NIA likely to investigate human trafficking cases

nia-likely-to-probe-human-trafficking-casesPUBLISHED IN ECONOMIC TIMES

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) could be empowered to investigate cases of human trafficking, in what seems to be a breakthrough in the nearly year-long consultations among various stakeholders, including the home ministry and the ministry of women and child development.

Sources say the additional responsibility for the National Investigation Agency (NIA) would be part of the proposed anti-human trafficking law unveiled by Maneka Gandhi last year.

The move will also require amending the law that gave birth to the counter-terrorism agency — the National Investigation Act, 2008.

The Draft Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2016, proposed setting up a National Bureau on Trafficking in Person for “prevention, investigation of the trafficking of persons cases and protection of the victims of trafficking” — a role which could be performed by the NIA, sources said.

“The ministry of home affairs (MHA) wanted NIA to investigate trafficking and we have agreed to that. MHA has also given its approval for the draft Bill. After we get a green flag from Prime Minister’s Office, a Cabinet note will be circulated,” according to a top official of the ministry of women and child development.

Another official said “a cell within NIA” could be probing human trafficking cases.

After the Union Cabinet gives its approval, the draft bill will be tabled before Parliament.

“Traffickers enjoy immunity because local police agencies are not able to probe inter-state or cross-border crimes. We require a nodal agency as 80-90 per cent of trafficking cases span across various states,” said Ravi Kant, Supreme Court Advocate & President of NGO Shakti Vahini,  explaining why activists have been seeking a central body to probe human trade.

Government officials say to empower the NIA to investigate trafficking cases the National Investigation Act, 2008, will have to be amended.

The NIA was set up by the previous UPA government in 2009 to probe terrorist activities in the aftermath of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which killed 166 people.

As per the National Investigation Act, the anti-terror body is empowered to probe offences under eight specified laws, including the Atomic Energy Act 1962, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967, and the Anti-Hijacking Act 1982.

The proposed anti-human trafficking legislation will be independent of the existing law on trafficking in relation to prostitution — Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 — while a section of the civil society has sought an umbrella law.

The draft law divides offences into “trafficking” and “aggravated trafficking”.

The punishment for offences in the former category is rigorous imprisonment between 7 and 10 years and a fine of not less than Rs 1 lakh, while aggravated forms of trafficking will invite a jail term of between 10 years and life imprisonment and a fine of not less than Rs 5 lakh.

Aggravated trafficking will include trafficking of children, transgenders, differently-abled, pregnant women and those which involve use of drugs and alcohol.

There is also a provision for a national committee as well as a central fund for the relief and rehabilitation services for the victims.

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Two alleged human traffickers arrested

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New Delhi, Nov 15 (PTI) Two men, carrying a cash reward of Rs 50,000 each on their head for allegedly running a human trafficking syndicate, were arrested, police said today.

Two men, carrying a cash reward of Rs 50,000 each on their head for allegedly running a human trafficking syndicate, were arrested, police said today.

Two alleged human traffickers arrested

In November 2013, a human trafficking racket was busted in central Delhi’s Kamla Market and eight suspected pimps from the GB Road, were held, they said.

During investigation, it was revealed that the racket was being run by Saidulla Ali Gyan (43) and Atiyar Sheikh (33), the police said.

Efforts were made to arrest them but in vain, they said, adding a cash reward of Rs 50,000 each was declared on their arrest.

Last month, it was learnt that the two accused were residing in Kolkata, West Bengal, and continuing their human trafficking business from there, P S Kushwah, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell), said.

Sources were deployed in Kolkata and nearby districts to track them, he said.

On November 14, Gyan and Sheikh were nabbed from the Sealdah railway station, Kolkata, the DCP said.

Gyan was engaged in the human trafficking business for the last 10 years and used to lure poor people on the pretext of getting them a job and sending them to Delhi with the help of Sheikh, he said.

Bill to regulate placement agencies in Delhi still at discussion stage, expected to be ready by Dec

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Delhi’s placement agency bill will have stricter punishment for agencies employing minors and will propose action against employers hiring child domestic workers.

The delay by the Delhi government in coming up with a bill to regulate placement agencies has resulted in an unregulated business flourishing at the cost of human rights.

Hundreds of minors ,mostly girls, from villages of Jharkhand, Bihar and Chhattisgarh are trafficked to Delhi and employed as domestic help.

Hundreds of minors ,mostly girls, from villages of Jharkhand, Bihar and Chhattisgarh are trafficked to Delhi and employed as domestic help.(HT FILE)

The rescue of three girls from a house in north Delhi’s Model Town has once again brought up the issue of protecting domestic help in the national capital.

While states like Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh are active in regulating the sector, Delhi’s placement agency bill is still at the discussion stage. “We are in the final stage of discussion and should be ready by the end of this month,” said labour commissioner Sanjay Saxena.

Sources said that the bill will have stricter punishment for agencies employing minors and will propose action against the employer hiring child domestic workers.

The Jharkhand government bill, which is yet to be approved by the governor, has made it mandatory for placement agencies to maintain a register of employer and employees.

“The bill is must to control the trafficking of minors. I was part of Jharkhand bill and ensured that it should be called placement agency and domestic workers bill. It has covered almost every aspect and should be replicated in Delhi. It has explained the situation of placement agencies and domestic workers very well,” said Amod Kanth, chairperson of Domestic Workers Sector Skill Council (DWSSC) and also head of NGO Prayas, which rescued the three girls in Model Town.

Hundreds of minors (mostly girls) from villages of Jharkhand, Bihar and Chhattisgarh are trafficked to Delhi and employed as domestic help. Jharkhand chief minister had recently said that over 50,000 girls from Jharkhand are in metro cities and about 50% of them are in Delhi.

“The bill is expected to curb trafficking and stop exploitation of domestic helps. We have been demanding the bill for long and government has promised to table it in the next assembly session. It has provision of criminal action against employer, which would deter the common public,” said Rakesh Senger, director (campaign) of Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation.

Despite repeated attempts, labour minister Gopal Rai could not be contacted.

The draft bill of the Delhi government also talks about timely salary and the payment that should directly go to employee from the employer’s account.

Abducted Girl Returns to Guwahati Reveals Vast Trafficking Network.

By Statesman, New Delhi: 

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Maoist child soldiers reclaim their lives lost in the jungles of Jharkhand

B Vijay Murty ,Hindustan Times, Lohardaga (Jharkhand):

In Lohardaga district of Jharkhand, police have rescued 22 child soldiers of red outfit over the past three years. Trained to use sophisticated weapons at a young age, nine of them now study in a residential school
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Former Child soldiers of CPI Maoist rescued and rehabilitated by police, they shared their past experience with HT at Bagru Police Station in Lohardaga District of Jharkhand, India, on Wednesday, October 11, 2017. (Hindustan Times Photo)

When children of her age ought to have been solving simple arithmetical problems, Sara (name changed) was learning guerrilla warfare in the dense jungles of western Jharkhand with men and women more than twice her age.

Taken away forcibly from her parents in Lohardaga by then dreaded Maoist zonal head, Nakul Yadav’s guerrilla squad when she was only 11, Sara, youngest of three siblings, didn’t realize when and how she transformed into a Left insurgent ready to spill blood for the elusive proletariat’s rule in society.

Indoctrination turned her into a hardcore rebel within a year. She was ready to take on the mighty state ‘because it stifled voices of the down trodden and the oppressed’. By the time she was 13, she became a People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) commando trained in handling sophisticated weapons.

By 14, she became a sub-zonal commander, often moving with the strike party and engaging forces in gunfight whenever they came face-to-face. The disfigured index finger of her right hand that was more often used in pulling the trigger of the guns than handling pens is testimony to the hazards of using firearms with nimble fingers.

