Battered and bruised, some return, some are never to be seen again..

180777_10150095433357197_5102103_nBy N Sai Published in the DNA News

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

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Lid blown off trafficking racket after serial weddings

North 24 parganas district

North 24 parganas district (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

FROM THE ARCHIVES – PUBLISHED IN TIMES OF INDIA   MARCH 26,2010

KOLKATA: For years, Tarapada Biswas’s house at Basirhat’s Charghat, in North 24-Parganas, had been the talk of the town. Hardly a day passed without a wedding ceremony being held there. On Wednesday, however, the secret

behind the “much-married” house came out. The wedding ceremonies were no more than a cover for an elaborate woman-trafficking racket.

The weddings at Biswas’s home had one thing in common. The grooms were mostly from UP and Haryana. Most brides, however, were from Bangladesh infiltrators, as it turned out. It was a complaint from one such woman on Wednesday that unearthed the racket.

The woman alleged in her complaint with Swarupnagar police that she feared of being trafficked to Haryana. Police raided Tarapada’s house, arrested Mukesh Chomar (22), the sham groom from Haryana. On interrogating him, it was found that a flesh trade supply racket had been in operation from the house for four years. Ironically, the woman whose complaint unearthed the racket herself landed in police custody, charged with illegally crossing the border. Prime accused Tarapada and his wife, though, were not found and police have launched a hunt for them.

The racket came to light after the girl from Bangladesh refused to marry a groom from Haryana, saying she had no plans of marrying outside Bengal.

During their investigations, police learnt that Biswas had strong links with an Uttar Pradesh-based gang. Girls aged between 18 and 25 were brought either from Bangladesh or from rural hamlets of Basirhat and Bongaon to tie the knot with sham grooms from north India.

Biswas charged anything between Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 for each wedding, in which he would act as marriage registrar and organise a ceremony complete with rituals, followed by dinner for guests. Though the frequent weddings did raise neighbours’ eyebrows, they preferred to leave him alone, especially as he didn’t socialise much.

Some neighbours had even gone to police with complaints, but there was no written complaint till Wednesday, said the cops. Some of the brides’ families, too, had occasionally complained that they were unable to trace their daughters after the marriage, but again, none was a written complaint.

“Biswas had even refused to speak to the fathers of several girls who had such complaints,” said an officer of Swarupnagar police station.

FROM THE ARCHIVES – PUBLISHED IN TIMES OF INDIA   MARCH 26,2010

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Women abducted & sold: Gang busted, two arrested

English: The Delhi Tourist Police, India

Image via Wikipedia

TIMES OF INDIA

NEW DELHI: At a time when several people are being arrested in the AIIMS baby case, police have stumbled upon another gang of traffickers who used to abduct women from various parts of the capital and get them married off in other states for money. Two persons have been arrested from Hardwar and identified as Meena (45) and Vijay Rai (38).

The Outer Delhi police were carrying out raids to trace a 16-year-old girl, who had been kidnapped from the Shahbad Dairy area. After the police rescued the girl from Ghaziabad, it emerged that she was kidnapped by a ‘couple’ and taken to Hardwar where she was forced to marry a man. On her instance, the cops raided a hideout in Hardwar and rescued another woman, who was kidnapped from Old Delhi railway station by the same ‘couple’ after they befriended her while she was waiting for her train to Bihar to her husband on January 17. The duo had abducted the 20-year-old woman, from Ludhiana in Punjab, after sedating her at platform number 1 and took her to Hardwar where they were trying to marry her off.

The cops said the 16-year-old girl was kidnapped on December 18 from the Shahbad Dairy area by Vijay and Meena. The duo allegedly struck a deal with a man identified as Lokendra in Rs 80,000 and got them married. He began to live in Ghaziabad with the girl until the police traced her using electronic surveillance, cops said.

Initially, the girl did not reveal the real story and told cops that she had willingly married him but when she was sent for counselling to an NGO in Delhi, the girl spilled the beans. She gave them the address of the duo in Hardwar where she had been kept initially.

“We formed a police team that was sent to Hardwar to carry out further investigations and arrest the people involved in the racket. The team managed to arrest Meena and Vijay and brought them to Delhi,” said a senior police officer from Outer district.

According to the 20-year-old woman, while she was sitting alone at the platform, “a man wearing an army uniform sat beside me and began to chat. He was joined by another woman. Both became my friends as they said they had to go to Araria as well. They offered me tea and after drinking it, I lost consciousness. The duo then took me with them to Hardwar and kept me at their house.” The accused were about to get her married to a man but came in cops’ net before that.

The victim was brought to Delhi, counselled and sent to a short-stay home for women in distress in Hari Nagar as she did not have a local guardian or a house in Delhi. Later, the cops traced her parents. They came to Delhi and took her back home.

