Child trafficking: Delhi cops not cooperating in raids

1888877_10152716836809123_6359657859865378037_oPUBLISHED IN THE TIMES OF INDIA

RAIPUR: Chhattisgarh police team, which is in New Delhi to crackdown on trafficking racket, has accused Delhi police of not cooperating with further investigation to find the main accused involved in trafficking of children.

State police, in a series of raids, had busted a racket on Wednesday arresting four accused and rescued ten children including girls in Delhi. According to police officials, Delhi police barred Chhattisgarh police team when it wanted to raid the house of Guddu- the kingpin of trafficking, who is at large.

“Guddu’s house is located in Delhi’s Subhash Nagar police jurisdiction. But when the SHO Ram Mehar was contacted for cooperation in raiding the house, he denied saying that police from other state couldn’t do such investigation and in case they violated rules, he would take action against them,” an official on condition of anonymity said.

The official added that the team was asked to take permission from sub-divisional magistrate for conducting raids. In its investigation, TOI found that police teams from Jharkhand, West Bengal and Assam were trying to reach Subhash Nagar in search of Guddu who was the main accused for trafficking of over 10,000 children. But Subhash Nagar police weren’t co-operating.

According to Ravi Kant, a supreme court lawyer, “Any investigating officer asking support from inter state police at their jurisdiction cannot be denied assistance. Any resistance should be strictly taken into consideration by ministry of home affairs.”

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Trafficked tribal girl returns home with employer’s help

Pahariya Girl TraffickingPUBLISHED IN THE HINDU

A minor Pahariya tribal girl, identified as a Particularly Vulnerable Tribe, from Jharkhand who was trafficked to Delhi from Agra to work as a domestic worker was rescued after her employer’s relative, who is an Inspector with the Delhi Police, informed public authorities and NGO Shakti Vahini. The girl’s family and panchayat head reached Delhi to accompany her back to her Jharkhand village.

“A few years ago, an older girl in my village asked me to go away from the village. I had never left home before and realised later that they had brought me to Agra,” recounted Sonali, in her late teens.

“The employer in Agra beat me regularly almost every day. Then after a year, Pinky brought me to Delhi,” she said.

The Delhi employer’s relative, Rajiv Ratan, informed the Child Welfare Committee and Shakti Vahini that the tribal girl appeared to be a minor and trafficked.

‘Scared and confused’

“She appeared scared and it seemed she had been trafficked. I tried to track her local police station, but she could not recall her village name, or even the State she belonged to at first. Then I informed the NGO members.

They traced her village to Pakur in Jharkhand and then we contacted officials at the Jharkhand Bhawan,” said Mr. Ratan.

Shakti Vahini’s Rishi Kant said the organisation had rescued more than 70 girls from Jharkhand since January.

“The girl’s father reached Delhi three days ago. Unfortunately, he gave the girl a sad news about brother’s death. The family was distraught. Tribal children are particularly vulnerable and we need to have more concerted efforts to prevent trafficking from home States and support the children once they reach Delhi,” said Mr Rishi Kant.

Mukhiya Narayan Mahto who accompanied the girl’s family said several children from the village left their homes for Delhi and Mumbai to work and had lose contact with their families.

Shakti Vahini has rescued more than 70 girls from Jharkhand since January

Delhi has no rules in place to care for trafficked victims

SHAKTI VAHINI

PUBLISHED IN THE HINDU

Last November, the Delhi Government had submitted before the Delhi High Court that within eight weeks it would notify minimum standards of care and protection for trafficked victims. Nearly six months have gone by and despite many such cases being reported since, the notification is yet to see the light of the day.

Prior to this, expressing its displeasure over a Nepalese girl being forced to go back to the place from where she was rescued, the High Court had sent a notice to the State government asking for suggestions in this regard.

The notice was one in a series of many issued by the court, which took a suo motu of a report published in The Hindu in May 2013 about a girl trafficked from West Bengal and pushed into prostitution in the Capital. The Nepalese girl, too, was rescued around the same time and by the same NGO Shakti Vahini. She was later set free by a Delhi court, but went back to the brothel “because she had nowhere else to go and there was no institutional mechanism in place to take care of her”.

Since Delhi does not have any guidelines on the care and protection of victims, especially post their rescue, the court directed that it should adopt the ones framed by the Andhra Pradesh Government a few years ago. The Andhra Pradesh guidelines deal extensively with all aspects of standards of care be it accountability, legal aid, monitoring, benefits provided, restoration, diet and even infrastructure facilities available at care homes.

It was on November 27 that the Standing Counsel for the State Government Zubeda Begum informed the court about the eight-week deadline for taking into account the guidelines issued by the Southern State. She added that Delhi would also incorporate some additional features.

Six months on, the guidelines have not been notified. In response to The Hindu ’s question about the current status of the notification, a senior Delhi Government official said the draft has been prepared. On the delay, she said conditions in Andhra Pradesh were different from those in the Capital and hence they have made some changes.

The official, however, did not divulge what those changes were and what additional measures are there in the proposed Delhi guidelines.

Furthermore, the official said they were still in the process of building consensus on the draft. A meeting between all those providing institutional services is scheduled later this month. “Once notified, it becomes very difficult to make amendments. That is why we are taking our time,” she said.

Freed from brothel, girls want to ink new chapter

shakti vahini

AMBIKA PANDIT IN THE TIMES OF INDIA

NEW DELHI: Rescued from a wooden box at a brothel in GB Road on April 26, 17-year-old Neeru (name changed), who had been kidnapped from West Bengal’s 24 Parganas and dumped in Delhi, has been reunited with her family. The girl had appeared for her Class X exams back home. She returned to her village determined to pursue her education. Her father, who appeared relieved to have found his daughter safe, demanded speedy justice and punishment for the guilty.

The girl’s father, a daily wage earner, works as a labourer in farms. He had lodged a missing person report with the local police when his daughter had not returned from school. Neeru is his eldest child. The fact that his daughter was found at GB Road did not deter him from taking her back home.

According to social workers from NGO Shakti Vahini, who were tipped-off about the girl’s presence at GB Road by the father, this case is an example of how family can help in rehabilitation of a survivor from red-light area.

SLAVERY 2As she waited to board a train to Kolkata at the New Delhi Railway station on Saturday, Neeru narrated how she was befriended by an unknown boy who would give her missed calls on her mobile phone. One day, when she was going to the bank from school, the boy met her and asked her to accompany him. When she felt suspicious and tried to return, he forced her to board a train and she ended up at GB Road. There were many intermediaries in the chain, thrown in to prevent identification of the traffickers.

Tenacious Neeru managed to inform her father about her whereabouts using the phone of a customer. “When we got a tip-off from the father, we informed the police and a raid was organized on April 17. However, we did not find the girl. Later, a decoy customer found a 20-year-old girl from Midnapore district who was sitting depressed in a corner and it turned out that she, too, had been trafficked by a youth who had promised to marry her. She said the girl was hidden in a wooden box here. A second raid was organized on April 26 and both the girls and six other women were rescued from the box,” said Rishi kant from Shakti Vahini.

On Saturday, the 20-year-old girl from Midnapore also returned home with her father. She, too, plans to pursue her education now.

The brothel owner, Padma, had been arrested under sections of abduction, rape, illegal confinement and criminal conspiracy. Sections under POCSO, juvenile justice and immoral trafficking were also added. More arrests are likely.

In the last four years, Shakti Vahini has helped rescue 670 victims of human trafficking, including those trafficked for prostitution, forced marriage, domestic slavery, child labour, bonded labour and adoption. Around 75 victims have been rescued from GB Road.

Hasi and Khushi

EI SAMAY 7

EI SAMAY WEST BENGAL

This is a story of two sisters Hasi and Khushi, who lived at Rajshahi, in Bangladesh. Their father had passed away, and mother was working in Muscat. So their grandparents were the only family that they had. Hasi had studied till class X, though Khushi’s education was cut off due to financial problems, when she was in class VII. Although life was difficult, the four of them were somehow able to keep their body and soul together.

One day, Hasi and Khushi were invited to their elder sister’s place, which was at quite a distance from their village. On their way, they met a man who introduced himself as Raju. He was quite friendly, and did not seem unnatural. Although a stranger, there began to grow a bond of friendship especially between Hasi and Raju. Within a few hours, the friendship began to change into love. They exchanged phone numbers and departed for the time being. On their way back from sister’s place, once again they ran into Raju, and once again they walked the rest of the way together, laughing and chatting.

Quite a few months have passed after that. One day Raju proposes marriage to Hasi, and asks her to meet him at a relative’s house. He tells her his decision of completing the legal procedures for marriage that day itself. Hasi agrees, and decides to leave her house without letting anyone know. However, Khushi comes to know of it and insists that she Hasi should take her with her. Finally, they reach the place, but due to some ‘unusual problem’ the registry does not take place. So the two sisters return home, fruitlessly.

A few days later, Raju informs Hasi that he has got a job in India, and that both of them will have to stay in India after marriage. Hasi does not refuse the offer, because her love cannot be limited by geographical boundaries. With the dream of a new family in her eyes, she leaves her motherland and comes to India, along with her younger sister.

They have food together, following which they are served with a rose-scented drink; it intoxicates them and they fall asleep. On waking up, they find that they have been brought to the Indian side of the border, to a place which they later come to know as Budhwar Peth: a place in Pune, equivalent to the G. B. Road in Delhi.

Pune is one of those prominent places in Western India, where human trafficking ismost active. There are more than 5ooo sex workers in Budhwar Peth. Most of these residents had, at some point of time, been trafficked to this place, and many of them have accepted their job at the brothels as their fate. Unlike G. B. Road, in Budhwar Peth bodily transactions take place even in broad ay light. If one moves through this busy locality, one can almost always find women standing in rich make-ups and attractive dresses. Many of them had been brought here from the same place that Hasi and Khushi belonged to.

The police, however, are not at all surprised. “We have often raided the brothels at Budhwar Peth”, notes officer Bhanupratap Bargey. He also reports that almost 70% of the girls are trafficked from Bangladesh and returning them to their homeland after being rescued, becomes problematic for the police. This is because, it then becomes an inter-national affair, added to which are many legal hurdles, overcoming which is quite difficult for these girls. The rest of the girls are brought from the different district of West Bengal.

There is also the barrier of language that the girls have to face. They can scarcely speak in Marathi, English or Hindi. Their language is born out of their native soil in Bangladesh. As a result they are unable to communicate their stories of torture to the police. Sometimes however, things are made easy through the involvement of an interpreter.

But Hasi and Khushi could speak in rough Hindi, so they did not have to face too much problem in communicating themselves. Nevertheless, Hasi and khushi were not kept together. They were rescued from two different brothels. The police found Khushi from the brothel where they expected to find Hasi. Along with her, were about 5 more Bangladeshi girls. Hasi was rescued from another brothel 2 days after her sister was found.

Initially they were residing at a Government-run home in Pune, but then they went back to their family. The case is under trial; Raju has been arrested.

Why is Pune witnessing such an increase in this business?

Officer Bargey says, “Many IT companies and other organisations are budding here. As a result, young people often stay here, alone, for the sake of their jobs”. They are the target customers of this trade. Apart from this, there is the hunger for easy money and glamour. So there are many such people, who accept it when they get a taste of the flesh trade. “But the greatest problem is a lack of co-ordination at the national level”, says Bargey. So, this organised crime is proliferating. He also reported that 27 organisations of flesh trade have been closed down, their licence have been cancelled for being involved in trafficking. This is probably the first state to have acted with such measures.

Surrounded by the Sahyadris, Pune is dotted with several small, big, and medium-sized hotels. There are also massage parlours with people moving in and out constantly. The amount that they charge for 20minutes of massage is Rs. 5000. Hotel rooms are booked for the customers, where girls in miniskirts and strapless tops wait. The rule is that one has to take off his shirt before entering the room for it takes some time to do that, and there is no time to be wasted inside the room. The watch and phone should also be kept outside, for they may act as sources of distraction. On agreement of this rule, one can have his partner to satisfy him for 20minutes.

This high-profile flesh trade is rampant in Mumbai and Pune. Vibha was one such girl who worked at a massage parlour, and was able to come out of the hell by the help of her client. She was studying in class XI, when a relative of her introduced her to a person offering a good ‘job’. At that time her family was in need of money. So she accepted the job, and was taken to the parlour. Everyday clients came into the room and she had to satisfy them. 5000 rupees for 20minutes, 70% of which had to be given to the parlour owner. “there was a man who used to come almost everyday”, says Vibha. One day she told him everything. “I don’t know what he was thinking, but within two days, the police came with the NGO workers and brought me away.” Vibha has taken a paramedical course after that, and is presently working as a nurse.

Police raids are not uncommon in these hotels and parlours. They come and go empty-handed because the parlour authorities are informed beforehand. Hence, all the new girls are taken out of sight before the police reach the place. So naturally, the police are very worried about this issue. But side-by-side, they are also happy because the people of Pune are aware of the trafficking activities. They cooperate with the police and often inform them if they find anything unnatural going on, or if they see unknown faces in the locality. The police have been able to save quite a few girls because of public help. The anti-trafficking unit of Maharashtra and the police organise awareness programmes on a regular basis.

The scenario with respect to rehabilitation is also far better in Pune than it is in the rest of the country. Some of the organisations like the Rescue Foundation and the Vanchit Vikas run rehabilitation homes, where they keep the girls after rescuing them. The girls are taught to sew, make papads, soft toys, jewelleries and such other works here. The government homes are not far behind either. Many of the residents of these homes are happy, and through learning of different works, they become self-dependent.

The other side of the story…

I was waiting to cross the Ferguson College Road; packs of bikes continued to run on and obstruct my path as well as vision. Suddenly, my eyes fell upon one of the bikers: a young boy of about 19, clad in perfectly clean garments. He was wearing a white band around his wrist, and was fidgeting with it in such a manner that is bound to attract one’s attention. I felt that this might be a new way to impress girls.

My suspiscion was not entirely wrong. He was trying to impress girls, but not in the common way that men do. He was a male escort, or gigolo. This is also an active trade in Pune. The police claim that this is also associated with trafficking. Boys of 17-18years of age are trafficked and trained in the job, after which they are made to work. Statistics reports indicate that the demand for male escorts is also quite high, nor is Rs.1000-1500 for half-an-hour a bad payment.

I came to know one such story from the police. It is about a boy of 19 years, with a well-built physique. But he was poor. Through acquaintance, he came to know that he was eligible to get an offer in the film industry. He would be trained accordingly, and might even get a chance to work with Aamir and Shah Rukh. The offer was lucrative enough for him to set his foot into the trap. But he came to realise what his job was after some days: he was a male escort. However, in the end, he was able to come out of the trap and return to his previous life.

This is not a singular incident; such instances are common in the country. According to the police, the awareness that people have regarding the trafficking and trading of women is absent in the case of men. So rescuing them is much more difficult than rescuing the girls. I came to know that those men on bikes, wearing white bands are mostly gigolos. They prepare themselves in such a way that they become noticeable. The bands are a feature from which others can recognise them. The only diffrence with their female counterparts is that they work in the afternoon, when the man of the house is absent. There are women who also call for male escorts ‘only to enjoy’.

Traffickers pushing girls as house helps

HINDUSTAN TIMES

Faizan Haider & Mallica Joshi, New Delhi, July 23, 2012

In a dilapidated ‘placement agency’ in Delhi’s Kotla Mubarakpur, the fate of an 11-year-old girl is being sealed. “She can wash, sweep and cook. She is hardworking and will not give you any trouble. If she does, you can come back for a replacement,” says an agent who fixes deals, selling hundreds of minor girls as domestic helps every year.

In return, all that’s required is a one-time fee of Rs. 25,000 and Rs. 2,500 per month thereafter. What’s not required is the girl’s consent. According to data from the National Crime Records Bureau, while trafficking of minor girls has increased, the number of girls being sold and bought for prostitution has gone down. Instead, leading NGOs claim that trafficked minors are being increasingly employed as domestic helps.

“In 2011, 862 cases of trafficking were reported in comparison to 679 in 2010 – an increase of 27%. During the same period, selling and buying of girls for prostitution decreased by 13.1% and 65.4% respectively,” said a police officer.

Money, it seems, is the driving force behind this shift. “Out of the 325 children rescued by us in 2011, 162 were working as domestic helps. An agent earns between Rs. 5,000- Rs. 10,000 for selling a girl to a brothel, while he can get a commission of at least Rs. 20,000 if he sells her to a household,” said Rishi kant, executive director of NGO Shakti Vahini.

Girls, mostly in the age group of 10 to 15, are smuggled by organised gangs from Jharkhand. After speaking to several placement agencies, Hindustan Times found that the price range and age of domestic helps can be negotiated, with agents even willing to come home and talk.

The Delhi government is yet to enact a law that makes registration of placement agencies mandatory. A survey by NGOs of the 2300-odd agencies in the city revealed that only 364 of them were registered under the Commercial Establishment Act.

(Inputs from Neelam Pandey)

Trafficking in Persons Report 2012 lauds the role of Anti Human Trafficking Units (AHTU)

AHTU Training Programme to combat Modern Day Slavery

INDIA (Tier 2)

US TIP Report 2012 recognizes the work undertaken by the Ministry of Home Affairs initiated Anti Human Trafficking Units to combat Trafficking in India.

India is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. The forced labor of millions of its citizens constitutes India’s largest trafficking problem; men, women, and children in debt bondage are forced to work in industries such as brick kilns, rice mills, agriculture, and embroidery factories. A common characteristic of bonded labor is the use of physical and sexual violence as coercive tools. Ninety percent of trafficking in India is internal, and those from India’s most disadvantaged social strata, including the lowest castes, are most vulnerable. Children are also subjected to forced labor as factory workers, domestic servants, beggars, agricultural workers, and to a lesser extent, in some areas of rural Uttar Pradesh as carpet weavers. There were new reports about the continued forced labor of children in hybrid cottonseed plots in Gujarat, and reports that forced labor may be present in the Sumangali scheme in Tamil Nadu, in which employers pay young women a lump sum to be used for a dowry at the end of a three-year term. An increasing number of job placement agencies lure adults and children for forced labor or sex trafficking under false promises of employment. Indian boys from Bihar were increasingly subjected to forced labor in embroidery factories in Nepal.

Women and girls are trafficked within the country for the purposes of forced prostitution. Religious pilgrimage centers and cities popular for tourism continue to be vulnerable to child sex tourism. Women and girls from Nepal and Bangladesh, and an increasing number of females from Uzbekistan, Ukraine, and Russia, are also subjected to sex trafficking in India. There were increasing reports of females from northeastern states and Odisha subjected to servile marriages in states with low female-to-male child sex ratios, including Haryana and Punjab, and also reports of girls subjected to transactional sexual exploitation in the Middle East under the guise of temporary marriages. Maoist armed groups known as the Naxalites forcibly recruited children into their ranks. Establishments of sex trafficking are moving from more traditional locations – such as brothels – to locations that are harder to find, and are also shifting from urban areas to rural areas, where there is less detection.

Some Indians who migrate willingly every year for work as domestic servants and low-skilled laborers find themselves in forced labor in the Middle East and, to a lesser extent, Southeast Asia, the United States, Europe, Southern Africa, the Caribbean, and other countries. In some cases, such workers are lured from their communities through fraudulent recruitment, leading them directly to situations of forced labor, including debt bondage; in other cases, high debts incurred to pay recruitment fees leave them vulnerable to labor trafficking. Nationals from Bangladesh and Nepal are trafficked through India for forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation in the Middle East.

In March 2012, a U.S. court entered a default judgment of $1.5 million in favor of an Indian domestic worker who sued a former Indian consular officer who had employed her while assigned to duty in the United States; no appeal was filed. The domestic worker accused the Indian diplomat of forcing her to work without adequate compensation for three years and subjecting her to physical and mental abuse.

The Government of India does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) continued to establish Anti-Human Trafficking Units (AHTUs), which were responsible for combining law enforcement and rehabilitation efforts. The Central Bureau of Investigation launched an anti-trafficking unit in the reporting period and gave investigation authority under trafficking-related laws to all its police officers. Challenges remain regarding overall law enforcement efforts against bonded labor and the alleged complicity of public officials in human trafficking.

Recommendations for India: Develop a comprehensive anti-trafficking law or amend anti-trafficking legislation to be in line with the 2000 UN TIP Protocol, with adequate penalties prescribed by the UN Transnational Organized Crime Convention; increase prosecutions and convictions on all forms of trafficking, including bonded labor; prosecute officials allegedly complicit in trafficking, and convict and punish officials complicit in trafficking; encourage states to establish special anti-trafficking courts; improve distribution of state and central government rehabilitation funds to victims under the Bonded Labor (System) Abolition Act (BLSA); improve protections for trafficking victims who testify against their traffickers; encourage AHTUs to address both sex and labor trafficking of adults and children; encourage state and district governments to file bonded labor cases under appropriate criminal statutes; improve central and state government implementation of protection programs and compensation schemes to ensure that certified trafficking victims receive benefits; and increase the quantity and breadth of public awareness and related programs on bonded labor.

Prosecution

The government continued to make progress in its law enforcement efforts to combat human trafficking in 2011, but concerns remain over the uneven enforcement of trafficking laws and alleged official complicity. India prohibits most forms of forced labor through the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the BLSA, the Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, and the Juvenile Justice Act. These laws were unevenly enforced, and their prescribed penalties are not sufficiently stringent. India prohibits most forms of sex trafficking. Prescribed penalties for sex trafficking under the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act (ITPA) and the IPC, ranging from three years’ to life imprisonment, are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. The ITPA also criminalizes other offenses, including prostitution, and has some sections that are sometimes used to criminalize sex trafficking victims.

The government did not report comprehensive law enforcement data, and the challenges of gathering accurate, comprehensive, and timely data make it difficult to assess law enforcement efforts. However, the Ministry of Home Affairs established scorecards for its AHTUs in June 2011 to improve the availability of real-time data. A variety of sources noted that there were many investigations, including inter-state investigations. In Mumbai, in 2011, there were 242 sex trafficking cases prosecuted in the special ITPA court; 125 sex trafficking offenders were convicted with sentences of up to three years’ imprisonment. Two NGOs reported that six trafficking offenders were convicted for forced and bonded labor. Four offenders were sentenced to one year in prison – these sentences are being appealed – and two offenders were charged with fines. Most government prosecutions were supported in partnership with NGOs. A senior government official noted that while trafficking rescues and registration of cases have increased, convictions remain low. However, conviction rates were low across the penal system. Some NGOs continued to criticize the categorization of trafficking crimes as bailable offenses, which in some cases resulted in the accused absconding after receiving bail. Enforcement of trafficking laws, particularly labor trafficking laws such as the BLSA, remained a challenge.

NGOs continued to report that official complicity in trafficking remained a problem. Corrupt law enforcement officers reportedly continued to facilitate the movement of sex trafficking victims, protect suspected traffickers and brothel keepers from enforcement of the law, and receive bribes from sex trafficking establishments and sexual services from victims. Some police allegedly continued to tip-off sex and labor traffickers to impede rescue efforts. Some owners of brothels, rice mills, brick kilns, and stone quarries are reportedly politically connected. The Indian government reported no prosecutions or convictions of government officials for trafficking-related offenses during the reporting period; NGOs said this was due to a lack of sufficient evidence. In September 2011, the police arrested a member of the border security force for trafficking. He was released on bail as of December 2011, but there is no further information on that case. There was no information on the status of an arrest of a former member of parliament or an investigation on an Indian Administrative Services officer – as noted in the 2011 TIP Report – for his involvement in human trafficking.

The Central Bureau of Investigation established a dedicated federal anti-trafficking unit in January 2012 whose police officers have nationwide investigative authority. The government continued to implement its three-year nationwide anti-trafficking effort by disbursing funds to state governments to establish at least 107 new Anti-Human Trafficking Units in police departments during the reporting period, for a total of at least 194 AHTUs. Some NGOs believed that some units were more focused on sex trafficking than labor trafficking, including bonded labor. Some units appeared to focus on child trafficking rather than on the trafficking of both children and adults. Some units continued to be understaffed, which hampered efforts. The government funded more than 500 police officers to participate in a six-month anti-trafficking course at the Indira Gandhi National Open University. The government reported that it covered transportation and lodging expenses for over 5,000 government officials who participated in NGO-organized anti-trafficking trainings.

Protection

India made efforts to protect and assist trafficked victims. The MHA, through a 2009 directive, advised state government officials to use standard operating procedures developed in partnership with UNODC to proactively identify trafficking victims and refer them to protection services; however, the implementation of these procedures is unknown. The government continued to fund over 100 NGO-run hotlines that help assist vulnerable people, including trafficking victims. The Ministry of Labor and Employment reported 865 bonded laborers rescued and the equivalent of almost $170,000 distributed in government-mandated rehabilitation funds in 2010-11, the latest data available. This represents a small fraction of the millions of Indian citizens subject to bonded labor. There were some NGO reports of delays in obtaining release certificates, and distribution of rehabilitation funds was uneven across states. There were numerous reports that sex trafficking victims were rescued, most often in partnership between police and NGOs. There were increased reports of inter-state coordination among the AHTUs resulting in rescues. In one case, the Manipur, Rajasthan, and Kerala AHTUs collaborated in the rescue of 33 trafficked children.

The Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) allocated the equivalent of $118 million for 2011-12 to fund 153 projects in 17 states under the Ujjawala program – which seeks to protect and rehabilitate female sex trafficking victims – and 58 new Swadhar projects – which help female victims of violence, including sex trafficking. Some NGOs have cited difficulty in receiving timely disbursements of national government funding of their shelters under these programs. India does not provide care for adult male trafficking victims. Conditions of government shelter homes under the MWCD varied from state to state. NGOs reported that a number of shelters were overcrowded and unhygienic, offered poor food, and provided limited, if any, services. There were some NGO reports that some shelters did not permit victims to leave the shelter purportedly for security reasons; this violates international principles on the protection of victims. In some cases, traffickers continued to re-traffic victims by approaching shelter managers and pretending to be family members to get the victims released to them, although this practice is declining. Some Indian diplomatic missions in the Middle East provided services, including temporary shelters, medical care, legal assistance, and 24-hour hotlines, to Indian migrant laborers, some of whom were victims of trafficking.

There were some reports of trafficking victims being penalized for acts committed as a result of being trafficked. Section 8 of the ITPA (solicitation) and Section 294 of the IPC (obscenity in public places) continued to be used to criminalize sex trafficking victims. Reports indicated that some victims are punished for being undocumented migrants or for document fraud. Foreign trafficking victims were not offered special immigration benefits such as temporary or permanent residency status, although some NGOs reported that foreign victims had the same access to care as domestic victims. Foreign victims are not offered legal alternatives to their removal to countries where they may face hardship or retribution. In most cases, NGOs assisted rescued victims in providing evidence to prosecute suspected traffickers. Many victims declined to testify against their traffickers due to the fear of retribution by traffickers, who were sometimes acquaintances. Some NGOs continued to report the government was increasingly sensitized against not treating victims as perpetrators, and law enforcement activities against victims decreased. There were some reports of police treating victims as perpetrators, not using victim-centric policies, and not improving victim-witness security, which hindered victim testimony and prosecutions.

Prevention

The Government of India continued to make progress in its efforts to prevent human trafficking. The MHA’s Anti-Trafficking Nodal Cell continued bimonthly inter-ministerial meetings on trafficking, which also included participation of anti-trafficking officers from state governments. The Ministry of Home Affairs raised public awareness on trafficking though radio talk shows and press conferences; the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs continued to work with state governments to conduct safe emigration awareness campaigns; and the Bureau of Police Research and Development organized a workshop on the linkages between missing children and human trafficking and encouraged all police officers to track cases of missing persons.

The Ministry of Labor and Employment continued its preventative convergence-based project against bonded labor in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha, but not in Haryana. The government reduced the demand for commercial sex acts in the reporting period by convicting clients of prostitution. The government continued its multi-year project to issue unique identification numbers to citizens; more than 100 million identify cards were issued in the reporting period. Training for Indian soldiers and police officers deployed in peacekeeping missions reportedly included awareness about trafficking.