Global human trafficking racket busted in Hyderabad

PUBLISHED IN THE TIMES OF INDIA

HYDERABAD: Police, on Sunday, busted an international human trafficking racket and rescued two women from Barkas in Old City. Two persons were arrested. The two victims rescued by Chandrayangutta police, were reportedly sexually exploited by their employers from Abu Dhabi, who also made them clean toilets with bare hands and cut tons of onions as a form of soft punishment.

The arrested have been identified as Imtiyaz, 35, and his mother Fatima, while the victims were a 29-year-old housewife from Barkas and her 32-year-old cousin from Rakshapuram Colony. Both the women have two children each and the income earned by their alcoholic husbands was not sufficient to run the family, South Zone DCP V Satyanarayana said.

As the women were looking for means to support their families, Fatima approached them with a job offer in Abu Dhabi. She told them that through her son Imtiyaz, who had provided employment to scores of people from Old city in Gulf countries, she could find them lucrative jobs as domestic helps in Abu Dhabi for a paltry down payment and a monthly commission in the earnings.

“The victims who believed Fatima borrowed money at a high interest and paid her Rs 1 lakh each to go to Abu Dhabhi. Fatima told them that they will be able to send home Rs 30,000 per month,” Chandrayangutta additional inspector S Raghavendra said.

On November 11, the two women boarded a flight at RGIA and reached Abu Dhabi, where they were received by their employer. After they started working, within no time the two women realised that they had to do a lot more than performing the traditional duties of a domestic help. “The women were sexually exploited not just by their employer, but even by his guests in a brutal manner. The victims were beaten up when they resisted,” Raghavendra added.

Apart from this abuse, the employer used to make the victims clean toilets, including commodes, with bare hands. “Unable to bear the humiliation, when we finally mustered courage and protested saying that we came to Abu Dhabhi to do household work, the employer made us cut sacks of onions continuously as punishment,” one of the victims told police.

Unable to bear the torture, the 32-year-old woman fell ill and had to be hospitalised. She was then sent back to Hyderabad by the employer on December 1. After reaching the city, she approached police and narrated the horrid tale. Cops immediately swung into action and picked up Imtiyaz. Through him, they managed to convince the employer in Abu Dhabhi to send the second victim to Hyderabad on Sunday. “We have recorded the statements of both victims on Sunday and arrested the brokers under Sections 420, 384 of IPC and relevant sections of PITA,” the DCP said.

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Trafficked girl awaits aid after 3yrs

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Guwahati Telegraph By Pankaj Sarma

Sept. 9: Almost three years after she was rescued from Haryana, a 20-year-old victim of human trafficking from Assam is still awaiting assistance from the state government for her rehabilitation.
Rekha (name changed), who hails from Hajo in Kamrup district, is now struggling for a livelihood as she is yet to get any form of help from the government despite repeated pleas. “Without any source of income, I have become a burden on my family,” she told The Telegraph.

As a result, she is finding it difficult to arrange even two square meals a day for herself and her two-year-old son. Rekha, who was trafficked to Haryana and forced into marriage, was rescued by Shakti Vahini, a Delhi-based anti-trafficking NGO, with the help of Haryana police from Shahpur in Haryana’s Jind district on October 4, 2011.

Rishi Kant of Shakti Vahini told The Telegraph that she had written many times to the state government seeking help so that she can sustain herself and take care of her child but till date her efforts have yielded no result.

“After prolonged persuasion, joint secretary of the social welfare department M. Baruah wrote an official letter to the director of the department, Dilip Borthakur, on March 5 this year asking him to look into the matter and do the needful,” he said.

“Six months have passed since then, but unfortunately nothing came of it,” Kant rued. When contacted, Borthakur said one of his officers, who is looking into the matter, is currently on leave.
“I would be able to tell you about its present status only after he returns from leave,” he said.

Rishi Kant said Rekha was trafficked when she was 17 with the lure of a job since she was from a very poor family. “After that she was forced to marry a person named Rakesh, who not only sexually abused her but also forced her to do all the household chores,” he said. At the time of her rescue, Rekha was five months pregnant. According to Kant, they reunited Rekha with her family and sent her back home.

Girls rescued from Delhi Rajdhani

index.phpPUBLISHED IN THE HINDU- BY SHIV SAHAY SINGH
The Committee in its order directed that statements of the girls be recorded under Section 164 of the CrPC on their return to the State.

The rescue of three teenage girls in Delhi has once again brought to the fore the problem of trafficking from West Bengal. They rescued girls hail from Gobardanga in North 24 Parganas district.

