistance.

Indra Chakraborty, the special superintendent of police dealing with trafficking said the crime was the trip of an iceberg and linked to narcotics and illegal firearms and needed to be treated as such. “The dynamics of trafficking are changing and the dynamics of tackling it need to keep pace,” he said.

Pact to eliminate child labour

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Childhood lost: Child workers in Bhubaneswar on Monday. Picture by Ashwinee Pati

The civic body will collaborate with the labour and ESI department to eliminate child labour in the city in line with the state government’s guidelines.

The plan was made after the government had furnished action points for each department. The housing and urban development department subsequently asked all urban local bodies in the state to take action accordingly.

The department has also issued special measures for the municipal corporations of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar.

The civic bodies, while issuing trade licences, will take into account that no business establishment engages children as part of their labour force.

Besides, the labour department will organise sensitisation and awareness campaigns against the employment of children for mayors, councillors, municipal commissioners and field functionaries to help them understand the importance of the initiative.

“We have issued orders with action points to municipalities and municipal corporations to undertake various programmes for elimination of child labour,” said a housing and urban development official.

Local authorities of the twin cities will also enhance the standard of living, health and nutrition of children in slums and ensure regular health check-ups, medical care, quality education, recreation, vocational training and quality of community life.

They will also ensure that schools provided free and compulsory education to all the rescued working children irrespective of their age.

Bhubaneswar mayor Ananta Narayan Jena said first they would have to check how many such children were engaged in work.

“We are already conducting various programmes to uplift the lifestyle of slum-dwellers. We are committed to eliminate child labour from the city,” he said.

 

Goes to work in snack unit, returns with mental illness

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“He developed illness, probably due to torture or harassment at workplace”

Knows not what happened: The boy from Usilampatti (centre), who developed mental illness at a snack unit in north India in an alleged case of bonded labour.   | Photo Credit: G_Moorthy

A 20-year-old youth, who was sent to work in a snack unit in Haryana few months back in an alleged case of bonded labour, has returned home after he developed mental illness, probably due to torture or harassment at workplace.

K. Rajamani, the boy’s father from Vilampatti near Usilampatti, said his son, who had passed Class 9, was working as a mechanic before he was sent to work at the snack unit.

“I worked as a driver for a person who runs snack unit and eatery selling idlis and dosas in Karnal in Haryana, close to Delhi. I had borrowed some money from him,” he said. He added that the person made an offer that he could repay the money by sending his son to work with him. “He also promised to pay my son a salary of around ₹ 4,000, which he never paid,” he said.

Around three weeks back, Rajamani was reportedly informed by the owner that his son had become mentally unwell and therefore he was sending him back. Rajamani said that his elder brother K. Thavamani travelled to Delhi and brought him back. “He was not conscious about his surroundings and a bit violent. He is not able to explain what happened to him although he tells occasionally that he was beaten up in the head,” Thavamani said.

Ironically, Thavamani said that his son who was sent to work in a snack company in Gujarat around eight years ago faced a similar fate. “He went insane. He has not recovered even now,” he said.

The youth has been admitted at Government Rajaji Hospital for treatment.

The family said they were planning to petition the Collector seeking action against the snack unit owner along with compensation and medical assistance for the youth.

A. Kathir, Executive Director of non-governmental organisation Evidence, which is assisting the family, said the police should register a case under Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act and adequate compensation be given to the family.

It’s a national shame that bonded labour still exists in India

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The only way to reduce bonded labour is taking a preventative approach, by reducing the conditions that perpetrate bondage-like conditions by promoting decent work, and by removing possible elements of bondage and coercion in the worker-employer relationship
According to the 2016 Global Slavery Index, India has the most slaves in the world. There are an estimated 46 million people enslaved worldwide with more than 18 million of them in India, the survey added.

According to the 2016 Global Slavery Index, India has the most slaves in the world. There are an estimated 46 million people enslaved worldwide with more than 18 million of them in India, the survey added.(SHUTTERSTOCK/REPRESENTATIVEIMPAGE)

Last week, 25 bonded labourers, including children, were rescued from farmlands in Rajasthan’s Baran district. The rescued workers said they were lured from Madhya Pradesh with loans between Rs 500 to Rs 20,000 and the promise of work. But they were made to work on the fields without pay. Bonded and forced labour – where a person is made to work through the use of violence or intimidation or more subtle means such as accumulated debt – are some of the oldest forms of slavery in the world. According to the 2016 Global Slavery Index, India has the most slaves in the world. There are an estimated 46 million people enslaved worldwide with more than 18 million of them in India, the survey added. Unfortunately, the Indian government cannot verify these figures. But the labour ministry has drawn up plans to identify, rescue and help bonded labourers by 2030.

