India’s obsession with white skin leads to a large number of foreign women being trafficked into Delhi, say senior police officers.
They are lured with promises of employment but end up as sex workers, mostly operating from posh localities and even high-end hotels.
“The traffickers seize the passports of women who try to put up a fight on learning the reality,” says a senior police officer involved in several operations to rescue trafficked women, both Indian and foreign.
These women, mostly from poorer countries like Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, usually come to India on three to six months of work or tourist visas.
“By the time their visa ends, they are deep into prostitution and find no other escape. So they keep returning on extended work permits,” says the officer.
A few of them turn into pimps, often luring their own relatives and country-women into India and later forcing them into prostitution, the police say.
The traffickers employ several means to lure victims.
“Those who aspire for more than mere employment are lured on the pretext of joining a dance group. Some others are promised employment as clerks with big private builders,” the officer said.
Instead, they are sent out across the country to provide sexual services by brokers who mostly operate through the internet. Charges for their services can range between Rs.2,000 and Rs.1 lakh per night, with the women themselves being given very little money.
When they turn old and are no more sought-after, some return to their country while many others are confined to GB Road.
Eighteen people, including 10 Thai girls, were arrested for allegedly running flesh trade in the garb of operating two spas at Banipark area in the state capital, police said on Sunday.
All the accused, 10 Thai girls and eight men, were booked at Sadar police station under prevention of immoral trafficking act, they said.
There were complaints from the local people that on the pretext of massage, prostitution racket was being carried in the Thai spas, police said.
After probing the plaints, the local police raided the Crystal Mall at Banipark and arrested the manager, four Thai girls and helpers at the Thai Harmony Spa. While six other Thai girls, three customers and manager of Crystal Spa were also arrested, they said.
The girls used to charge from `3,000 to `6,000 depending on the customers standard for one time massage and illicit relations, they said.
Police have recovered the visa and passports of the accused Thai girls and verifying their antecedents.
On November 2 night, six people, including one woman, were arrested for running a flesh trade racket from a hotel under Karni Vihar police station.
It has been luring poverty-stricken youths from the neighbouring nation Nepal promising better life.
A company, tantalisingly named WinWin, has for some time been luring poverty-stricken youths out of their homes in the remote hills of Nepal to India in the hope of acquiring a better life. But now, WinWin — that describes itself as a skill development company from Varanasi, the high-profile constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi — is under the scanner for suspected links with a well-organised international human trafficking racket.
“We have received several reports on the activities of the company. Investigations have been launched,” Inspector-General of Police (Varanasi Zone) Amrendra K. Sengar told The Hindu.
In the past few months alone, an estimated 60,000 Nepalese nationals, mostly young women, are believed to have crossed over to India hoping to join the company.
In the early hours of September 22, as The Hindu team waits at the Belahiya border check point, it is witness to Nepalese police personnel intercepting a WinWin “trafficking” agent attempting to smuggle out two girls from northern Nepal.
“You are a liar! This is the fourth time you have been caught red-handed. Why have you been doing this again and again, putting lives of innocent girls at risk?” shouts an infuriated policeman at the agent. Later, the policeman tells us: “The emerging trend is that traffickers have started targeting vulnerable sections in the areas not affected in the April earthquake, as most agencies have been focussing on pockets that witnessed massive devastation.”
Wary of disclosing his identity, the young suspect insists it is his maiden trip to Varanasi with the girls to enrol them in a WinWin skill development programme. The company is suspected to be run by two Nepali nationals.
“I recently learnt about the firm from my friends in my village Phalaban in Salyan [in northern Nepal]. Lots of people are going there for training … they offer 20-35 per cent returns. I have invested Rs.1.5 lakh and hope to get the first instalment this month,” claims the agent.
“The victims pay Rs.1.5 to 2 lakh per head to the company and then are made to operate as agents for bringing in more candidates from the remote hills of Nepal, on the promise of huge returns. We cannot stop the girls who are majors and carry valid citizenship papers,” says another policeman.
At Belahiya, a volunteer with Maiti Nepal, a non-governmental organisation, tells us that on an average, 600 girls cross into India every day: “Everyone wants to join this company in Varanasi. They have with them only a card of the firm carrying its name, WinWin, no other details. We don’t know where exactly these girls are being taken,” he says.
Trafficking of Nepalese nationals across the border is not a new phenomenon, but after an earthquake devastated Nepal in April this year, security personnel say there has been a spike in the outflow of young women looking for jobs abroad: this became tellingly evident after the case of the Saudi diplomats in Delhi recently.
Thanks to the friendship agreement between India and Nepal, there is free movement of people from both sides, making the task of the police that much harder. Only those accompanied by suspicious persons, and not having genuine papers, get intercepted, counselled and sent back.
For the moment, it is the NGOs that appear the most concerned: Rishi Kant of NGO Shakti Vahini stresses, “If the information on this company is correct, it needs to be investigated by senior police officers in Uttar Pradesh, in coordination with the State Principal Secretary (Home) and the External Affairs Ministry. The Nepali government also needs to be alerted.”
- Delhi Government’s anti-trafficking committee made functional after 5 years.
- Rehabilitation Policy for Trafficking Victims to be framed.
- Effective steps to be taken to stop second generation prostitution.
The anti-trafficking committee of Delhi met at the Delhi Secretariat under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary of Government of Delhi, Sh. K.K. Sharma. The Committee was formed after Supreme Court orders in 2012. This was the first meeting of the committee after its formation. Chairperson of Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) Ms. Swati Maliwal Jaihind attended the meeting as Special Invitee. The meeting was called on the written request of the DCW chief to the Chief Secretary of Delhi.
After the meeting, the DCW Chief said that a special task force will be made which will draft a rehabilitation policy for trafficking victims. There is no such existing policy for the victims at the moment. Under this policy trafficking victims would get skill development training and job placements also. The DCW also suggested involvement of bodies like FICCI, ASSOCHAM, PHD Chamber of Commerce so that they can also help in the rehabilitation of the victims. The Chief Secretary accepted the suggestion and ordered the same to be included.
The DCW Chief informed the Chief Secretary that the Delhi Police solely depends on the NGOs and police of other states for the rescue operations in GB Road and other places, which shows that they don’t have their own information system.
The Chief Secretary asked the Delhi Police to make a strong information network so that girls can be rescued easily from places like GB Road. The Chief Secretary also asked Delhi Police officers and Director of Prosecution to give details of the number of FIRs lodged and charge-sheets filed in last five years in the cases of trafficking; he also asked for a list of number of conviction in such cases.
Ms. Maliwal also told in the meeting that in various cases of brothels being sealed the owners of the brothel get stay from the courts in absence of a rehabilitation policy for the victims. The Government of Delhi is now going to make a rehabilitation policy. It was also decided in the meeting to deploy lady sensitive police in GB Road.
The Chief Secretary also asked the police officers to tell the owners of the brothels that if any minor girl is found there brothels would be sealed.
The decision to reconstitute the committee was also taken in the meeting and members from NGOs and police would also be included. To stop second generation prostitution, plans for residential schools for the kids of prostitutes and shifting them to the schools was also discussed.
On the suggestion of the Director of WCD, formation of a panel of translators and interpreters for the trafficked girls was also discussed. A decision was also taken to make a data base of the traffickers in the country. A decision was also taken to sign an MoU with other states for easy restoration of girls from other states.
Facility of video-conferencing for the trafficking victims was also discussed in the meeting so that they could record their statement from their home states. The Chief Secretary asked the officers on the idea.
Mr Ravi Kant ,President Shakti Vahini welcomed the steps taken by the Delhi Government to Combat this Crime against Humanity. He said that the Task Force would create convergence among all stakeholders.
The Union Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh will inaugurate a National Conference on Human Trafficking, here on October 07, 2015. The conference is being organised by Ministry of Home Affairs along with key stakeholders like State nodal officers for human trafficking, officers of Anti Human Trafficking Units (AHTUs) set up in various districts, other stakeholder Ministries/Departments, NGOs and other experts in the field of Human Trafficking. The participants will discuss issues and challenges relating to Human Trafficking and ways and means to curb the menace more effectively.
The Ministry of Home Affairs had advised all States/UTs to launch a sustained campaign titled ‘Operation Smile’ throughout the country for a month in January, 2015 to rescue the missing children and reunite them with their families. Encouraged by the response of this campaign, MHA rolled out another dedicated campaign titled ‘Operation Muskaan’ throughout the country in the month of July, 2015. A total of over 19,000 missing children were rescued during these two Operations.
The top performers of Operation Smile will be awarded during the Conference by the Union Home Minister.
New Delhi, Sept. 16: A minor Simdega girl, allegedly kept captive for seven years at a high-profile professional’s home in Mathura, was rescued today by an interstate police team, becoming the eighth child from Jharkhand to be rescued from in and around National Capital Region the past one week.
A three-member Jharkhand Police team, accompanied by eight Uttar Pradesh policemen, rescued the 16-year-old girl who was kept as a virtual prisoner at the home of a managing director of a dental college for seven years.
Simdega anti-human traffic unit (AHTU) inspector-in-charge Ramashish Sharma, who led the team, told The Telegraph this evening over phone from Mathura: “The girl’s father complained to the police that he had not heard from her for a very long time. All he knew was that she was working somewhere near Delhi.”
The police first traced the trafficker, now settled in Delhi, who led them to Mathura.
“She was working at the home of one Manoj Agrawal, the MD of Kanti Devi Dental College. The girl had not been allowed exposure to the outside world for seven years,” Sharma said.
At the time of filing the report, UP police were doing paperwork. Given the high profile of the employer, the UP home department from Lucknow is believed to be monitoring the case after they gave the green signal to raid the home.
“I don’t know if Agrawal will be arrested,” Simdega AHTU in-charge said.
This shocking case follows yesterday’s rescue, when a team of Delhi police and NGO Shakti Vahini, led by Delhi Commission for Women chairperson Swati Maliwal, rescued five children of West Singhbhum from a West Delhi placement agency.
They included two boys, between 14 and 15 years, and three 16-year-old girls.
An anonymous caller had tipped off the NGO that a girl from Jharkhand, recently brought to Delhi, had contracted dengue and pleaded she be sent back home. But she was allegedly being treated badly by her recruiters at BB Enterprises, an unregistered placement service for domestic helps.
When the raid team turned up at the address last night, they found not one but five children, all from Tukjur village of West Singhbhum, including the girl they were looking for.
One Birsa Pandu, who called himself a “placement agent”, was also arrested.
Last week, in separate raids in Meerut and North Delhi, two tribal sisters from Gumla were rescued.
The Telegraph also reported on Monday about a search operation in Palwal, Haryana, when a missing girl from Garhwa refused to go home, saying she was married and carrying the child of the man who allegedly procured her from traffickers.