Huddled inside a toilet of Sealdah-Delhi Rajdhani Express, the girls between 13 and 16 years arrived in Delhi on September 4. But before they could fall into the trap of traffickers, the police took them under their protective custody.

The three Class VIII students were produced before a Child Welfare Committee in Central Delhi on Monday. The Committee directed that a police officer who had reached Delhi from West Bengal should escort the girls to their homes and put them back in school. The Committee in its order directed that statements of the girls be recorded under Section 164 of the CrPC on their return to the State. “Though the girls said that they wanted to escape home, there are inconsistencies in the statement. References to an aunt of one of the three girls who was earlier working as a bar dancer have also emerged in the conversation with them,” Rishi Kanta an activist of Shakti Vahini, told The Hindu over phone from Delhi. When the matter came to the notice of the representatives of the NGO, they informed the West Bengal Government, which sent a police team to Delhi.

“It is a matter of concern how three minor girls reached Delhi, a long way from West Bengal and that too by the Rajdhani Express. Nothing could be revealed during discussion, whether the Ticket Examiner examined their ticket or not. The girls said they came without ticket,” reads a letter addressed to West Bengal Women and Child Development Department and the State’s Criminal Investigation Department by a representative of Shakti Vahini.

As trafficking of women and children continues to be a major concern of the State, NGO representatives suggested that strict vigil should be ensured at every railway station in the State to prevent such cases.

Girl’s rescue in Delhi exposes trafficking racket in Bengal

1013140_10151874027915798_2119845624_nPUBLISHED IN THE HINDU

The rescue of the 16-year-old girl, haling from Haroa in North 24 Parganas, from a red light area in Delhi last week, seems to have busted a trafficking racket.

North 24 Parganas police have arrested Sk Sabir alias Rohit, the main accused, who kidnapped and trafficked the girl.

“The investigation has revealed that the accused is a habitual offender and we are probing whether he has trafficked other girls out of the State,” Bhaskar Mukherjee, Additional Superintendent of Police, North 24 Parganas, told The Hindu on Monday.

Mr. Mukherjee said that another woman Tanjina Khatum, an accomplice of the main accused, who used to befriend young girls, has also been detained.

The police said they have rescued another minor from the custody of Khatum. Meanwhile, the police have learnt that Sabir was in touch with two more young girls and was trying to lay a trap for them. It has also been learnt that the main accused is a resident of Purba Medinipur and operated in North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas districts. Sabir was arrested on August 9.

During a joint raid by representatives of a non-government organisation Shakti Vahini, West Bengal police, and the Delhi police, a 16-year-old student of class X was rescued earlier this month. The girl was abducted in June and her brother and other relatives went to Delhi to rescue her. A trafficker identified as Roshni, and hailing from the State was arrested in Delhi and brought to the State.

Rishi Kant, an activist with Shakti Vahini, said the development points to a trafficking racket operating out of the State. “Since the source trafficker has been arrested he believed that he is involved in other cases of trafficking and it requires attention of a special agency,” he said, adding that the organisation will be writing to the State Criminal Investigation Department to take over the case. The activist added that there is a need to expand the ambit of investigation and bring those operating in Delhi in the purview of investigation.

Modern-day slavery persists the world over

NEW DELHI — When Savita Debnath was 14, two unknown men came to her impoverished village in eastern India, promising her a job cleaning houses for $40 a month in nearby Kolkata. When she got there, agents forced her onto a train to New Delhi and sold her.

The buyers were a family that abused her and forced her to work long days cooking, cleaning, caring for two young children and preparing for parties without pay or being allowed to contact her family.

“I worked from 6 a.m. until midnight or 1 a.m.,” said Savita, now 15 and freed from her bondage. “When a dish burned, she slapped me many times. I’d cry for my mother, but the mistress ignored me.”

A report released Thursday by Australia’s Walk Free Foundation suggests that Savita’s story is a common one, not just in India but worldwide. The 162-nation survey estimated that there are 29.8 million modern-day slaves, and that bondage in some form exists in most countries, including the United States, Canada, Japan and Western European nations.

Although other countries have a greater proportion of their population in bondage, India has by far the largest number, an estimated 13.9 million people. That is more than four times that of the No. 2 country, China, with 2.9 million. Pakistan ranked third, with 2.1 million.

Mauritania and Haiti had the highest percentage of the population in bondage, 4% and 2%, respectively.