Vijay and Meena are being questioned by the cops. The police suspect that these two arrests may be the tip of the iceberg and, hence, the case has been handed over to the crime branch of Delhi Police.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Women-abducted-sold-Gang-busted-two-arrested/articleshow/11842579.cms

MINOR GIRL KIDNAPPED FROM ASSAM RESCUED: ACCUSED ARRESTED

With the arrest of Mintu Saikia, aged about 22 years s/o Rongai Saikia r/o Village Moinajuli, P.S. Dhekiajuli, District Sonitpur, Assam, Central District Police has solved a case of kidnapping of a minor girl kidnapped from Assam.  She had been kidnapped on 05-08-2011 and has been re-united with her family hale and hearty on 10-02-2012.

INCIDENT AND TEAM

On 08.02.12, a request from Senior police officer of Assam, Jorhat was received mentioning therein that a minor girl has been kidnapped by accused person and a case vide FIR No. 916/11 u/s 366-A IPC has been registered at PS Jorhat, Assam. He further suspected that the accused along with victim are outside Assam and somewhere in Delhi.  The local police has not been able to locate the whereabouts of the accused and kidnapped girl. He had sought help from Delhi Police in this case.

 Accordingly, a team consisting of Inspr. Bijender Singh, SHO/Pahar Ganj, SI Vinay, HC Sukhpal, Const. Tejbir, W/Const. Poonam was constituted  under the close supervision of Sh. Raja Ram, ACP/Pahar Ganj.

 INVESTIGATION

 Initially, it was suspected to be a case of elopement in a love affair. The kidnapped girl did not make any contact with her parents / relatives even after lapse of 3-4 months. During investigation, it was revealed that the parents doubted one boy namely Mintu Saikia, who was also missing from the date of incident.

On 17-01-2012, after a gap of more than five months, the mother of the girl received a call on her mobile number from a person, who identified himself as Mintu and he made the victim to talk with her mother.  During conversation, it was revealed that the victim was confined in a room and not allowed to talk to anyone or go anywhere outside. During second conversation, the victim asked her mother to send Rs. One Lac, which was demanded by the accused.

On the basis of technical surveillance, it was revealed that the accused was residing in the area of Okhla, Delhi. This information was further developed and a raid was conducted at his various possible hideouts. Secret sources were also deployed to get clues about the whereabouts of accused Mintu as well as the kidnapped girl. With concerted efforts and on the basis of secret information, the accused was apprehended along with the victim by the police team of PS Pahar Ganj outside New Delhi Railway Station.  During sustained interrogation, he confessed his involvement in the crime. Due to the active role of Central district police, especially staff of PS Pahar Ganj and better co-ordination between Assam and Delhi Police, the case of kidnapping of minor girl was solved and the minor victim could be rescued and rehabilitated.  Assam Police has been informed.

PROFILE

Mintu Saikia s/o Rongai Saikia r/o Village Moinajuli, P.S. Dhekiajuli, District Sonitpur, Assam is 22 years old and has studied up to 10th class. He has one brother. He met the girl in an All Assam Dance Competition at Jorhat, Assam.

 (DEVESH CHANDRA SRIVASTVA), IPS
ADDL. COMMISSIONER OF POLICE,
CENTRAL DISTRICT, DELHI.

Girl was forced into prostitution

DEVESH PANDEY IN THE HINDU

The teenaged girl who recently got the two-year-old baby admitted to the AIIMS Trauma Centre was allegedly raped by scores of people after she was pushed into prostitution by a gang led by the man who lived with her at a guest house in Mahipalpur here. The Lajpat Nagar Child Welfare Committee has ordered registration of a separate case against the gang members.

The gory details of the torture the 14-year-old girl was subjected to over the past few months after she fled her father’s home in Sangam Vihar were revealed by her during counselling sessions. The girl, who earlier did not tell the truth because of fear and shame, told her counsellor and a CWC member that she was sexually abused by scores of people.

The girl disclosed that her father remained in jail for eight years for the murder of his nephew in Kalkaji. The victim submitted before the CWC that she had once visited her father, who is presently out on bail, at Tihar Jail.

The young girl alleged that her father was very abusive and would beat her and her mother brutally with sticks and belt. This had become an everyday affair. When her mother passed away, he sent her to an orphanage in Darya Ganj and there he falsely identified himself as her uncle, claiming that her father had died.

Back at her father’s place, the girl could not bear the daily torture and fled home on May 26 last year. A few days later her father got a kidnapping case registered at the Sangam Vihar police station. Claiming that he had raised suspicion about the role of some persons in the case, the father is now accusing the police of not having taken the matter seriously. A terrible misfortune lay ahead for the hapless girl who escaped from an abusive father and ended up being trapped by one Pooja, who lived in the neighbourhood with her husband Sandeep, and allegedly ran a prostitution racket along with her accomplices Arti and Rajkumar who has been identified as Dilshad.

In its order on Tuesday, the CWC said: “It is shocking to know that the child has been subjected to sexual abuse by several persons. She has been used for commercial sexual exploitation by Pooja, Arti, Sandeep and even Dilshad.”