Law to the rescue

A research held in Jharkhand recorded 40 cases of children being recruited by Left insurgent groups—CPI (Maoists) and PLFI—from July 2014 till December 2015

JUDICIAL AID
 In 2015, Jharkhand high court took cognisance of media reports highlighting how Maoists demanded five children from every village in Gumla district. It was also reported that 35 children were kidnapped by them.
 The court had directed director general of police (DGP) to take stern measures and rescue the kidnapped children. It had also observed that if required, the state machinery should take military assistance.
 The DGP in an affidavit filed with the court same year, had admitted that there are certain locations in Jharkhand which were still inaccessible by the police. He, however, said that additional forces including central forces have been deployed at a strategic locations and rescue operations were on to recover the children from Maoists clutches.
 In subsequent affidavits, he clarified that the kidnapped children have been rescued from different locations.

LAW SPREAD IN INDIA
Government of India identifies 106 districts in 10 states as Left Wing Extremist affected in the country.\

In 2016, when forces raided the Maoists hideouts, killed several cadres and forced many to surrender, she fled to Uttar Pradesh but was caught and brought back to Lohardaga. After spending few days in a remand home, she is back to school, post a gap of nearly four years, fiercely independent, laden with lot of inner strength.

But life isn’t easy for this former child soldier in the civil society as she carries the taboo of being a rebel ‘who cannot be trusted’. Having lost four crucial years of schooling, it’s extremely difficult for her to catch up with studies. At home, the parents are so poor that they cannot assure her two square meals a day.

Stolen Childhood

Sara is not the lone child soldier struggling to reclaim her life after coming out of the jungle life. The nearly three decades of left extremist in the country has robbed the childhood of scores of innocent children who were forcibly recruited.

In Jharkhand, their official number was 32 as submitted in a petition by the government in the high court three years back, but unofficial numbers were in hundreds if not thousands.

While some of these child soldiers managed to escape and were rehabilitated, many of them after escaping from their hideouts migrated to other states fearing reprisal from the red outfit. Few who chose to continue with the jungle life are now in their twenties and early thirties serving in different ranks in the outfit.

In Lohardaga district, once a Maoist stronghold but now a peaceful town, the police have done exemplary work rescuing and rehabilitating some 22 child soldiers over the last three years. Nine of them have been admitted to schools, ten have been reunited with their parents as they preferred to go home, one is in remand home as he had cases against him, while two are in the process of getting admission in a residential school.

HT spoke to some of these rescued children, who narrated horrendous stories of their forcible recruitment and experiences in the jungle.

Yadav, the recruiter

Maoists’ regional commander, Nakul Yadav, now in jail after he surrendered along with another associate in May this year, is the biggest culprit when it came to forcibly recruiting children and grooming them into fighters. He had a direct or indirect hand in the abduction and recruitment of children in the districts of Gumla, Latehar and Lohardaga.

Popular as Budha, Nakul would often swoop down on villages with his armed squad comprising no less than 10 guerrillas, assemble the parents and advise them to part with a couple of children failing which he would threaten them with dire consequences, prevent their entry into the jungle for firewood and seize their farm land. Petrified parents dared not defy his diktats.

“It was a hot summer forenoon when Budha came to our village and held a meeting with elders. I was aimlessly watching the meeting from a corner of our house when suddenly the men with guns came towards me, held my hand and dragged me towards the jungle. As I cried bitterly unwilling to go with them, I saw three more children, two boys and a girl, who was my immediate neighbour, being dragged in a similar manner,” said Neeta (name changed), 15, who spent four years in the jungle before she escaped and landed in the safe hands of police.

Currently enrolled with the Kastruba Gandhi Residential School, Senha, Neeta says the initial days were full of struggle but she soon resigned to her fate and adapted to their ways of survival. “Whenever I cried to go home, they would threaten to kill my parents,” she said.

Damyanti (name changed), who was abducted and recruited along with Neeta said, since Nakul was the boss, everyone feared him and his word was the law. She said, at times, when directives came from his superior, Arvindji, a central committee member, few of them would go and join his team.

Nakul, the female child soldiers said, often slept with new girls who never objected for fear of death. “One day when I was summoned to visit his tent, I denied forthright,” said Sara, adding, “He felt ashamed and thereafter never forced me. But I would often hear their taunts. He would say bahut doodh ki dhuli hai (she is as pure as driven snow/ flawless).”

On the day of his surrender, Nakul had refuted allegations of recruiting child soldiers. “These are mere allegations and hence I would not like to comment,” he had said at the office of the deputy inspector general of police in May.

Sex slaves and bodyguards

Almost all minors either rescued or escaped from the rebels over the past three to four years had a similar story. All of them are tribals and hailed from remote villages where policemen never went till 2012-13. They were forcibly recruited around 2009-10 to 2014. The girls were mostly used for cooking and carrying loads while travelling. The bright ones were picked up for combat training, while many ended up as sex slaves. Few of them were married to the men in the squad.

A majority of the minor boys were educated and trained in guerrilla warfare. They also served as sentries and couriers as the suspicion levels on them were minimal. The commanders would keep the brightest ones with them as their bodyguards and personal assistants.

Dharampal (name changed), 16, forcibly recruited by Nakul’s squad in 2013, turned out to be most lucky among the lot. His smartness impressed Nakul that he adopted him. “I stayed with him 24×7 and handled everything, including the levy money and firearms,” said Dharampal, who walked out with Nakul when the latter surrendered in May this year. Police rehabilitated him in a residential school.

“These minors were so highly indoctrinated that they did not fear engaging with a company of CRPF. Sara and Dharampal have fired on me a couple of times,” said a senior officer, who led many operations against Nakul.

When the tide turned

Over the last couple of years, Nakul and his men had been under intense pressure from the security forces.

“Forces storming his bastion, choking the flow of finance, seizure of his known assets and three close encounters where he escaped by a whisker compelled Nakul to fall on his knees and surrender in May this year. That proved to be a turning point as all his followers and foot soldiers followed suit. This gave the much needed opportunity for all the child soldiers in his camp to flee,” said Lohardaga superintendent of police Karthik S. He hopes the former child soldiers will be able to pick up the threads of life once again.

“I am happy that these former child soldiers are back to school and aspiring to become successful citizens,” he said.

Satyarthi’s apppeal

Last month, Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi who was in Ranchi during his Bharat Yatra campaign against child sexual abuse appealed to the red rebels to spare children. “Please do not use children in your fight as it violates their child rights,” he had said. With most of the Maoist leaders either killed or in jail and the police pickets coming up in former Maoist strongholds, these former child soldiers do not fear being taken back into the jungle

 

 

Human trafficking in the Northeast: a horrid truth that remains unacknowledged

HASINA KHARBHIH, 17 OCTOBER 2017, YourStory :

yourstory-human-trafficking

Representational Image: Shutterstock

India’s Northeast shares international borders with countries like China, Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal and Bhutan; it invariably becomes an easy passage for organised human trafficking. From the rat-hole miners of Jaintia Hills to the flesh trade in Silchar, Hasina Kharbhih shares the details of human trafficking in the Northeast. 

In the last three decades of dealing with human trafficking, I have realised that the problem of scores of youth and children getting trafficked across the border is society’s negligence to acknowledge what’s happening. Once we accept that there is rampant human trafficking from and to the Northeast of India, we’ll be able to decipher the cause that leads to it. The northeastern part of India has an acute shortage of employment opportunities for its rural populace. Due to this, many village children and youths are forced to seek employment that later proves hazardous to them.

Child trafficking

When Impulse NGO Network (INGON) first began working in the villages of Meghalaya, we discovered that a massive percentage of the rural children had gone missing. Deeper research revealed that due to lack of income sources, the villagers would send their children to do odd jobs like serving tea at tea stalls or run similar errands at token shops. Traffickers were taking this opportunity to lure these with promises of well-paid jobs and cross them over to other states, districts or countries with considerable ease.

Since India’s Northeast shares international borders (which are open and unmanned) with countries like China, Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal and Bhutan, it invariably becomes a Source, Transit and a Destination Point. These points provide an easy passage in and out of India for organised human trafficking syndicates to operate undetected.