Modern slavery, the report says, “takes many forms, and is known by many names. Whether it is called human trafficking, forced labor, slavery or slavery-like practices … victims of modern slavery have their freedom denied, and are used and controlled and exploited by another person for profit, sex or the thrill of domination.”

In India, much of the traffic in enslaved domestic workers is organized by dubious employment agencies that are virtually unregulated despite a court order requiring the government to set operating guidelines.

“The placement agencies get all the money, and the poor girl gets nothing,” said Rishi Kant, a social activist with Shakti Vahini, the New Delhi-based civic group that rescued Savita. “The girls are abused — mentally, sexually, physically. Officials don’t care, and sometimes even want maids for their own houses, [which is] partly why they’re silent on this.”

Nick Grono, Walk Free’s chief executive, said by phone that modern-day slavery in India includes children forced into marriages, entire lower-caste communities forced to work in brick kilns or quarries, and people lured by money lenders to assume debts that can last for generations.

In the case of enslaved domestic workers, middle- and upper-class families often happily pay as little as $33 a month to disreputable agents for 24/7 help, rather than paying the minimum wage of $125 a month and following other labor laws. The agents often ensure that ties are cut between girls — as young as 10 — and their families in rural villages. The girls’ isolation is made worse because they often speak no Hindi, fear the police and are penniless, leaving them little way out of their plight.

“The family is duped, left thinking one day she’ll come back with some money,” Kant said. “And many employing the girls in Delhi are rich, powerful families, so authorities don’t enforce the law.”

There are signs of progress, said Shalini Grover, an analyst with New Delhi’s Institute of Economic Growth, noting a increase in the number of part-time domestic workers who live outside their employers’ homes, giving them greater economic leverage and control over their lives.

In terms of percentage of people in slavery, India is fourth on Walk Free’s list. In Mauritania, which ranks first, one nongovernmental organization has estimated that as much as 20% of the population is enslaved, although Walk Free uses the more conservative figure of 4%. Slavery in Mauritania goes back generations and is deeply entrenched, although the country has banned the practice and signed international conventions against slavery and child labor.

“Indoctrination to ensure people in slavery accept their situation of ownership is a key feature of slavery in Mauritania,” Walk Free’s Global Slavery Index report says. “Without access to education or alternative means of subsistence, many believe that it is God’s wish for them to be slaves.”

At the other extreme, Iceland is estimated to have 100 slaves amid its population of 320,000. The United States ranks 134th, with an estimated 60,000 people in bondage.

The rankings are based on a compilation of government statistics, multilateral agency information, NGO studies and Walk Free’s surveys. The organization provided drafts to all 162 countries six months ago, but for the most part, only developed countries responded, with largely positive or neutral responses. Walk Free hopes to continue refining the data.

Walk Free acknowledged the difficulties in compiling and refining data for the survey, its first, but said it hoped the index would widen the discussion about reducing modern-day slavery.

“Our data is the best out there, but it’s a moving feast,” Grono said. “You have to be an optimist in this industry, otherwise you’d slit your throat.”

mark.magnier@latimes.com

robyn.dixon@latimes.com

Magnier reported from New Delhi and Dixon from Johannesburg, South Africa. Tanvi Sharma in The Times’ New Delhi bureau contributed to this report.

Adivasis Dangerous Journey into the Urban Jungle

HINDU CLIPPING

PUBLISHED IN THE HINDU

Forced Marriages in Haryana

HUMAN TRAFFICKING NEWS IS A SHAKTI VAHINI NATIONAL LEGAL RESEARCH DESK INITIATIVE

The Government has taken a number of measures to improve the sex ratio. The Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Technique (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994 makes sex selective abortions a punishable offence. Further, the Ministry undertakes programmes for awareness generation as well as for socio-eco empowerment of women. Giving this information to the Rajya Sabha today, the Minister of Women & Child Development Smt. Krishna Tirath said that the Government of Haryana has also taken various steps to improve the gender balance. These include- implementation of the Ladli Scheme w.e.f. 20.8.2005 under which a sum of Rs.5000/- is given on the birth of second girl child for a period of 5 years; and giving cash prize to the best performing districts in terms of sex ratio.

The Minister also informed the House that in so far as trafficking is concerned, the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 supplemented by the Indian Penal Code (IPC) prohibits trafficking in human beings, including children and lays down penalties for trafficking. Advisories for combating trafficking have been issued on 09.09.2009 and 12.10.2011 by the Government of India to all States/Union Territories. Further, the Ministry has been implementing the “Ujjawala” Scheme, under which financial assistance is being provided for prevention of trafficking and for rescue, rehabilitation and re-integration of victims of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation