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.

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Using data to fight modern slavery

By livemint:

A systematic data and information platform with algorithms to recognize irregularities will make law enforcement more efficient
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The illicit trade in flesh transgresses borders and transports humans around the world. Photo: iStockphoto

The inhumanity shows up in the numbers. A September report by the International Labour Organization estimated that in 2016, 40 million people were victims of modern slavery, every fourth of whom was a child. To put this in perspective, in 2016, only about 35 of 233 countries had a larger population. Despite the staggering numbers, there is a disconcerting lack of discourse and systematic policy interventions.

It is important to first understand critical aspects of the crime, and then identify scope for policy innovation. Perpetrators are constantly reinventing themselves; it is high time policies followed suit, and went a step ahead.

Trade in human flesh is the forceful or fraudulent removal of an individual, being intentionally misled about the purpose. Removal is followed by making it impossible to leave. This crime is controlled by a highly secretive and organized network of perpetrators with operations and presence in small villages, urban powerhouses and of late, the dark web, across the globe. While technology is facilitating efficient crackdowns, it is also rendering more security to these clandestine operations.

The illicit trade in flesh transgresses borders, and through the victims’ perilous journeys, transports humans around the world. International commitment to fight slavery is evident from Target 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals, which seeks to end human trafficking, modern slavery and forced labour. Yet, actions remain disappointing.

Even nationally, laws often aim at regulating industries where victims are known to be held, like the sex trade industry, or through fair trade labels, but they lack in methods to identify these networks, the core of the problem. It is an uncomfortable truth that national governments, including ours, have failed to lay due emphasis on.

Indian states, however, are making commendable strides and innovating in their crackdown methods. Maharashtra, for instance, has 12 special cells for tracking illicit trade and a Crime And Criminal Tracking Network to connect police stations across the state. The mandatory registration of placement agencies in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh adds an impediment to forced outmigration and gives law enforcement agencies more backing to shut an illicit operation.

Micro solutions are very crucial in striking at the root of modern slavery, and therefore, states need to be empowered in their approach. In July, at a conference organized by the Maharashtra State Commission for Women—the first ever on women trafficking by a government institution—experts discussed issues around fostering better prevention mechanisms through shared data capabilities, among others.

The next crucial step in striking at human trade should be innovation in collaborations, using different digital capabilities. Cyber trafficking is one of the biggest contemporary challenges, and systems are getting more complex through technologies like crypto currencies. Often, in issues related to cyber crimes, different agencies have snippets of information since data points are geographically scattered. Therefore, a systematic data and information platform, developed at a micro level but shared at a macro one, with algorithms to recognize irregularities, will make law enforcement more efficient and accurate.

Any progress in developing cooperative databases and cracking down on cyber trafficking will be a futuristic move. The money and internet protocol trail, identified through data sharing, will be the golden circle in narrowing down and reaching perpetrators. The prosecution and conviction of Ross Ulbricht, founder of Silk Road website, is evidence of the success of such a systematic approach.

There is also room in improving physical crackdown, and use that to develop a comprehensive database. The initial steps in combating trafficking are the receipt of information of perpetration, investigation and prosecution. Victims are often smuggled using public transport and this can be made into an effective tool in identifying plausible instances.

Recently, Air Asia trained thousands of staff members in recognizing in-transit instances of human trafficking. Education campaigns like these for transport staff and general public and the passengers can help prevent the crime early enough. We should consider taking assistance from victims in the process of profiling, educating, and creating a data base, since no one would be better placed to spot these often inconspicuous crimes. Along with networks of information sharing, this will improve investigative processes, and help identify first-instance perpetrators.

Trafficking is a menace that transgresses boundaries—national, international and of human tolerance. A 100% cooperation at the inter-state level is non-negotiable. Different states in India must recognize the roles that networks play within their boundaries, assimilate this information and share it on a national, and possibly an international platform. Developing systems that group different information points and modalities could add the much-needed sophistication and address the lack of coordination among the state’s functionaries, furthering more nuanced efforts in preventing perpetration.

Survivor volunteers as bait to net traffickers

By TOI:

KOLKATA: A 30-year-old trafficking victim from the Bishnupur area of South 24 Parganas took it on herself to act as a bait for cops and led them to the arrest of four traffickers on Monday . The woman was trafficked to Delhi five years ago and has been facing threats after being rescued soon after.

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Threatened repeatedly to withdraw her case, the victim was even offered a huge amount to change her statement against the traffickers. The victim is a resident of Bishnupur’s Damdama.

For a woman who can barely make her ends meet -working as a daily labourer -it was an offer hard to refuse.She agreed to meet her tormentors at Sonarpur railway station on Monday night, but her motive was to use herself as a bait and help cops nab all the accused. Before meeting the accused, she had sent an SOS to NGO Shakti Vahini -which had rescued her fiver years back. The NGO in turn informed the top brass of South 24 Parganas police, who promised her of all help.

“Every bhaiphota they would re turn, bringing back painful memories.I decided to end it. My mother took the first step. She took down the numbers of the two female traffickers, one of them was identified as Deepali. They had come to my house to settle the matter. I called Deepali and recorded the conversation. When cops reached my house on the night of the operation, they asked me to ensure that I get as ma ny traffickers out in the open as possible. So I called up Deepali and claimed my mother-in-law was sick and was admitted at a Kolkata hospital,” said the victim.

The 30-year-old had demanded Rs 1 lakh so that heads of the gang get involved in the affair. “On Monday , the tormentors asked me to come to Baruipur but I refused. Later, we settled for So narpur platform 4. Even then Deepaili kept insisting me to go near an overbridge. But when I said I have to go to Kolkata for my mother-in-law’s treatment, they offered me a car ride. That is when they all showed up and the cops arrested them,” added the girl.
“It would not have been possible without the courage the woman displayed all through,” said a senior officer of Bishnupur police police station.
According to Rishi Kant of Shakti Vahini -the NGO who stood by her in her fight -the incident shows how well-organized the trafficking gangs are. “The next court hearing is in December where a sentencing is expected. The traffickers desperately wanted her to retract her statement – a pressure she had been withstanding since 2014. All the other five girls rescued along with her had retracted their statements, but she had even travelled to Delhi’s Tis Hazari court to record her statement,” said Rishi Kant.

 Cops said, it all started when a chance raid in GB Road by Delhi police on October 23 in 2012 led to the girl’s rescue. On November 11, 2012, the victim was given in custody of her father.

 

Abducted Girl Returns to Guwahati Reveals Vast Trafficking Network.

By Statesman, New Delhi: 

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Trafficking for Forced Marriage – Bride Says Marriage Was Arranged in Hell

By DAN MCCUEIN COURT HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

(CN) – A young woman sued her in-laws-by-arranged-marriage, claiming they brought her to the United States from India in a blatant act of human trafficking, then consigned her to “modern-day slavery.”  Diptiben Mistry was a college student studying hotel and tourism management when she and her family met defendants Chandrakant and Nilam Udwadia in Navsai, Gujarat, India in January 2007. After meeting for just 30 minutes, she says, her father agreed that she would marry the Udwadias’ son, Himansu. The only provision was that she be allowed to complete her remaining year in college and earn her bachelor’s degree. The Udwadias agreed and the wedding took place a week later.
But things quickly went downhill, Mistry says.

Defendants fraudulently induced Mistry to marry their son, Himansu Udwadia, misrepresenting the terms of marriage,” the complaint states. “Defendants then transported Mistry from India to their home in the United States. Using psychological coercion, physical violence, and threats of divorce and return to India as a stigmatized woman, Defendants forced Mistry to provide daily domestic labor for them, in violation of international, federal, and state laws.

“During the period that Mistry was forced to work for defendants, defendants never paid Mistry. Defendants held Mistry as a virtual prisoner in their residence, restricting her access to food, depriving her of medical care, subjecting her to verbal, psychological, and physical abuse, and keeping her under constant surveillance. Defendants controlled every aspect of Mistry’s life, including when she ate, slept, and showered, stripping her of any means of independence, subjecting her to almost constant surveillance, and dictating the minutiae of her daily life.

“Indian culture dictates that young women respect and obey their elder relatives. Upon marriage, a woman is expected to obey her husband and his family members. Divorce is considered extremely shameful in Indian society, particularly for women, and a divorced woman, as well as her entire family, may be considered permanently stigmatized in the eyes of their community. Defendants effectively leveraged these cultural practices to coerce Mistry into providing domestic labor.

“Defendants knowingly and willfully rendered Mistry isolated, helpless, and utterly dependent upon them in order to constructively imprison her. Defendants forced her to work long hours on little sleep and with little to no human contact outside of themselves. They prohibited Mistry from speaking privately with her own family in India. They deprived her of any money or knowledge of how to arrange for transportation. Defendants controlled every aspect of her life, down to the smallest detail, creating an atmosphere of complete control and effectively ensuring that Mistry could not escape. Defendants, through their acts and omissions, actively contributed to and promoted Mistry’s helplessness in order to maintain complete control over her and in doing so, created a coercive environment far more effective than mere locked doors or physical threats.

By fraudulently luring Mistry to the United States under the guise of marriage to their son and subjecting Mistry to forced labor, defendants committed human trafficking. Mistry seeks damages and restitution for unpaid wages, damages for trafficking her into the United States under false pretenses, and damages for breach of contract.” The ordeal began right after the wedding, which was on Feb. 3, 2007, Mistry says, when her new in-laws canceled her cell phone subscription: “one of their first acts of limiting Mistry’s ability to communicate with her family.”
Newlywed Indian couples often travel to visit relatives after their honeymoon, and usually travel unaccompanied. “However, following the week-long honeymoon, defendants insisted that they travel with Himansu and Dipti to visit relatives in India,” she says.