Rat-hole miners

Our research found out that there is an acute demand for young children for coal mining in Meghalaya’s Jaintia Hills that engages slave child labour from Nepal and Bangladesh for low wages. Approximately 70,000 children, from Bangladesh, Nepal and Meghalaya’s villages are engaged in this dangerous enterprise without any threat of punishment or discovery. The reason why little children are employed in this business is technical. The mining here requires manual recovery of coal from the deepest recesses of the earth via tunnel-like passages. These are so narrow that it is traversable only by little children. Since the process resembles the scurrying of rats, it is called rat-hole mining.

I’ve discovered children as young as five, working in these mines. Desperate families are promised handsome salaries in exchange for their children’s work, but they often have no idea that their children will end up living in such dangerous conditions. Many families are still looking for their children. They haven’t heard from them for the last two or three years. Children have been dying in these rat holes and the dead bodies are not being taken back because it’s not possible to get them out. They are not even being reported because, in the context of our state, they’re illegal migrants.

When INGON learnt about this, we sent a press release to the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) for global advocacy on children trafficked to the coal mines. With the help of Global Development Network (GDN), INGON also transformed this research for media advocacy, which gathered massive national and international media attention and influenced the powers-that-be, to address the issue. Consequently, INGON managed to rescue about 1,200 children from these mines. Later, though, we learnt that the rescued children were getting replaced with new recruits. So, INGON was compelled to file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the National Green Tribunal, which finally effected a directive passed on April 17, 2014, banning rat-hole mining in the state of Meghalaya; an effort for which I received the CNN-IBN India Positive Award.

Domestic help

We’ve even found children migrating to the neighbouring state of Nagaland and working as domestic help in the homes of government officials. While the employers say that they’re paying and treating them well, child labour is still a criminal offence. We can keep rescuing children, but unless the government makes a considerable effort to educate and empower them, the problem will continue to persist.

Youth trafficking

We have also noticed a huge demand for young girls from the Northeast for job opportunities within India and Southeast Asia. Lured by unauthorised recruiting agencies, these girls are either coerced into the commercial sex trade or domestic work.

Flesh Trade

Across the border:

While all other borders that North East India shares with its neighbours are equally feasible for this market, the trend of trafficking girls through Myanmar started nearly a year ago.

Last year, six girls from Mizoram, who were being taken to a neighbouring country, were rescued. The destination points are usually Singapore and Malaysia. Recently, eight Manipuri girls, who were being trafficked to Singapore by members of an international gang, were rescued in Myanmar. Due to their government’s adoption of the Impulse Model, our team in Myanmar coordinated the rescue of the girls from a room on the fifth floor of a Yangon hotel and took care of their stay, legal processes, counselling, and repatriation. We used a combined expertise to rescue the girls and then take care of them all the way via Kolkata till they reached Manipur by September 30, 2017.

At home:

While young women are trafficked for an offshore market, they do have a huge demand in the domestic flesh trade business too. A very audacious example is the organised red-light area in the heart of Silchar town, the headquarters of Cachar district, Assam. According to Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act (ITPA), 1956, a prostitution centre cannot exist in a public place, but Silchar is an exception. I was present with police during one of the raids at the Silchar brothel in 2016. I was surprised how the local people never raised their voice over the matter, due to which the brothel has not been evicted till date. Fresh girls are brought from different states and sold in the brothel on a frequent basis. These girls have to be given an alternate source of income before the plan of eviction is implemented.

For marriage

Another worrying factor is the demand for brides in the states of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, which have a poor sex ratio. Our research has found that young girls are trafficked from Assam often to be forcibly married off to men in those states.

Ways to ward off

I have always believed in one thing. If there is a problem, there has to be a solution.

Impulse Model

As one of the pioneers in addressing issues of human trafficking in the Northeast, having no precedent whatsoever, I realised that we had to have a method and it could not afford to have only one or a few players to fight for it. So, my team and I developed a model that includes all possible departments, directly or indirectly involved with the rescue of trafficked people. This became the Impulse Model.

The Impulse Model runs on the anvil of 6Ps – Partnership, Prevention, Protection, Policing, Press and Prosecution, and 6Rs – Reporting, Rescue, Rehabilitation, Repatriation, Re-integration and Re-compensation, influencing the various stakeholders of society into action. Its advantage is that all stakeholders can share their best practices and collaborate to implement across the border, engaging in a multilateral agreement across the South-East Asia. After being adopted by neighbouring countries like Myanmar, Bangladesh and Nepal and replicated by all Northeast Indian states, the Model is under review for national application across India.

Entrepreneurship

The victimization of young women and children will continue even after we rescue them if we don’t have a backup plan. Impulse NGO Network works toward providing a global market to domestic weavers in the villages of the Northeast so that they can yield a steady income and profit by doing what they do best – weaving and craft-making. This is an entrepreneurship opportunity that somewhat arrests the possibility of precarious employment and gives a respite to the prevailing lack of jobs.

 

नाबालिग को शादी का झांसा देकर ले जाने के आरोप में आठ गिरफ्तार

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PUBLISHED IN DAINIK JAGRAN

कोडरमा: एक ओर प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी हरियाणा के पानीपत में बेटी बचाओ, बेटी पढ़ाओ अभियान की शुरुआत कर रहे थे, दूसरी तरफ मानव तस्करी के उद्देश्य से कोडरमा सुदूरवर्ती ग्रामीण क्षेत्र की एक नाबालिग बेटी को शादी का झांसा देकर हरियाणा के एक अधेड़ उम्र के युवक ले जाने आया थे। पुलिस ने दूल्हा समेत इस मामले में लिप्त कुल आठ लोगों को गुरुवार को गिरफ्तार कर जेल भेज दिया।

गिरफ्तार लोगों में हरियाणा के गंगाचाप रेवाड़ी निवासी विजय पाल, करमपाल (दोनों पिता छोटू राम) विजय सिंह, पिता महाबीर सिंह, सुरेश कुमार, पिता तलवीर सिंह, रामानंद शर्मा, पिता ईश्वर लाल, मुनिया मसोमात पति स्व. सिराज डोमचांच, मो. महताब व मो. अमजद अली (दोनों पिता जलालुद्दीन तारानाखो राजधनवार, गिरिडीह) शामिल हैं। इसे लेकर आरोपियों के विरुद्ध डोमचांच थाना में मानव व्यापार अधिनियम के तहत मामला दर्ज किया गया है। पुलिस के अनुसार डोमचांच थाना अंतर्गत पंचगांवा की रहनेवाली एक गरीब परिवार की नाबालिग लड़की से शादी करने के नाम पर उसे ले जाने की तैयारी चल रही थी। इसी दौरान ग्रामीणों ने पुलिस को सूचना दी। डोमचांच पुलिस ने तत्परता दिखाते हुए मौके पर पहुंच कर सभी आरोपियों को गिरफ्तार कर लिया। आरोपियों ने बताया कि वे लोग पांच दिन पूर्व यहां शादी करने के लिए आए थे।

सातवीं की है छात्रा

कोडरमा: जिस लड़की से शादी कर ले जाने आए थे वह लड़की सातवीं कक्षा की छात्रा है। लड़की ने बताया कि वह अभी पढ़ना चाहती है। लड़की की मां ने बताया कि बगल की एक महिला ने आकर कहा कि बेटी की शादी करोगी । गरीबी एवं लड़की के पिता की मानसिक स्थिति ठीक नहीं होने के कारण हमने हां कर दी। उन्होंने कहा कि इससे पूर्व भी डोमचांच क्षेत्र से तीन-चार लड़कियों को हरियाणा शादी के नाम पर ले जाया गया है।

मामले को महिला सीआईडी को भेजा जायेगा: एसपी

कोडरमा: कोडरमा एसपी संगीता कुमारी ने इस मामले को गंभीरता से लेते हुए कहा कि आरोपियों पर सख्त कार्रवाई की जाएगी। इस मामले को अपराध अनुसंधान शाखा के पास भेजा जायेगा। उन्होंने कहा कि उक्त लड़की की कस्तूरबा गांधी स्कूल में नामांकन कराकर आगे पढ़ने की व्यवस्था की जाएगी।