In reply to a Lok Sabha question, minister of state (independent charge) for labour and employment Bandaru Dattatreya, said that the Centre has adopted a three-pronged strategy for the abolition of the bonded labour system: First, the Constitution prohibits forced labour. It enacted the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, which empowers executive magistrates to exercise powers of judicial magistrate of first or second class for trial of offences. Vigilance committees at the district and sub-divisional levels have been prescribed to identify and rehabilitate bonded labourers. A centrally-sponsored plan — Scheme for Rehabilitation of Bonded Labour — is under implementation since 1978 under which the Centre and states contribute Rs 10,000 each for cases of rehabilitation.

Unfortunately, despite these measures, India has such large numbers of bonded labourers, thanks to poor enforcement of the four-decade-old bonded labour law, its under-resourced police and judiciary, and deep societal and economic inequities that still exist. The only way to reduce bonded labour is taking a preventive approach, by reducing the conditions that perpetuate bondage-like conditions by promoting decent work, and by removing possible elements of bondage and coercion in the worker-employer relationship. It also involves inter-state coordination mechanisms for migrant workers, including workplace improvements and linking them to social security schemes. Above all, efforts must be made to create a database of bonded labourers. It is not an easy task but would be first step towards their liberation and rehabilitation.

 

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.

 

3 Odia girls step in to stop child marriages in Bhubaneswar and how!

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Manushi Chillar, the 20-year-old medical student, may have created history as Miss World 2017, but not every girl in India gets to complete her primary school education, let alone represent the country on an international forum.

Many adolescent girls fall victims to social evils such as child labour, human trafficking, child marriage, illegal prostitution, etc. Many a time they do not get the opportunity to complete their education. The girls are often malnourished and do not understand physiological and emotional changes they undergo. Under these circumstances, parents of these girls often find ‘suitable’ grooms and marry them off.

However, there are change agents in Odisha, who have taken it upon themselves to rid the society of such evils.

One such individual is Diptymayee Pala (22) of Odisha capital. “I was in Class VIII when my parents wanted me to get married as they had received a ‘bhala prastaba’ (good proposal). My mother was ill and she wanted to see me get settled. I was unable to explain it to them that I did not want to be married. A local NGO came to my rescue and counselled my parents, after which they agreed to call off the wedding,” said Diptymayee, a graduate and resident of Niladri Vihar.

10 girls who are actively involved in prevention and spreading awareness on underage marriages, were a part of a special programme on Radio Choklate (Odisha’s no.1 private FM station), on the occasion of International Children’s Day

The incident motivated Diptimayee to take up the cudgels for other girls, who often find themselves in a helpless situation with parents eager to marry them off at an early age. She and a few other girls have been instrumental in preventing child marriages in their locality and saving girls from the fate of underage weddings.

“We conduct community meetings in the nearby slum areas with 30-35 girls and spread awareness regarding the vices of marrying at a tender age. We organise signature campaigns where individuals pledge to not tie the knot before turning 18. We also conduct skits to educate families who are illiterate and bogged down by societal stereotypes,” explained Pragyan Paramita Swain (22), who prohibited a 16-year-old’s wedding in the same locality.

Community meetings are conducted every weekend with slum residents of Niladri Vihar and nearby areas to sensitize them about underage marriage and its consequence

Madhusmita Sahoo (20), who is also a part of the same group as Diptymayee and Pragyan, cited the example of a relative who was forcibly getting his daughter married and did not listen to anybody as he thought the prospective groom was the best he could find for his 15-year-old. After exhausting all means of trying to convince him, Childline India was called. Finally, the wedding was cancelled.

“Here in slum areas, parents fear that a young girl will fall in love with someone and run away from home to get married. Before such shame befalls the family, they seek a groom and marry their daughters off amid pressure from relatives and society, even if these girls do not understand the meaning of marriage and the physical and emotional toll it would take on them,” explained Madhusmita.

Government claimed that there are 23 million child brides in the country, as per a report in thewire.in
Picture courtesy: REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee

The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (2006) prevents and prohibits child marriage in India. An UN report of 2005 estimates child marriage rate of India at 30%. January 24 of every year has been declared as National Girl Child Day and the government of India conducts programmes to sensitize people about the ill-effects of child marriage.