Taken to Etah

The victim was taken to Etah in Uttar Pradesh by Pooja; and Sandeep allegedly raped her for three consecutive days. At Pooja’s residence, she was forced to entertain clients. In her statement, she purportedly disclosed that she was in August last sent to a woman’s residence on “one-week prostitution contract”.

During this period, she alleged that she was abused by almost seven persons every day. The girl alleged that Dilshad would also take her to clients. All the money paid to her allegedly went to Pooja. The victim chose to stay with Dilshad as his behaviour towards her was better compared with the other gang members. Describing the girl as a child in need of care and protection under the Juvenile Justice Act, the CWC has directed the investigating officer to register two cases, one against the father for cruelty and abuse of the child, and the other against Pooja, Sandeep, Arti, Dilshad and the others involved.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/article2850209.ece

Mumbai: Flourishing Prostitution Racket in Guise of Dance Troupes?

RACKET BUSTED IN INDORE

RACKET BUSTED IN INDORE

Mumbai: Flourishing Prostitution Racket in Guise of Dance Troupes?

Mumbai, Dec 24:After six girls, being sent to a foreign destination in the guise of a dance troupe, were found to be sent there for being a part of the sex racket there, they were rescued from  the international airport here on Wednesday.

This incident has again brought to the fore the legitimacy of cultural troupes making foreign tours in the name of promoting country’s culture, and helping some of the members of these troupes to illegally immigrate to another country and become a part of an illegal sex racket there.

During this flash raid, ten passports were seized. The policemen found that these girls had earlier visited Abu Dhabi, Malaysia and Singapore. One of the arrested, Sharif Sheikh, was remanded to police custody by a local court till Tuesday next.

The above rescue act was made by the social service wing of Mumbai police. Reports said that the six girls the wing arrested on Wednesday are in fact, not trained dancers, but they were being taken outside the country for sex trade. These girls, the policemen have found out, are being screened and auditioned in studios, before being picked for being part of the flourishing international prostitution racket, which serves affluent clients mostly from Singapore, Malaysia and the Middle East.

The policemen had learnt that every month, about 5,000 girls from the country are being ferried out of the nation by rackets helping brothels functioning in foreign destinations.  Many have expressed the suspicion that a number of young girls, who have regularly been mysteriously going missing from their homes in Udupi, Dakshin Kannada and Kerala, and whose whereabouts almost always go untraced, are being used by this racket.

These rackets are active in cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, New Delhi, Kolkata, Chandigarh, etc. Pimps located in these cities identify and source girls to this racket. In the name of troupes of dancers touring foreign countries, thousands of girls are being taken to foreign countries. These girls never return to country with the troupes, but stay there for some time. It is suspected that these rackets collect huge sums of money for helping these girls to be carried abroad.

Assistant police commissioner, Vasant Daombale, said that these troupes carry these girls on the basis of either the tourist visas or work permits, in which their profession is stated as dance artistes, which are valid for one or two months. He revealed that the girls, most of whom have experience of being bar dancers, are auditioned and photographed in studios in Andheri. They are then picked on the basis of these processes, for being transported to foreign locations. He suspects that this racket’s annual turnover is in thousands of crores of rupees. He said that the girls are being sent in batches of six to ten with a gap of ten days in between two batches, from different cities. He added that the girls are paid about one to two lac rupees before being ferried, after which they get 40 percent of their earnings out of entertaining rich clients. If the girls return later, they work under pimps in the country, he said.

http://www.daijiworld.com/news/news_disp.asp?n_id=125542

 

Forced Marriages in Haryana

HUMAN TRAFFICKING NEWS IS A SHAKTI VAHINI NATIONAL LEGAL RESEARCH DESK INITIATIVE

The Government has taken a number of measures to improve the sex ratio. The Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Technique (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994 makes sex selective abortions a punishable offence. Further, the Ministry undertakes programmes for awareness generation as well as for socio-eco empowerment of women. Giving this information to the Rajya Sabha today, the Minister of Women & Child Development Smt. Krishna Tirath said that the Government of Haryana has also taken various steps to improve the gender balance. These include- implementation of the Ladli Scheme w.e.f. 20.8.2005 under which a sum of Rs.5000/- is given on the birth of second girl child for a period of 5 years; and giving cash prize to the best performing districts in terms of sex ratio.

The Minister also informed the House that in so far as trafficking is concerned, the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 supplemented by the Indian Penal Code (IPC) prohibits trafficking in human beings, including children and lays down penalties for trafficking. Advisories for combating trafficking have been issued on 09.09.2009 and 12.10.2011 by the Government of India to all States/Union Territories. Further, the Ministry has been implementing the “Ujjawala” Scheme, under which financial assistance is being provided for prevention of trafficking and for rescue, rehabilitation and re-integration of victims of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation