Graft fuels trafficking

Graft fuels trafficking

Graft fuels trafficking

PANKAJ SARMA IN THE TELEGRAPH

US department of state’s report paints gloomy picture for region

Guwahati, June 20: A US government report has painted a gloomy picture of human trafficking in the Northeast.The US state department’s 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report, released by secretary of state Hillary Clinton yesterday, said there had been a rise in women from the region being subjected to “servile marriages” in states with low female-to-male child sex ratios such as Haryana and Punjab. According to the report, girls from the Northeast are also subjected to transactional sexual exploitation in West Asia under the guise of temporary marriages.

The report blames corrupt law enforcement officers in India of facilitating the movement of sex trafficking victims besides protecting suspected traffickers and brothel-keepers from enforcement of the law by taking bribes from sex trafficking establishments and sexual services from victims. “Some policemen allegedly continue to tip off sex and labour traffickers to impede rescue efforts,” the report said.

The arrest of a BSF jawan posted at Aizawl for trafficking a minor girl from Mizoram to Rewari district in Haryana in September 2011 also finds mention in the report, which says the accused jawan has been out on bail since December 2011. The report has put India among Tier 2 countries whose governments do not fully comply with minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance.

“The government of India does not fully comply with the minimum standards for elimination of trafficking. However, it is making significant efforts to do so. The ministry of home affairs continues to establish anti-human trafficking units which are responsible for combining law enforcement and rehabilitation efforts,” the report said.

It added that there had been numerous reports about sex trafficking victims being rescued by police-NGO teams and increased reports about inter-state coordination among anti-human trafficking units that resulted in the victims being rescued. “In one case, the Manipur, Rajasthan, and Kerala anti-human trafficking units collaborated in the rescue of 33 trafficked children,” the report said.

Welcoming the report, Rishi Kant of Shakti-Vahini, a Delhi-based NGO working against trafficking, told The Telegraph that a large number of girls, mainly minors, from the Northeast was being regularly trafficked and forced to marry in states like Haryana and Punjab.

“The registration of trafficking cases by the police in the Northeast has risen, but the government must ensure that guilty persons are convicted in court and for that the judiciary also needs to be sensitised,” he said.

The anti-human trafficking unit of Assam police has recovered many girls from Hissar district in Haryana with help from Shakti Vahini and has been rewarded recently by the Union home ministry for its efforts. The report also quoted a senior government official saying that while trafficking rescues and registration of cases have increased, convictions remain low in the country. It added that 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.

PANKAJ SARMA IN THE TELEGRAPH

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SC clarifies scope of case on Sex Workers limited to ‘rehabilitation’

Making it clear that the current attempt of the Supreme Court looking into the various questions involving sex workers and their rehabilitation does not include ‘institutionalizing or regularizing’ the profession, a division bench comprising of Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice Gyan Sudha Misra today said that there should not be any apprehension that the Apex Court was trying to ‘legalize’ the trade.

“We are not into institutionalizing or regularizing the profession… There should not be any apprehension that we are trying to legalize the trade,” the bench said clarifying the scope of the current effort in which the court has sought the involvement of various Ministries, NGOs, legal service associations, and others who would collectively develop a ‘composite plan’ to protect the rights of the sex workers.

The bench today directed to hold a meeting of all parties on May 6 to discuss the problems and issues of the Sixth Interim Report, which has been filed by the Committee appointed by the court, for looking into the various facets involving sex workers and their rehabilitation. The bench asked for identification of problems and working out solutions to the issues.

The apex court constituted panel is headed by senior counsel Pradip Ghosh and includes senior counsel Jayant Bhushan, Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee, Usha Multipurpose Cooperative Society and Saima Hasan, founder of Roshni as its members. The court’s order came after it took suo motu cognizance of the problems faced by sex workers while dealing with a sex workers’ murder case.

SC clarifies scope of case on Sex Workers limited to ‘rehabilitation’

Law to Regulate the Activities of Placement Agencies

NATIONAL LEGAL RESEARCH DESK

The Union Labour & Employment Minister Shri Mallikarjun Kharge has informed the Rajya Sabha that at present there are different Laws/Acts under which different types of placement agencies are covered.

