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।
Policy Dive picks a policy issue, traces the debate around it, the different schools of thought and the choices involved.
The government had listed the bill aimed at protecting trafficked persons, especially young girls and women, for introduction in the Lok Sabha in the just-concluded budget session. But continued disruptions, which virtually wiped out the second part of the session, prevented the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2017 from being introduced.
Here is all you need to know about the proposed law
More than 300,000 children went missing in the country between 2012 and 2017, government data shows. Around 100,000 are yet to be traced and it is feared that many of them could have been trafficked.
In 2016, for instance, 111,569 children were reported missing. Of these, 55,944 children were traced but only 8,132 trafficking cases were reported.
Many of these children are victims of modern slavery — forced into prostitution, labour or domestic work.
They are also used as drug mules and even given up for adoption illegally. Poverty and lack of opportunity also pushes a lot of young women, especially from the interior parts of West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar and Jharkhand, into prostitution.
Despite the enormity of the problem, India lacks a single comprehensive law for human trafficking. At present, trafficking is covered under half-a-dozen laws resulting in confusion and poor enforcement.
For the first time, a standalone law to address the problem has been proposed that will treat a trafficked person as a victim and not an offender. It not only prescribes stringent punishment but also addresses the crucial issue of rehabilitation of victims, many of whom are lured by traffickers on the promise of a better life and jobs.
The rehabilitation is not contingent on criminal proceedings. A special rehabilitation fund has been proposed for immediate protection of rescued persons. The punishment for traffickers varies from 10 years rigorous imprisonment to life sentence and Rs 1 lakh fine in cases of aggravated crimes.
Also in a first, a national anti-trafficking bureau run by the National Investigating Agency (NIA) has been proposed to coordinate with other countries, as many times the victims, mostly women, are smuggled out of the country.
The proposed law also makes registration of placement agencies that recruit or supply domestic helps mandatory.
The bill has been debated intensely, within the government and also among activists and organisations. When the bill was being drawn up, the ministry of external affairs said the law should address trafficking of persons within India as well as overseas.
The women and child development ministry (WCD), which is piloting the bill, had countered, saying the bill already covered the movement of trafficked person from one place to another within the country and also overseas.
Activists and non-government organisations such as Lawyers Collective have criticised the proposed law, saying it has nothing new to offer and all its provisions are already covered under existing laws. The new law will only end up “complicating the legal framework and its enforcement”.
The government says because the laws dealing with trafficking were not consolidated, the issue could not be tackled effectively. Hence, the need for a comprehensive standalone law.
Activists have also said no substantial research has gone into the bill, an argument rejected by the WCD ministry.
Lawyers’ Collective has pointed out that the provision to charge a person who encourages another person to “migrate illegally into India or Indians to some other country” with aggravated form of trafficking punishable with 10-year imprisonment could have serious implications for cross-border movement of people, including refugees.
The WCD ministry has said the argument does not hold.
Sleuths of Shashstra Seema Bal (SSB) manning Indo-Nepal border in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal, intercepted four members of a gang engaged in human trafficking and rescued 18 Nepalese children from their custody late on Sunday night. The victims were later handed over to local Non-Government Organisation in Bahraich, who would ensure their return to their families in Nepal.
The accused were handed over to Rupaideeha police for quizzing to extract information about other children who might have been already trafficked to different parts of the country.
Giving details of the breakthrough to media persons in Bahraich on Monday, Deputy Commandant of SSB, Jai Prakash revealed that a team was patrolling the Indo-Nepal border on Sundaynight when they learnt about some children being trafficked to India from Nepal by a gang.
An alert was soon sounded along Indo-Nepal border in Rupaideeha, and the SSB team spotted four suspicious persons carrying 18 children between 12 and 14 years, entering into Indian territory. All four accused were immediately taken into custody.
The SSB official said that the accused were taken to a police station where they identified themsleves as Kamal Gautam, Surat Singh, Sant Bahadur and Ahmad Hussain. During sustained grilled, the accused confessed to trafficking the children from Nepal. They also revealed that they were taking a dozen of them to Shimla while the remaining six were to be taken to Mumbai.
- 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
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.
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.
By Surya B. Prasai
February 15, 2008
In dusty Raxaul south of Kathmandu, on a pale, cold winter´s morning the plight of a young Nepali woman being trafficked to India for the commercial sex sector is just beginning to unfurl. Sarswoti, from Dhading district bordering Nepal´s capital, Kathamndu, has been brought here promised of a lucrative job by Tirtha Ram a middleman, who actually is her first cousin. He has lured her with promises of posh South Extension flat in New Delhi´s well to do neighborhood, and many of Sarswoti’s friends and cousins have left for India earlier attracted by such promises. Tirtha´s narrated story to her parents is all too believable for Sarswoti, whose life all depends on her parent´s wishes as in most parts of Nepal where a woman has little individual rights particularly if she is uneducated. Tirtha has told them that that the Indian owner for whom Sarswati is going to work is in the Gulf region, she is going to be paid Rs. 3000 (US%5) for every month she has served. Sarswoti will get free accommodation, food, and be able to roam freely on weekends to go and watch the movies in the big eye catching Indian cosmopolitan city of New Delhi with new friends she will soon make once there. It is only when Sarswoti travels further south down the narrow dusty bus lane and reaches Gorakhpur she suddenly realizes that things are not as Tirtha Ram had promised. Tirtha has already left the day before making a clever alibi that he has to go and make a phone call to his wife in Nepal. Soon an unknown woman enters the small little dingy room she has been kept in. The woman tells Sarswoti that she is pretty, young, very fair and good looking. She is going to adopt her as her daughter; Tirtha has already gone back to the Indo-Nepalese border to get another group of women across to Gorakhpur.