 “After the wedding, the honeymoon, and the travel around India to visit relatives, Mistry’s exams at school were starting, but Chandrakant would not permit her to return to school. Instead, Chandrakant told Mistry that she needed to return to the United States with them immediately and would not be permitted to finished her education in India, as contracted for in her marriage agreement,” according to the complaint.

Then, Mistry says, she came to find out that her in-laws had begun the visa process through the U.S. Embassy in India long before she had ever met the Udwadia family, and that her visa had been obtained fraudulently.”Defendants were looking for any ‘bride’ that could fulfill a domestic servant role in their household,” she says.

The day after they arrived in the United States, she says, Chandrakant took all of her belongings away, confiscated her passport and jewelry and put them in a safe deposit box at his bank. She says they insisted that she and her husband never sleep alone, but share their bed with a younger son, Prasad. “During Mistry’s time living with defendants in Oklahoma, defendants subjected Mistry to forced labor by requiring her to perform all domestic work while closely monitored by Chandrakant,” Mistry says. “Chandrakant did not allow Mistry to take breaks from her daily household chores except to study for her bookkeeping course and a bank teller certificate, which he forced her to obtain so that she could help him with his accounting business.

“If at any point Mistry chose not to follow Chandrakant’s orders, she would be subjected to verbal and physical abuse, such as slapping, yelling insults, or throwing items at Mistry.
“Mistry was responsible for all domestic work in the defendants’ home. She was expected to work from approximately 5 am to 11 pm each day. “Mistry worked for defendants in their Oklahoma home seven days a week, eighteen hours a day, for eight months, accruing approximately 4,320 total hours from April 3, 2007 to October 19, 2007.”

Throughout this time, she says, “Chandrakant supervised Mistry closely and told her exactly what chores to do, what to cook, and which pots, pans and utensils to use. Chandrakant constantly critiqued Mistry’s work, telling her she was stupid and did not know how to do things correctly. Chandrakant once hit Mistry on the head during prayers because she made a mistake. …      “Nilam [her mother-in-law] would report to Chandrakant what Mistry did throughout the day. She would report even the smallest detail, including when Mistry had a snack.”

 When her husband moved to Georgia in May 2007, she says, he wanted to take her with him, but “Chandrakant would not permit it. From May 17, 2007 to October 19, 2007, defendants kept Mistry and Himansu apart” In addition to forced labor, she says, her in-laws subjected her to “deprivation of food, deprivation of medical care and sexual assault.” The complaint states: “One night, Chandrakant came into Mistry’s room around 1 am, locking the door behind him. Chandrakant began touching her. Mistry got up from the bed, and Chandrakant chased her around the room. Mistry became frightened and screamed, so Chandrakant told Mistry to go outside, leaving her standing in the cold for fifteen to twenty minutes. When Chandrakant allowed Mistry back inside, he told her not to tell anyone what had transpired in the bedroom. Otherwise, Chandrakant told her, he would send Mistry back to India.”

Finally, she says, her in-laws demanded that their son divorce her and send her back to India. When he refused, she says, they tricked the couple by saying Mistry should go back to India to finish her studies. While she was there, the Udwadias went ahead with their plans to have their son divorce her. Although she returned to the United States to speak with Himansu directly, he refused to speak with her. Since the divorce became final, she says, she has been unable to retrieve her marital property or the items Chandrakant confiscated from her when she first arrived in the United States.

She seeks compensatory, punitive and statutory damages for forced labor, human trafficking for the purpose of forced labor, violations of the Oklahoma Human Trafficking Act, involuntary servitude and forced labor in violation of the Laws of Nations Alien Tort Statute. She is represented in Oklahoma City Federal Court by Amy Sherry Fischer, of Foliart, Huff, Ottaway & Bottom in Oklahoma City.

http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/01/13/43033.htm

Job agent held for running sex racket, misusing photos of women applicants

MID DAY
The Social Security (SS) Cell has arrested a placement agent for running a sex racket. The investigation revealed that the agent was misusing photographs of good-looking women job applicants by showing them to his patrons. Dayanand Hangave (36), a resident of Thergaon, was arrested on Monday evening by officials of the SS Cell after a tip-off.
The police suspect Hangave was acting as a middleman between call girls and their clients. The team led by Police Inspector Bhanupratap Barge laid a trap in Landewadi near Bhosari.
“Hangave was in possession of several genuine bio-datas from women since he worked as a placement agent. We suspect that he identified certain photographs to show his clients. But we suspect that the misuse was only limited to showing these photographs, for which we are investigating the extent of this malpractice,” Barge said. Barge added that Hangave was involved in a prostitution racket and used to send other women to his clients.

Army jawan among 8 arrested in sex racket

Lucknow: An army jawan was among eight people arrested for allegedly running a sex racket in Uttar Pradesh‘s Fatehgarh district, police said here on Monday . Acting  on a tip-off, police arrested the eight persons, including the army man and three women, from Ghatiaghat area yesterday for running the sex racket.

PTI

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/Army-jawan-arrested-in-sex-racket/articleshow/10819572.cms