(i) Manpower export and Placement Agencies are covered under Immigration Act 1983 ;(ii) Labour Contractors are covered under Contract (Abolition & Regulation) Act, 1970 and the Inter State Migrant Workmen(Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979; (iii)Private Securities Agencies are governed by Private Security Agencies (Regulation)Act,2005 and (iv) Private Placement Agencies catering to specific needs of the employers /labour market or temporary works not falling under first three categories, are not covered by any specific Act. These are small in number and working in sporadic locations. Some States/UT have issued guidelines to register them under their Shop & Establishment Act by the Labour Department.

In order to safeguard the interests of job-seekers, Ministry of Labour & Employment issued guidelines on 30.10.2003 to the State Governments/ Union Territory Administrations to consider regulation of the functioning of Private Placement Agencies, as per local needs. A Tripartite Committee has also been constituted on 31.10.2011 to examine the issue pertaining to private placement agencies & publishing of eye catching/ misleading advertisements for various kinds of job opportunities.

The Minister was replying to a written question whether at present there is no law to regulate the activities of placement agencies; if not, the laws in which the activities of the placement agencies are regulated; and whether Government intend to enact a separate comprehensive law to regulatethe activities of the placement agencies?

News on Anti Trafficking in India and South Asia – NATIONAL LEGAL RESEARCH DESK – A SHAKTI VAHINI RESEARCH INITIATIVE

An information was received from intelligence Agency regarding a consignment of Bangladeshi Passports received at Delhi Airport from Dubai addressed to one Mr. Rony Azad r/o Delhi.  Working on this information,  a team led by Insps. Badrish Dutt & Kailash Singh Bisht under the supervision of Shri Bhisham Singh Addl. DCP/Special Cell arrested five accused persons namely 1) Sayed Sakhir Hasan, 2) Manoj Kumar Nayak,       3) Manish Kumar Sharma, 4) Kuldeep & 5) Rakesh Behl all resident of New Delhi dealing in illegal human trafficking of foreign and Indian nationals in and out of India.  Their arrest led to the recovery of about 97 passports of India, Nepal, Bangladesh and USA, 11 fake visa stickers on passports, stamps of passport offices and UNICEF, dye used in preparing fake visas,  computer system and 12 fake visa stickers of USA, Canada, Malaysia & Vietnam and other incriminating documents.

INTERRROGATION –    On interrogation Syed Sakhir Hasan @ Rony told that he received foreign passports from Nepal and Dubai through courier and he arranged fake visa for them with the help of Manish Sharma.  Manoj Kumar Nayak revealed that he is an associate of Sakhir Hasan and foreign passport couriers were received by him and the same were handed over to Shakir Hasan.  Manish Sharma revealed that he arranged fake visa with the help of his associates Kuldeep.  Further Kuldeep told that he is involved in illegal human trafficking and was arrested by IGI Police Station about three months ago and is presently on bail.  He further revealed that he procured the fake Canadian and European visa stickers from Rakesh Behl @ Titu.  Rakesh Behl stated that he is involved in preparing fake visa stickers for the last so many years and prepared the said documents from his computer.

Recoveries :-

  • 11 fake visa stickers with passports out of which 5 passports are of Bangladeshi nationals and 06 are of Indian nationals.
  • 12 fake visa stickers.
  • Total 97 Passports (1 USA passport, 05 Bangladeshi passports, 45 Nepalese passports  & 46 Indian passports)
  • Computer system with printer used for preparing fake visa stickers.
  • Dye used in preparing fake visa stickers.
  • Various stamps of passport offices.
  • Three fake stamps of UNICEF.

The accused are in police custody for one week on the orders of the court for further interrogation, recoveries and investigation of the case.

(Arun Kampani) / Deputy Commissioner of Police/  Special Cell, Delhi

PRESS RELEASE DATED : 14/12/2011

Migrant awareness campaign in villages

News on Anti Trafficking in India and South Asia – NATIONAL LEGAL RESEARCH DESK – A SHAKTI VAHINI RESEARCH INITIATIVE

HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE

KATHMANDU: The government is expanding awareness programmes targeting migrant workers to remote villages to reduce fraud in foreign employment.

Every day at least three fraud cases are registered in the Department of Foreign Employment. The government is planning to mobile village development committees (VDCs), and local non-governmental and community-based organisations to educate people about foreign employment. “Ministry of Local Development is coordinating the awareness campaign in local level,” director general at Department of Foreign Employment Purna Chandra Bhattarai said.

“Orientation to village secretaries and officials of local non-governmental organisation has just started,” he said, adding that the training process will end by next fiscal year 2012-13. “We hope mobilisation of local bodies and non-governmental organisation will be effective to reduce risk associated with foreign employment.”

According to the department, about 640 fraud cases have been registered in the department in the first four months of current fiscal year. Foreign employment related frauds recorded all time high of 241 in Bhadra (mid-August to mid-September). Among them, some 88 cases were against registered outsourcing agencies and 153 were against their agents.

“Agents of the outsourcing agencies are root of fraud,” Bhattarai said.

About 4,000 agents are active in villages and cheating people in the name of foreign employment. “Their irresponsible activities have linked foreign employment to human trafficking,” according to the report published by Amnesty International (AI) yesterday.

Therefore, the department is also planning to collaborate with anti-trafficking networks to control growing human trafficking in the name of foreign employment. Women migrant workers are more vulnerable to human trafficking in the name of foreign employment, the AI report said.

About 60 to 70 women migrant workers reach Gulf countries – Saudi Aabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and others – through illegal channels of such networks making them more vulnerable to abuses.

Nepali migrant women workers trafficked to Gulf countries have to suffer from various exploitations and abuses from employers as their job – domestic helps – is not secured by the labour law of the destination countries.

According to UN women report of 2011, more than 22 per cent women migrant workers are suffering from exploitations or abuse in the host country and five per cent were cheated in salary and benefits. About 200,000 women are believed to be working in Gulf countries but only 40,000 are officially recorded in the department as most of the women migrant workers reach the destination countries via India.

According to the AI report, unofficially some 30 per cent women migrant workers are working abroad but according to the department, some 10 per cent to 12 per cent are women among the total Nepali migrant workers, though they are not registered officially.

http://www.thehimalayantimes.com/fullNews.php?headline=Migrant+awareness+campaign+in+villages&NewsID=312731

Google puts $11.5 million toward US coalitions devoted to fighting slavery

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

By: Beth Duff-Brown, The Associated Press  /  14/12/2011 3:09 AM

SAN FRANCISCO – Tech giant Google announced Wednesday it is donating $11.5 million to several coalitions fighting to end the modern-day slavery of some 27 million people around the world.

In what is believed to be the largest ever corporate grant devoted to the advocacy, intervention and rescue of people being held, forced to work or provide sex against their will, Google said it chose organizations with proven records in combating slavery.

“Many people are surprised to learn there are more people trapped in slavery today than any time in history,” said Jacquelline Fuller, director of charitable giving and advocacy for Google. “The good news is that there are solutions.”

The Washington, D.C.-based International Justice Mission, a human rights organization that works globally to rescue victims of slavery and sexual exploitation, was chosen by Google to lead the efforts.

It will partner with Polaris Project and Slavery Footprint and a handful of smaller organizations for the multi-year effort to rescue the enslaved, push for better infrastructure and resources for anti-slavery enforcement agencies overseas, as well as raise awareness here in the United States and help countries draft anti-slavery legislation.

“Each year we focus some of our annual giving on meeting direct human need,” Fuller said. “Google chose to spotlight the issue of slavery this year because there is nothing more fundamental than freedom.”

Gary A. Haugen, president of the International Justice Mission, said the coalition would focus on three initiatives: A $3.5 million intervention project to fight forced labour in India; a $4.5 million advocacy campaign in India to educate and protect the vulnerable; and a $1.8 million plan to mobilize Americans on behalf of the millions currently at risk of slavery or waiting for rescue around the world.