At first this Indian ´guardian´ mother of Nepalese descent drugs Sarswoti and locks her up in a room for three days without food and only a sip of water. When Sarswoti protests, she starts cursing her, and soon physically punishing her. In a week´s time, Sarswoti is gang raped, intimidated with cigarettes, burning charcoal heaped on her arms and thighs, left hungry with bruises all over her body, with no one to complain to, in total misery and no one to help her out. Meanwhile her parents in Dhading seem all too happy with Tirtha for giving them Rs. 18,000 equivalent, or roughly US $280 for Sarswoti as a salary advancement.
From Nepal, anywhere between 10,000 to 15,000 women have been trafficked this way to India to serve as commercial sex workers in like manner. The major conduits are the infamous Makwanpur alley, Birtamod in the Eastern Region and Nepalgunj in the Far Western region. The Nepali girls and young women aged between 12-29 years old are sold through Nepalese and Indian commercial sex agents finally ending up in the sex outlets in bigger Indian cities such as Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata involving nearly three to four middlemen like Tirtha Ram.
Most girls who are impoverished in poverty until the ages of 12-16 years are booked in advance by their parents for as little as US $200 to the agents, the prettier girls fetch between US $300-400 according to reports from independent Nepalese survey on child and women trafficking and organizations such as Asia Foundation and Human Rights Watch Asia which have stepped in the forefront of trying to stop the crime.
Usually, the girls are transported in a group of 10-15 across the porous border to the various Indian cities. This is happening every day as Ind0-Nepalese border is a porous one and has been serving child traffickers for nearly one a half decades now with few interruptions. Also, in the absence of a strong government in Kathmandu, due to the failing policies of the seven party coalitions that rules Nepal at present; even the gravest crime goes unpunished.
For more than a decade, some of Nepal´s top legal experts have been drawing the UN and the world´s attention to the child trafficking issue occurring between India and Nepal. Well known Nepalese legal eagles such as Dr. Shanta Thapaliya, Shambu Thapa (former Chairman of Nepal Bar Association), and Sapana Pradhan Malla who all are child rights advocates, Believe the Constitution of Nepal has guaranteed the right of equality to women including property and self-development rights, but offers very little practicing equality. Mr. Gauri Pradhan who has been running CWIM for more than three decades in Kathmandu, dedicated to Child Welfare and education of street children also is in agreement that child rights has been perhaps forgotten as core area of understanding in Nepalese human rights practice.
The Nepalese Constitution has also accorded childhood freedoms to every Nepali girl child since Nepal was one of the first countries to sign the Convention on the Rights of him Child, 1990, but the real achievement in realizing child rights in Nepal is next to nil, despite the claims of various international agencies. The truth, according to the Harvard educated Dr. Thapaliya. In a recent anti trafficking report appears to be that in Nepal women have long been discriminated upon when they are known to contribute to nearly 60% of the country´s Gross Development Product. The government has simply been turning a blind eye to the issue of women trafficking and child prostitution. Thus many legal voices in Nepal and also many powerful NGO leaders in India are now jointly trying to coordinate efforts and draw on the ethical argument that children should be given all the time until age 16 to enjoy their childhood freedoms, while the traffickers should be punished severely with imprisonment, not only meager fines.
Nepal, which had faced an internal civil conflict between 1986-2006, has seen a big stream of its children, particularly in Western Nepal, facing commercial exploitation through middle men in being transported to brothels in various Indian cities. Not only have these young girls ended up in Indian circuses and households as bonded servants, many have ended up working as life long commercial sex workers. Some graduate in a decade or two to become brothel owners themselves, employing between 7 to a dozen young Nepalese females in each commercial sex venue.
In 2007, various Indian and Nepalese estimates put the total number of Nepalese commercial sex workers in India at around 200,000 to 300,000, though this is considered a low estimate. Nearly half of the women in Mumbai, who ply commercial sex work totaling 120,000, are estimated to be Nepalese, a cording to various ILO estimates. The women are not only subjugated to various forms of torture, gang rape and different sexual acts, they face the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS openly.
According to recent available posted on BBC, HIV infection may have increased by more than 100 percent among Nepalese women and by 200 percent among children in the past 18 months. This has also been substantiated by several NGO officials working to bring relief to the Nepalese women in Mumbai and Bangalore. Nearly 18% of the customers also happen to be migrant Nepalese workers in India close to the cities who visit the brothels on weekends. The Nepalese government´s National Center for AIDS/STI Control publishes figures regularly on the number of HIV/AIDS case occurring in Nepal. But these figures are considered diminutive based on the actual number infected, particularly those forced to return to Nepal from Mumbai, New Delhi and Kolkata after contracting HIV/AIDS. For instance, the Nepal Government released figures that nearly 2200 housewives were infected with HIV in 2007, but the figure could be more as there is stigma and discrimination attached to revealing one´s HIV status in Nepalese society and this does not include the HIV/AIDS infected women who have been returned from Indian brothels. This is a serious problem that is also not reflected accurately in the various sentinel surveys on cross border sex trafficking between Nepal and India. The Nepalese government states that the number of children infected with HIV reached 428 from 138 in 2005, but the actual reality is, more than 2,500 known infections are recorded in various hospitals and clinics throughout Nepal in the same period.
The alarming fact is that among the Nepali women trafficked to India and forced into the sex trade, nearly 40 percent of them were HIV positive by the time they were repatriated, US researchers have verified. Human Rights Watch has published an explicit report outlining the plight of Nepalese women who have been trafficked to India and exploited for commercial sex work there and abroad. The main cause of this inhuman crime seems to be the impoverishment of Nepalese women which forces their parents to marry them off to middle agents or else to sell them off for the remaining families´ survival at an early age.
Another finding coming from a small study of 287 Nepalese women who found their way home after years of sex slavery in India’s brothels, underscored the challenge facing public health authorities as they battled to contain India’s HIV epidemic and prevent it from spreading throughout the region. Nearly 90% of them were infected with HIV, far more than the 40% figure guess estimated by various international media channels! According to Jay Silverman, Associate Professor of Society, Human Development, and Health at Harvard School of Public Health speaking to the BBC recently, “The high rates of HIV we have documented support concerns that sex trafficking may be a significant factor in both maintaining the HIV epidemic in India and in the expansion of this epidemic to its lower-prevalence neighbors.”
India already has 2.3 million people living with HIV/AIDS, more than any other country in the world except South Africa and Nigeria, and is also a major hub for sex workers from across the region, such as Nepal and Bangladesh. Lacking formal employment, the tide of poor Nepalese women willing to provide these services seems to go unchecked.
Currently Nepal is rehabilitating itself after an 11 year old civil conflict that left nearly 13,600 people dead. However with the current national infection numbers hovering anywhere between 80,000 to 120,000 more than 17,000 are expected to die each year throughout the coming decade due to HIV/AIDS related infections. Nepal earlier had traditionally very low rates of HIV/AIDS infection at less than 300 per 100,000 but now it cannot be sure it will remain the same for the rest of this decade. Many returning commercial sex workers sent back from various Indian cities in turn marry back into their villages, whether projected government figures are accurate or belie the truth. Many of the women are also giving birth to HIV infected children and continue engaging in commercial sex work in Kathmandu, Biratnagar, Janakpur, Pokhra, Nepalgunj, Bhairawa and Birtamod among major townships.
Both the World Bank and UNAIDS officials have warned that the cross-border sex trade presents a potential public health threat to Nepal, although there has been very little data or action to show what’s happening on the ground. This all paints a highly disturbing picture of young women and girls being forcibly introduced to commercial sex work outside of Nepal with high rate of HIV infections, and many dying of AIDS.
It is important for donors and international non profit institutions working in Nepal and helping the Nepalese overcome the post-conflict rehabilitation efforts to understand the depth of this problem. An increase of HIV infections burdens not only society, but develops astronomic health expenditure in their care and support, something a poor country like Nepal cannot afford. Thus, trafficking of women and children to India and South Asia from Nepal has fuelled in a very dangerous HIV/AIDS prevalence scenario throughout the South Asian continent, where the women infected with HIV have to bear a sad plight of being left untended and uncared for.
USAID has pointed out that poverty is still the fundamental problem that underlies all trafficking in Nepal. Due to the prevailing poverty, most Nepalese girls are illiterate and easily lured by the tiny attractions of work, higher salaries, easy life, and promises of a foreign job. This is now beginning to take its toll on the Nepalese women´s lives eventually having to face the threat of carrying HIV infections in working in India. This creates a larger problem of HIV spreading more rapidly through Nepalese society, where efforts at HIV/AIDS impact mitigation show a lack of concrete national planning and realization on the need to do something more urgently.
In fact, both the governments of India and Nepal have strong legal guarantees against the trafficking of women and young girls and even consider it a heinous crime. Both governments have signed most of the international statutes that deal with halting global trafficking of human beings particularly the UN, ILO and other abiding international treaties. Both governments recognize that this form of trafficking is slavery and serfdom, in short, another form of forced labor as during the Second World War. International donors have even put conditions on Nepal, since it is a party to various international legal instruments to put in concrete efforts to halt the trafficking of Nepalese women and young children in promises of more aid and assistance, but it is the scrupulous middlemen and not government that is the main problem here. It is nevertheless a moral obligation of the Nepal Government to adopt all necessary and effective measures to stop these cross-border activities.