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.
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.
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.
Spurt in human trafficking from Nepal after April devastation, say Indian agencies
Two Nepalese women sexually exploited allegedly by a Saudi Arabian diplomat in Gurgaon are victims of a well-developed human trafficking network operating from Nepal.
The number of women and children falling prey to the network has increased after April’s earthquake in the Himalayan nation.
Sources in Indian agencies say the two women are “luckier” than hundreds of other victims of highly organised networks operating from Nepal.
Though the exact numbers on forced migration of Nepalese nationals are not available, latest data with the Sashastra Seema Bal that guards the 1,751-km border with Nepal show a five-fold increase in trafficking post-earthquake.
Till April 24, the SSB registered eight cases involving 47 victims and 12 traffickers. As was feared by experts, the SSB began recording a significant increase in number of cases after the disaster struck.
Sources said 38 more cases had been recorded and 126 victims rescued with the arrest of 51 agents from Nepal, West Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
Officials said immediately after the earthquake SSB’s Interaction Team and the 4,500-strong civil (intelligence) wing were activated to take preventive measures at 470 border outposts.
One of the first major human trafficking rackets unearthed after earthquake was by the Delhi Police had unearthed a major human trafficking racket with the rescue of 30 Nepalese girls at Delhi’s IGI airport in July.
“Governments of the bordering states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal have issued instructions to all the districts to check human trafficking along the border. In fact, the UP government has also got closed-circuit television cameras installed in the border districts for effective surveillance,” said Ravi Kant of non-government organisation Shakti Vahini.
There has been a gradual increase in the trafficking of Nepalese girls for commercial sexual exploitation in the past few years, officials in SSB and activists say.
A recent Central Bureau of Investigation study of the data available with Bureau of Immigration, Foreign Regional Registration Office, airline firms and major travel agents, indicated that up to 8,000 Nepalese girls had been trafficked to Dubai via Delhi airport to be pushed into prostitution in recent years.
The most common pretext employed was a projected tour to Nairobi via Dubai. But then the victims would be de-planed in Dubai, their tickets to Nairobi and hotel bookings cancelled.
Officials point out that the Nepalese government order barring women below 30 years of age from boarding a flight at Tribhuvan International Airport (Kathmandu) to major trafficking destinations if not accompanied by a family member, has only contributed to the trafficking syndicates using Delhi and other Indian cities for taking out their victims.
Traffickers have devises land routes, opening up several gateways along the Indo-Nepal border in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal, most active entry points being Sunauli (UP) and Siliguri (West Bengal). “All the routes close to railway stations with links to major transits like Delhi are in use,” said an SSB officer. As per an estimate, there are about 100 unofficial border entry points with Nepal.
Expressing concern over the sudden increase in trafficking cases, Archana Tamang, international consultant at Human Rights and Equality in Kathmandu, told The Hindu: “The Nepal government will soon launch a survey to gather details of post-quake victims of trafficking. Good news is that on the Indian side, NGOs and police agencies have been taking effective measures. There is a need to check shady recruitment agencies involved in the racket.”
However, Mr. Kant pointed out, in many cases it becomes difficult for Indian agencies to take action in cases where Nepalese women are found travelling on genuine papers.
“In 2012, the CBI had in coordination with Shakti Vahini intercepted 70 Nepalese nationals. However, they had to be let off as they were carrying valid papers….all of them get lured by a better job prospect,” he said, adding that there is also a need for effective implementation of law by the Protector General of Emigrants to put a check on illegal activities of Indian recruitment agencies.
India could be trapped in a major diplomatic scandal after a senior diplomat belonging to the Saudi Embassy was accused, along with his wife, of keeping two Nepalese women as sex slaves in Gurgaon.
According to the FIR filed by the police in Gurgaon, the two women had been lured to India with a false promise of jobs, and then sold to the diplomat, who is the First Secretary at the embassy.
According to the statements of the victims, aged 30 and 50, they were held captive by the First Secretary’s family for over three months, and were taken to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for a few days as well. During the entire period, the women said, they were repeatedly raped and forced to perform “unnatural sex” for the diplomat and other Saudi nationals, often at knife-point.
An official who was aware of the women’s account of their captivity called the details “horrifying.”
The Saudi embassy, dismissing the charges as “completely false” and “contrary to facts in our possession”, said it would wait for the Indian government to clarify on the matter as per diplomatic norms, IANS reported
An MEA official said the Saudi embassy’s version and that of the Nepalese embassy that has taken up the issue “were different and need to be reconciled.”
Assistant Commissioner of Police (Crime) and Gurgaon police spokesperson Rajesh Chechi said the women were rescued by Gurgaon police after a Nepalese NGO that deals with trafficking heard about their plight from another Nepali victim.
The women had been held in the upmarket residential area of DLF-Phase II in Gurgaon. The Gurgaon police raided the home after the Nepalese embassy in Delhi contacted the government for help. A rape case had been registered, PTI reported, but the diplomat was “untraceable.”
“We have sought a report from the local police,” the MEA spokesperson said.
Officials said they feared the diplomat, whose wife and father have also been charged, has taken a flight out of Delhi already.
An official said that given their diplomatic status “there was no chance” of arrest. “Despite the terrible nature of the crime, unless the Saudi Arabian government waives it, the immunity will protect them completely.”
The victims, residents of Banglung and Biratnagar districts in Nepal, said they had been lured by a woman trafficker to Delhi four months ago on the promise of a job and handsome salary in Saudi Arabia. The two were, however, sold to another agent in Delhi for Rs.1 lakh each and then to the Saudi diplomat, who they identified as ‘Majid’. “Majid first took the two women to Saudi Arabia. The abuse continued after he returned with them to Delhi three months ago and kept them in captivity at his DLF house,” said Bal Krishan, the president of Maiti Nepal India.
The ordeal of the two women came to light when another woman sold to the diplomat 10 days ago managed to escape and alerted Maiti Nepal India that works in the areas of prostitution, trafficking and child labour. The NGO contacted the Nepal embassy and a letter was written to the Gurgaon police in this regard.
The Gurgaon police team then raided the house on Monday afternoon and rescued the women. Mr. Krishan, who was present during the rescue, said the diplomat’s family put up a resistance.
The case mirrors cases of trafficking and slavery in the U.K. and the U.S. In 2011, a case in the U.K. involving two Indonesian women held as slaves by a Saudi diplomat in London had caused an uproar after details emerged of their ill-treatment.
In 2013, another case involving two women from the Philippines, held captive for months by the Saudi defence attaché and his wife living in a mansion in Virginia, U.S., had led to similar outrage.
In both cases, the diplomats could not be prosecuted due to immunity, and a U.K. court ruled that the Indonesian women were not eligible for any compensation either. In this case, Nepal embassy officials said that they were hoping to pursue the case with Saudi authorities, and would help repatriate the two victims to Nepal at the earliest.
(The article has been corrected for a factual error)
In the last of the three-part series, dna travels to remote villages of India’s ‘slavery belt’, some of the remotest and backward areas of Jharkhand. Rescued slaves and the parents of those who have never come back reveal what makes these tribals easy targets
Ranchi: The road to Jahupkokotoli village in the Maoist-hit district of Gumla is a contradiction of sorts. As the two-lane road snakes through the forests and rolling hills of the Chottanagpur plateau, bauxite-laden trucks are the only constant reminder of activity here. Yet the public transport to this part of Jharkhand from the state capital Ranchi is rickety. The only bus everyday is as uncertain as life in this extremely backward region of India. Despite the lack of public transport, thousands of tribal boys and girls from Gumla-Khunti-Simdega region, India’s unofficial ‘slavery belt’, are transported and trafficked to upper middle class and rich homes of Delhi. After a period of enslavement and unpaid forced labour, many return battered and bruised. Some are never to be seen again. Some still carry on.
In Jahupkokotoli, an aboriginal hamlet of 160 Oraon tribal families, 45-year-old Mathoo comes running with a picture of his 14-year-old daughter. “Help me find her. I haven’t seen her after she went away in 2007,” says Mathoo. His daughter would be 21 now, but Mathoo doesn’t know her fate after she was taken by a ‘placement agent’ from a neighbouring village to Delhi to work as a domestic help. Within two months, the agent sent Mathoo Rs 1000 as a payment for his daughter’s ‘services’. Next year, he called up the agent again to inquire about his daughter. “The agent said that my daughter had run away and that he did not know her whereabouts. I do not know whether she is dead or alive,” says Mathoo.
A few houses away from Mathoo’s is the hut of Hari Oraon. His 16-year-old daughter Pramila was taken by an agent to Delhi in early 2014. But she ‘escaped’ within four months and came back. According to her statement to police, Pramila was taken to Delhi by another woman of the same village in the promise of a better life. As soon as she arrived in Delhi she was escorted to a Shakurpur-based placement agency by an agent. They took her finger prints on a piece of paper and sent her to work as a domestic maid at three different homes in Delhi. Facing ill-treatment and not having been paid by any of her employers or the placement agency, Pramila escaped. Lost on the streets in Delhi, she begged another woman to take her home. The woman instead handed her over to the Delhi police. The Delhi police handed her over to a shelter home in the capital from where she was taken to Kishori Niketan, a rehab centre for trafficked women in Bijupara, Jharkhand. Finally in April 2014, she was re-united with her family. For her work as a domestic help in Delhi, Pramila wasn’t paid any money. “The police left her in nearby Bishunpur from where we picked her up and got her home,” says Hari Oraon. “She says she will never go back to Delhi.”
Off the road from Bishunpur lies the Dalit village of Hadiya Toli, literally translating into ‘wine village’. There is no road connectivity to the village and reaching here requires walking a kilometre on a dusty track. The name of 15-year-old Sarita alias Budhni evinces a peculiar response from the village men. “That Dilli-return?”, one asks with a wry smile. “Who knows where she is,” says another. “Ask her mother. She might know.” We find her mother working outside her hut and as the conversation about her daughter nears completion, she says, “Who will marry her now? Who knows what might have happened to her in Delhi?”
Sarita disappeared from her house in 2013 with five other girls after an agent in her village promised her lucrative money in Delhi. Sarita says, “I was promised a monthly wage of Rs 5000. After working four months for an agency in Motinagar in Delhi, I asked for some money. They refused and locked me up instead. I begged to let me go home. But they said I cannot go home before I completed five years. Then one day the police raided the place and they took me in their custody,” says Sarita. She was finally sent home in April 2013.
“There were other girls in that house. I do not know what happened to them. I did not even get the money for my work,” says Sarita. When asked about the nature of her work, Sarita maintains an uneasy silence. Sarita is lucky enough to be back in her village. Even though her village doesn’t have either electricity, drinking water supply or roads, she feels safer here than in any of Delhi’s slave holes.
Phulin Murmu, 18, however doesn’t want to return to her village. Phulin Murmu is not a name that would ring a bell. But when she was found burnt, battered and bitten in a house in South Delhi’s posh Vasant Kunj locality it made national headlines in October 2013. She was found in the house of Vandana Dhir, an executive with a French multinational. Murmu’s body bore hot girdle-induced burn marks, deep scars on the head and bite marks all over her body. She was forced to drink urine, prevented from using the bathroom and confined in the house in a semi-naked condition before being rescued. She was working unpaid for two years before being rescued.
DNA tracked her down at a rehabilitation centre in Khunti, one of the hardest hit districts of the slavery belt. She is being educated and trained at the Mahilya Samkhya Society, which she shares with around 30 other minor girls, many of whom are rescued slaves. Phulin can barely write her name, the scars still show on her face. But she details her three years of enslavement with a brave face and with no emotion. “It is for the first time that I am seeing her talk so openly. It seems she is recovering well from the trauma,” says Asha Kusum, the warden of the institution. The Mahilya Samkhya Society is wary of letting Phulin rejoin her parents in her village. They ask her father to come to town for Christmas. They don’t want to take a chance again. “Most kids are from extremely poor tribal families. Their parents will send them to Delhi for any small amount. Phulin is safe here – from poverty and from agents who would want to prey on her again. She is still scared inside. She will only get better,” says Ms Kusum
कोडरमा: एक ओर प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी हरियाणा के पानीपत में बेटी बचाओ, बेटी पढ़ाओ अभियान की शुरुआत कर रहे थे, दूसरी तरफ मानव तस्करी के उद्देश्य से कोडरमा सुदूरवर्ती ग्रामीण क्षेत्र की एक नाबालिग बेटी को शादी का झांसा देकर हरियाणा के एक अधेड़ उम्र के युवक ले जाने आया थे। पुलिस ने दूल्हा समेत इस मामले में लिप्त कुल आठ लोगों को गुरुवार को गिरफ्तार कर जेल भेज दिया।
गिरफ्तार लोगों में हरियाणा के गंगाचाप रेवाड़ी निवासी विजय पाल, करमपाल (दोनों पिता छोटू राम) विजय सिंह, पिता महाबीर सिंह, सुरेश कुमार, पिता तलवीर सिंह, रामानंद शर्मा, पिता ईश्वर लाल, मुनिया मसोमात पति स्व. सिराज डोमचांच, मो. महताब व मो. अमजद अली (दोनों पिता जलालुद्दीन तारानाखो राजधनवार, गिरिडीह) शामिल हैं। इसे लेकर आरोपियों के विरुद्ध डोमचांच थाना में मानव व्यापार अधिनियम के तहत मामला दर्ज किया गया है। पुलिस के अनुसार डोमचांच थाना अंतर्गत पंचगांवा की रहनेवाली एक गरीब परिवार की नाबालिग लड़की से शादी करने के नाम पर उसे ले जाने की तैयारी चल रही थी। इसी दौरान ग्रामीणों ने पुलिस को सूचना दी। डोमचांच पुलिस ने तत्परता दिखाते हुए मौके पर पहुंच कर सभी आरोपियों को गिरफ्तार कर लिया। आरोपियों ने बताया कि वे लोग पांच दिन पूर्व यहां शादी करने के लिए आए थे।
सातवीं की है छात्रा
कोडरमा: जिस लड़की से शादी कर ले जाने आए थे वह लड़की सातवीं कक्षा की छात्रा है। लड़की ने बताया कि वह अभी पढ़ना चाहती है। लड़की की मां ने बताया कि बगल की एक महिला ने आकर कहा कि बेटी की शादी करोगी । गरीबी एवं लड़की के पिता की मानसिक स्थिति ठीक नहीं होने के कारण हमने हां कर दी। उन्होंने कहा कि इससे पूर्व भी डोमचांच क्षेत्र से तीन-चार लड़कियों को हरियाणा शादी के नाम पर ले जाया गया है।
मामले को महिला सीआईडी को भेजा जायेगा: एसपी
कोडरमा: कोडरमा एसपी संगीता कुमारी ने इस मामले को गंभीरता से लेते हुए कहा कि आरोपियों पर सख्त कार्रवाई की जाएगी। इस मामले को अपराध अनुसंधान शाखा के पास भेजा जायेगा। उन्होंने कहा कि उक्त लड़की की कस्तूरबा गांधी स्कूल में नामांकन कराकर आगे पढ़ने की व्यवस्था की जाएगी।
BHOPAL: Madhya Pradesh police arrested a couple who sold a woman in Gujarat where she was kept as a sex slave. Accused Ritesh Barman and wife Mona, are residents of Gorakhpur area in Jabalpur district. They confessed to having sold the 35-year-old woman to one ‘Popet Bhai’ in Gujarat for Rs 1.25 lakh.
Popet sold her to a Patel family in Junagarh for Rs 1.80 lakh. She was kept hostage and repeatedly raped, besides being forced to work as bonded labour. She wriggled out of their clutches and reached Jabalpur on October 23.
On October 29, when two people came to Jabalpur and tried to kidnap her, she went to the police and narrated her ordeal. The rape survivor alleged she was raped by one Bhawan Patel, Vallabh Patel and other members of the family.
Police said, she was a mother of two and was working as a domestic help in Jabalpur. The Barman couple took her to Gujarat, promising better pay. During interrogation, police found more girls had been trafficked from the state and sold in Gurajat by Popet Bhai. Teams have been dispatched to Gujarat to arrest him. A case has been lodged against five people, including Popet.