Board exam result brings happiness to trafficking victim

SHAKTI VAHINIPUBLISHED IN THE HINDUSTAN TIMES

NEW DELHI: Days after writing her class 10 board exams, 17-yearold Rashmi (name changed) was trafficked from a small village in Assam to Fatehabad in Haryana for forced marriage. For two months, she lived away from her family at a place where she was sexually assaulted and made to do household work.

Rescued earlier this month, the girl was still in shock and unable to overcome the trauma. Last week however, her exam results brought cheers to her life as she passed with 51%.

The survivor hailing from Barpeta in Assam belongs to a farmer family. “She is the eldest daughter of the family and is setting a very good example to her four younger brothers and sisters to work hard. She is an inspiration and proves that poverty cannot always hamper the growth of a family. Despite facing such a tough situation, she is ready to study further and has asked us to assist her,” said Rishi Kant, activist with Shakti Vahini NGO, which had rescued her.

Despite having been traumatised, the girl is optimistic about her future. After having passed her board exams, she now aspires to continue with her higher secondary education. She hopes to one day become a teacher.

“In India, social stigma is very much prevalent throughout all societies, her success is also contributed by her parents’ support who are willing to educate her further,” he added. “These success stories help strengthening government policies for extending their support to victims of human trafficking. These girls whom we call survivors are the real inspiration and strength for us in fighting human trafficking,” Rishi Kant further said.

Rashmi was trafficked to Delhi two months back and was sold to a family in Haryana for ` 80,000. Before selling her to the family she was raped by the trafficker and h

‘Take me home, country road…’

EI SAMAY 5

PUBLISHED IN EI SAMAY

A car cuts through the lush, green paddy fields. Kids run behind it, laughing, shouting, cajoling. The car stops infront of a small hut. The clay oven is aflame in the courtyard. Rice is cooking. A woman is sitting behind it. She seems lost. Lost in the thoughts of a daughter who left …

‘Ma, ma…’ A shockwave runs through her. Whose voice? No, it can’t be…

Breathless, she runs out. A small crowd has formed around the car by then. She pushes through the crowd. Her child, the apple of her eyes, has come back. Tears blur everything. Still she tries to wipe out her daughter’s eyes first. But to no avail. ‘Yes ma, I’m back. They tortured me, to my death, almost. But I’ve come back.’

The hollow of her eyes are dark. Shameless, gaping wounds run through the body. Cuts, bruises, cigarette burns. Clotted blood, here and there.

Someone had taken her away with promises of work. She was sold to an agency in Delhi.

The agency supplies 24 hour domestic helps to well-off families in the national capital. But not on monthly salaries. This particular girl was sold to her tormentors in 30 thousand rupees. The monthly salaries went to the agency as per the contract. The child was left with the brutalities and sexual perversion of her ‘employers’.

This child could return, for her mother took her back. She is of the rarest lot, a lucky one, those who found solace in their own families. Those, who could heal in the warmth and love of near and dear ones.

But what of the unlucky ones? Those who are declared ‘fallen’ by the society? Those who are shunned by their own parents? Behind one tale of reconciliation such as this, lie countless sagas of darkness.

Kamala too was lured in by a promise of well-paid job. Instead she got sold into a kothi in G.B Road. Kamala was strong. She resisted the attempts to barter her body with all her might. Retribution was swift. They tortured her. They stripped her naked and hit her with a belt. But Kamala was adamant.

The kothimalkin then devised another route. In the dead of night, a regular client entered Kamala’s chamber. He tore through her like a bloodhound. Kamala’s body was battered, defeated. But not her spirit.

Kamala was in that hell-hole for the sum total of one and a half month. She was rescued after that. In those few days she had gained many years. Kamala was not a girl anymore. But amidst all the pain, a searing hope remained. She was going home. Finally!

Hours ticked on. Days, weeks, months, years … Nobody took her home. Nobody came to see her.

Kamala almost regrets her rescue now. ‘Perhaps I was better off there,’ she says. ‘I was tortured. Those animals defiled me every day. Yet I had a place to live. Got to eat twice a day … But here? Here I am just trapped. Every day they take me to the court. But nobody takes me home…’ Her mutterings are most disconcerting.

