Humanity above religion and guidelines to curb child trafficking

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Uttrakhand HC: Conduct DNA test of child beggars and their parents to prevent child trafficking
The Uttrakhand High Court reversed a trial court’s order and convicted a 30-year-old man on charges of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a minor girl.

The court held him guilty for luring a 15-year-old Nepali girl on the pretext of taking her on a shopping trip to Banbasa in Uttarakhand. The minor girl was then subjected to sexual harassment by the man during their travel, the court held. The man was arrested after a sub-inspector at Shadra Bairaj police station was tipped off about the crime.

While delivering the judgment, the high court passed certain directions for the State to curb human trafficking:

  • Police should verify identity documents of all minor girls coming from Nepal and take contact numbers of their guardians in India and Nepal.
  • Police should book human traffickers under the Money Laundering Act and attach their properties. The police should increase patrolling on borders and human trafficking units should be headed by officers not below the rank of DSP/CO.
  • Since minors are kidnapped and made to beg in India, police should conduct DNA test of the child beggars and people claiming to be their parents. It further directed a ban on begging in the State.
  • State government should constitute a separate wing and set up a photo bank data to trace missing boys and girls, the photo bank should be displayed on the state department’s website and should flashed at bus depots and railway stations by the police.
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Child sex trafficking victims being raped, burned and starved in India’s brothels, report concludes

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Young girls in Kolkata being forced into prostitution by 'extremely violent and cruel methods', investigation by International Justice Mission concludes

Indian citizens demonstrating against child sexual abuse in Hyderbad in 2014 AFP/Getty Images

The brutal “breaking in” of trafficked girls in Indian brothels, from rape to beatings to starvation, leaves girls unable to say “no to anyone” or escape, a new study has found.

The testimonies of child sex trafficking survivors in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata offer a glimpse into the violence young girls endure before they are pushed into the sex trade.

“Traffickers are using the tactic of a ‘conditioning period’ to break the resilience of children,” said Saji Philip of the charity International Justice Mission, which co-authored the study with the government of West Bengal state.

“Fifty-five percent of the survivors were beaten with objects and some were forced to witness murder of other minors. These are extremely violent and cruel methods.”

The report into the prevalence of commercial sexual exploitation of children in Kolkata found more than half of the survivors had undergone a breaking in period involving being raped by the first customer, threats and physical violence.

West Bengal, with Kolkata as its capital, accounted for 44 percent of human trafficking cases reported in 2016 and also had the most missing children reports, according to government data.

Based on interviews with survivors, researchers said some had been beaten over a period of two weeks and burned with cigarettes, some were kept in isolation, while one was locked in a room without food for 12 days.

In addition to conditioning periods, managers used debt bondage to force survivors to enter the sex trade, said the report, published last week.

Managers told about half of the survivors that they had been sold and could not leave until they had repaid the money.

Others were told they owed the hosts who fed, clothed and housed them during sometimes months-long periods before they were forced into the sex trade, having been lured on the promise that they would be placed in well-paid jobs.

Once they had been “broken in”, survivors reported providing services to seven to 18 clients a day.

“They (managers) said not to go against the customer’s word – to let them have pleasure and not to express our pain,” said one teenager from West Bengal interviewed for the report.

“If they’re pleased, they would pay more.”

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.

Surge in human trafficking; average 63 victims rescued a day in 2016

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West Bengal topped the list in reported cases of human trafficking at 3,579, accounting for 44 per cent of total cases in the country
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Of the total 15,379 victims in these cases, 9,034 (58 per cent) were below the age of 18 years, according to the latest NCRB statistics on crime released for 2016 (Representational)

More than 8,000 cases of human trafficking were reported in India in 2016, while 23,000 victims, including 182 foreigners, were rescued during the year, according to National Crime Records Bureau data. Last year, a total of 8,132 cases were reported from across the country compared to the 6,877 cases in 2015.

Of the total 15,379 victims in these cases, 9,034 (58 per cent) were below the age of 18 years, according to the latest NCRB statistics on crime released for 2016. West Bengal topped the list in reported cases of human trafficking at 3,579, accounting for 44 per cent of total cases in the country. The state had reported 1,255 (18.2 per cent) such cases in 2015, when it ranked second only to Assam.

Assam reported 91 cases (1.12 per cent) of human trafficking in 2016, witnessing a drastic reduction since 2015 when it ranked first in the country with 1,494 (21.7 per cent) such incidents. Rajasthan with 1,422 (17,5 per cent) cases was second on the list for reported human trafficking incidents in 2016, followed by Gujarat (548), Maharashtra (517) and Tamil Nadu (434).

In 2015, Rajasthan had reported 131 cases (1.9 per cent) of human trafficking while Gujarat had registered 47 (0.7 per cent). Delhi is 14th in this list for 2016 with 66 reported cases of human trafficking, down from 87 such cases in 2015.

According to the rate of crime (cases reported per one lakh population), West Bengal retained the first position in 2016 followed by Union territories Daman and Diu (7) and Goa (18). Daman and Diu otherwise ranks 24, while Goa 18. A total 23,117 human trafficking victims were rescued during 2016, with the police saving, on an average, 63 people a day.

While 22,932 of those rescued were Indian citizens, 38 were Sri Lankans and as many Nepalis. Thirty three of the foreigners rescued were identified as Bangladeshis, while 73 from ‘other countries’, including Thailand and Uzbekistan, the NCRB data stated. As many as 14,183 of the victims rescued in 2016 were below the age of 18 years, it said.

Human trafficking, prohibited under Article 23 (1) of the Constitution, includes forced labour, sexual exploitation or prostitution, domestic servitude, forced marriage, begging, adoption, child pornography and organ transplant.

Rise in number of rescues, arrests as well: Almost half of India’s trafficking victims from West Bengal, reveals NCRB data

A total of 8,132 cases of human trafficking were reported in the country in 2016, of which Bengal recorded the highest, 3,597 cases, followed by Rajasthan with 1,422 cases

Published in The Indian Express

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Forty-four percent of the nation’s trafficking victims are from West Bengal, according to fresh data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). Though the data also showed a rise in the number of rescues and arrests in such cases, experts called for more grassroots intervention by the state government and NGOs.

After West Bengal, Rajasthan is a distant second at 17.49 per cent. A total of 8,132 cases of human trafficking were reported in the country in 2016, of which Bengal recorded the highest, 3,597 cases, followed by Rajasthan with 1,422 cases.

After Rajasthan (5767) and Madhya Pradesh (4817), Bengal recorded the third highest number of victims rescued by police, at 2,793 (77 per cent). Of those rescued, 2,323 are females whereas 470 are males. The numbers of persons arrested in West Bengal in connection with sex trafficking (1,847) is also the highest in the country. The police were also able to charge a large number of those arrested (1,795). However, in 2016, only 11 were convicted, while 224 were acquitted or discharged by court.

“Somewhere, government and NGOs are failing to identify the vulnerability in villages. We are all to blame for this. (That) West Bengal contributes 44% of the nation’s trafficking victims is alarming. Also is the fact that these are registered cases and just the tip of the iceberg,” said Rishi Kant of Shakti Bahini, an NGO that works towards rescue and rehabilitation across the country, while speaking to The Indian Express from New Delhi.

“Police seem to be playing a proactive role with a large number of arrests and rescues in 2016. But the district administration and NGOs, which are supposed to reach out to vulnerable families, are not doing their job to a satisfactory level. Bengal remains the hotbed for trafficking,” added Kant.

Experts said poorer sections of society in villages are most vulnerable to trafficking. Traffickers have a good network in villages through touts and utilise poverty and lack of jobs as bait to lure victims. According to the NCRB report, sexual exploitation, prostitution and forced marriage remain the main purposes of trafficking.

“It is mainly through marriages and lure of jobs that girls are trafficked out of Bengal. There is a need of a placement agency Act in the state. The Act will enable proper tracking of agencies (many of which operate from outside Bengal) and whoever they have placed for jobs (possible victims). Secondly, more awareness is necessary to prevent child marriages. Early marriages are still a menace in Bengal. A number of initiatives have been taken like Kanyashree in Bengal, which has been beneficial,” said Chittapriyo Sadhu, general manager, state programme (West Bengal and Assam).

“The modus operandi of traffickers has also changed as compared to five years ago. Also is the fact that more cases are reported now by parents of victims,” added Sadhu. “We are trying our best to rescue girls when a case is reported. In many cases, family members do not report it, mostly when victims are lured for jobs. There is a need for NGOs, civil society, panchayats, police and government to come together for prevention of the menace,” said a senior police officer.

Kids at risk in apartment brothels

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The West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights, in association with the International Justice Mission, on Thursday came up with startling revelations about child prostitution in Kolkata, including the fact that it is more prevalent in residential areas of south Kolkata than anywhere else in the city. And that these minors were repeatedly raped as part of their training at their “workplaces”, which are mostly regular apartments in residential areas. Once “conditioned”, the children had to serve between seven and 18 clients a day, the report said.

The report was released in the presence of senior IPS officers, social workers and those working in the area of human trafficking. The findings said children were sometimes exposed to commercial sex by their own relatives, including their mothers.

The worst part was that it was in residential areas where children, aged between 12 and 17, were mostly made available to clients, and not at established brothels, where only 0.8% of sex-workers were minors. “For nine months, our researchers walked into every possible place in Kolkata, including 16 known brothels and counted the number of kids being used for prostitution,” said Sanjay Macwan, regional director, IJM.

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In flats in residential areas, 18% of the sex-workers are children, the study found. A total of 4,143 sex-workers were documented from 451 public establishments (known brothels in areas like Sonagachhi and Kalighat) and 131 sex workers from 40 private places or flats in residential areas.

The trigger for the study were the repeated raids in residential areas of south Kolkata, like Garia, Sonarpur, Behala and Tollygunge, by CID’s antitrafficking department, in association with IJM, in which number of kids were rescued. “The crime is more hidden and organised in private establishments where children are provided to customers and contacts known to pimps,” the report said. The study also found that 77% of these children were lured with jobs. The children interviewed for the study had harrowing tales of how their resistance was broken — the key tactics included repeated rape and acute physical and mental torture. The survivors said they had even witnessed murders of other sex-workers as a warning.

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.