Kamala doesn’t know yet, the trial has ended. Her trafficker too has been sentenced. But she cannot go home. Never. Her family considers her ‘fallen’.

Kamala’s parents were informed in due time. But they refused to take her back. Back home, she has three younger sisters. If she is taken back, the society would shame them. Nobody would marry them. Her parents could not take her back. After all, ‘What would others say…?’ Kamala, their darling, has died for them. And that boy next door? Who promised that they would be together? No words from him, either.

Kamala’s address is now ‘NirmalChhaya’,  government home. It has been 7 years since she escaped that hell-hole. Nobody has taken her home. She has forgotten what affection is.

Rabeyatoo reminisces a lot. Her Nikah was a grand affair, she remembers. Her husband adored her. Together the newlyweds were weaving dreams of a beautiful life ahead. But that one wish ruined everything. Oh, why did she insist on that merry-go-round? Abdul too conceded. That day he returned home early from work. Rabeya was ready in her best clothes, that red and green sari, glass bangles, jhumkas.

They went to the fair. The fair, that took away everything she had. She remembers it vividly. People, colours, jubilations all around.The jalebis, fuchkas, bhelpuris, bangles, clips, mirrors … and the merry-go-round. When it goes on top, you can see past the station, the village …

Abdul had gone to fetch the tickets for the merry-go-round. Rabeya was standing beneath it. Suddenly a hand grabbed her face from behind. Then darkness. Regaining sense, Rabeya discovered she was naked. And a blinding weight of another body upon her. She was at G.B Road, Delhi.

Rabeya’s route to freedom was not an easy battle. But it’s all meaningless now. Her traffickers are in prison now. So is she. In the invisible prison of a ‘civilized’ society.

Rabeya and Kamala form the majority of the girls rescued from these rackets. Their family and society shuns them. The government doesn’t care. There is no proper rehabilitation system for these women. They are kept in government homes till the trial is on. After that, government shuns all responsibilities. Those who cannot go home, has nowhere to go, literally.

There are some N.G.Os that provide shelter to these women. But the numbers are grossly inadequate. For the majority, future is as bleak as the past. Some of them choose to go back in the darkness. Some are re-trafficked.

They are the unlucky lot. The tears have dried, for nobody wiped them out.

Human Trafficking curse to humanity: Justice Jasbir Singh

Sunday, July 29, 2012 – 16:45
CHANDIGARH: The State Legal Services Authorities of Punjab, Haryana and U.T. Chandigarh, in collaboration with Governments of Punjab and Haryana, have organized a ‘Judicial Colloquium on Human Trafficking’ at Chandigarh Judicial Academy, here today.
There was unison amongst all delegates for bringing about a close co-ordination amongst police and civil administration, civil society and NGOs working in this area to emphatically curb the menace of human trafficking, which has caused a shameful stint on Indian society. It was also arrived at that judiciary has a decisive role to play in checking this inhuman practice through its pro-active role by taking the matter more seriously and to response swiftly.
Hon’ble Acting Chief Justice, Punjab and Haryana High Court Mr. Jasbir Singh formally inaugurated the conference by lighting a lamp. Delivering a keynote address, he stressed on the need of reconstructing moral values and ethics. He appealed civil societies to get involved in addressing the challenges of human trafficking along with government machineries. Mr. Justice also exhorted religious bodies to recognize their role in preserving the moral values. He dared all the police and civil administrative officers to take it as challenging task to eradicate human trafficking, which has been making inroads into our socio-economic frame work.
Mr. Justice Satish Kumar Mittal, Judge, Punjab and Haryana High Court cum Executive Chairman, Haryana State Legal Services Authority believed that human trafficking is more a economical problem than a political. He pointed out the reason behind the human trafficking, which mainly ended up in flesh trade, human organ smuggling, bonded and child labour. Justice Mittal said that around 2 lacs people were being trafficked per year, among them 60 per cent were the girls. Ms. Justice Roshan Dalvi, Judge, Mumbai High Court, in her address stressed on the need of several short term and long term measures to educate all the sections of the society. She also pointed out that poverty alleviation measures would also help in combating human trafficking in the long run.
In this Judicial Colloquium, District, Police, Legal and Civil administrative officers of Punjab and Haryana were also participating through video conferencing.

ACTIVIST FOR STRONGER LAWS

ACTIVIST FOR STRONGER LAWS

MALLICA JOSHI IN THE HINDUSTAN TIMES

As voices centred on trafficking crimes are slowly becoming louder and questions marks over the lack of regulation of placement agencies being raised increasingly, the pressure on the Delhi government to come up with a regulatory law has increased. According to experts, however, Delhi government’s draft Delhi Private Placement Agencies (Regulation) Bill, 2012 leaves a lot to be desired.   “The draft Bill provides for no welfare mechanism for domestic helps nor does it stipulate minimum wages. It also does not talk of a monitoring mechanism in procurement areas. These are key areas which are central to the problem of trafficking and also to the betterment of the domestic helps,” said Rishi Kant, member, Shakti Vahini, an NGO working against child trafficking.

The draft Delhi Private Placement Agencies (Regulation) Bill, 2012, would be placed before the assembly in February 2013.

“The draft Bill has not clearly spelt out the rights of the domestic helps. It also does not seek to set up a mechanism whereby domestic workers can lodge complaint of sexual harassment/sexual assault by placement agents,” Kant added. Woman and child department of Delhi government is now planning to bring a new legislation to rein in trafficking of minors, especially girls, and women. “We are working on a separate law,” said Delhi social welfare minister Kiran Walia.

Concern over health of human trafficking victims

Concern over health of human trafficking victims

Concern over health of human trafficking victims

DEVESH PANDEY IN THE HINDU

Alarming trend of some mysterious drug being administered to minor girls trafficked into the Capital

An alarming trend of some mysterious drug being administered to minor girls trafficked into the Capital from West Bengal, primarily to be forced into prostitution, has raised serious concerns over the mental and physical health of the victims of human trafficking.

The latest case is that of 17-year-old Wahida (name changed) from South 24 Parganas, who was smuggled into the city by an acquaintance of her lover’s brother and sold to a brothel on G.B. Road in Central Delhi about a week ago. “Having completed my Class X, I had gone to get myself enrolled with a nurse training school where Siraj, an acquaintance of my lover Nasir’s brother, met me. He took me to an eating joint where we had some food, after which I lost my senses. My body was functioning properly, but I could not utter a single word. What happened thereafter I cannot recall. It seems he made me consume food laced with some drugs,” said Wahida, daughter of a rickshaw puller.

Jitendra Nagpal, Head of the Department of the Institute of Mental Health and Lifeskills at Moolchand Hospital, said: “It could be some psychotropic that alters the functioning of the mind, declines overall function and impacts short-term memory altering the perception and emotion. These could also be illegally procured mind modifying agents like opioids or cannabinoids, making the person unable to control his/her behaviour. It at times makes the person vulnerable to suggestions by the perpetrator of the crime.” Dr. Nagpal said those under the influence of such a drug may lose their senses and are unable to later recall what exactly transpired with them.The next thing Wahida remembers is that she was at the New Delhi railway station. “When I confronted Siraj asking why he brought me to Delhi, he initially claimed that he wanted to marry me. I objected and urged him to take me back home, but he forcibly took me to a house where he beat me when I offered resistance. He then sold me off to a brothel where I was raped and mentally tortured,” she said.

Soon after the victim was brought to the brothel, non-government organisation Shakti Vahini got a tip-off that a minor girl had been forced into prostitution. “We immediately contacted the Kamla Market police, which raided the brothel and rescued the victim. Subsequently we alerted the West Bengal Police, which had received a complaint from the girl’s father a day ago. The girl was produced before a Child Welfare Committee. A case has now been registered and a police team headed by Sub-Inspector Bishwadev Roy, comprising two women police constables, is here along with the girl’s father to take her back to her native place,” said Rishi Kant of Shakti Vahini.

Mr. Kant said a similar modus operandi was employed by human traffickers in a recent case wherein a 16-year-old girl was brought to the Capital from Sonarpur in South 24 Parganas and pushed into the flesh trade. The girl, who was rescued later and is presently here for cross-examination before a city court, said she was also drugged before being trafficked.

Expressing shock, Sanjay Gupta of NGO Chetna said: “We have come across a large number of cases were children are trafficked into the Capital from States like Bihar and forced to become drug addicts. Under the influence of drugs, they commit crime and are also made to beg on streets. They are usually administered white/correction fluid and once they get addicted to it, they obey their handlers for their daily dose.”

Stating that presently there was lack of data on the subject of substance abuse among children and its repercussions, Mr. Gupta said a nationwide study was being undertaken by a committee in 142 districts across 27 States in coordination with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences under the supervision of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

Six minors among 14 rescued from brothels

PUNE: The Pune crime branch has rescued 14 women including six minors from two brothels in Budhwar Peth area. The police have arrested five brothel owners under prevention of immoral trafficking act (PITA). The social security cell of the crime branch led by senior police inspector Bhanupratap Barge made the arrests.

Barge told the TOI that he received a tip-off the minor girls were forced into prostitution in some brothels in the Budhwar Peth area. “We raided a brothel in a new building in Budhwar Peth and rescued four women including two minors,” Barge said.

He said that one of the minors was from Bangladesh. The police arrested two women for allegedly running brothel. “They have been identified as Puja Tamang and Maili Tamang,” Barge said. Barge said that the police also raided another brothel in the Sapna building in Budhwar Peth and rescued 10 women including four minors. “We have arrested three suspects in this regard. They have been identified as Shankara Nayak, Kajal Sardar and Bilkis Shaikh all from Sapna building,” Barge said.

Separate cases have been registered against the suspects with the Faraskhana police station. The investigating team comprised police sub-inspector Ashwini Jagtap, police constables Dattatreya Nikam, Kernath Kamble, Shashikant Shinde, Ajit Dhumal, Sandip Holkar and Sohanlal Chutele.

Child Welfare Committee should have members of civil society

TIMES OF INDIA

GURGAON: Unlike other cities like Delhi where civil society manages the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), in Gurgaon it’s the administration that runs the show. This fact not only hampers the functioning of the committee, but also creates confusion between the NGOs engaged in child welfare on the one hand and the administration on the other.

In Gurgaon, the deputy commissioner is also the chairperson of the CWC, while other officials from the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), district child welfare officer, district social welfare officer, a government-appointed social worker, besides the chief medical officer, DCP (headquarters) and district attorney, are other members.

Officials from NGOs and other organizations working in the field of child rights alleged that it takes undue time in getting a simple job done related to care and protection of a child. “As members are subordinate to the deputy commissioner in the administration set-up, no CWC official raises any question and simply follows his order in letter and spirit. CWC members should not be bureaucrats, said an owner of an NGO, adding that the officials might be efficient but they lack expertise and the necessary sensitivity in handling a child-related case.

Organizations demanded constitution of CWC based on provisions in Juvenile Justice Act (2000). “The members of the civil society having experience in child issues should be the chairperson and members of the committee. The Gurgaon DC is busy in his other works and how can one expect him to be present in any hearing, said a senior official from another NGO.

Childline (1098), Gurgaon, which provides emergency outreach service for children, also face a similar problem. Rishi Kant, spokesperson, NGO Shakti Vahini which runs Childline in Gurgaon said, “We don’t officials in CWC. There should be a proper bench of magistrates for deciding any order. Given the volume of cases and issues reported in Gurgaon, the CWC office should be functional for at least three days. Moreover, the order should be in accordance with the Juvenile Justice Act.” In Gurgaon, mostly a decision is taken by an individual member,Kant said.

Even the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has raised objection to the way CWC functions in Gurgaon. NCPCR member Vinod Kumar Tikoo, said, “We having raising this issue for the last one and a half years and asking the state government to revamp the set-up. The government has been asked to set up the CWC in accordance with JJ Act (2000) and JJ Rules.” “There are advantages of not having a committee with government officials. Administrative officials will have more inter-departmental authority. The deputy commissioner here, for instance, is so busy that it becomes difficult to take time out for the welfare committee,” said P C Meena, Gurgaon deputy commissioner.