The remaining $1.7 million will go to several smaller organizations working to combat slavery.

“It’s hard for most Americans to believe that slavery and human trafficking are still massive problems in our world,” said Haugen. “Google’s support now makes it possible for IJM to join forces with two other leading organizations so we can bring to bear our unique strengths in a united front.”

Those leading the U.S. efforts will meet in Washington on Wednesday to kick off the joint initiative. The project will focus on improved legislation to protect vulnerable children and adults in the United States, as well as a push for more accountability and transparency in the U.S. supply chain by retailers and manufacturers to make sure their products are “slave-free.”

The trafficking of women for the sex trade is common in big American cities. Some illegal immigrants find themselves forced to work in sweatshops, in private homes as domestic servants or on farms without pay under the threat of deportation.

The new effort will launch initiatives that ordinary Americans can take to help abolish modern-day slavery, such as understanding how their own clothing or smart phones might contain fabrics or components manufactured by forced labour.

“Whether it’s by calling the national human trafficking hotline, sending a letter to their senator, or using online advocacy tools, millions of Americans will be able to use their voices to ensure that ending this problem becomes a top priority,” said Bradley Myles, executive director of Polaris Project.

Google.org — the philanthropy arm of the Silicon Valley firm — announced the anti-slavery effort as part of its $40 million in end-of-year giving that brings its charitable donations to more than $100 million in 2011. The grants will also support science, technology, engineering and math education; girls’ education in the developing world; and the use of technology for social good.

Justin Dillon, the founder of Slavery Footprint, said the Google grant would allow the movement to move from “anecdote and emotion,” to tangible action that could make a dent in history.

“Having a company like Google recognize the value of our work marks a major turning point for the anti-slavery movement,” said Dillon, whose non-profit gives consumers some tools to determine whether slaves were used in the making of their goods and teaches them to use social media to sound off about slavery and engage with corporations about their supply chains.

US decision on India regarding human trafficking questioned

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

WashingtonThe decision by Obama Administration to grant China a political waiver and India an upgrade in this year’s annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report issued by the State Department has been questioned by the a US lawmaker.

At a Congressional hearing yesterday, Congressman Chris Smith, alleged that Administration’s decisions in this regard are politically motivated as both India and China are facing problem of human trafficking, particularly sex-trafficking of women and girls.

th is the author of the landmark Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) as well as subsequent laws to make further strengthen and adapt TVPA.
In the 2008 reauthorisation of the TVPA, Congress decided that no country should be allowed to skirt sanctions on the Tier 2 Watch List for more than two years before being downgraded to Tier 3. 2011, represents the first year that the limit was put to the test.

In his remarks, Smith expressed concern about the Administration’s decision to upgrade India from the Tier 3 Watch List to a Tier 2 country. ”India was upgraded to a Tier 2 country in this report despite the fact that it has one of the largest populations of enslaved laborers in the world, and has only prosecuted and convicted a small handful of labor traffickers,” he said.

Defending the decision of the Obama Administration in this regard, the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Robert Blake, said the State Department upgraded India to Tier 2 in the 2011 TIP Report because of the government’s greater resolve combating its trafficking problem, particularly bonded labor.

Blake said, “The Government of India increased law enforcement efforts through the establishment of over 80 Anti-Human Trafficking Units, ratified the UN TIP Protocol, achieved landmark convictions against bonded labor traffickers with punishments of significant prison sentences, and increased rescue and rehabilitation efforts of thousands of trafficking victims in many parts of India.”

However Smith argued, “The most dangerous three words in that part of the world is, ‘It’s a girl’. If it’s a girl, she may be dead, or if she gets a little bit older, she may be exploited through trafficking,” said Smith, who chairs the House subcommittee that oversees human rights and co-chairs the Congressional Human Trafficking Caucus.

Blake said India’s anti-TIP efforts have continued since the publication of the 2011 TIP Report. ”At the federal level we have seen efforts by the Ministry
of Labor, which called for all state labor secretaries to appoint nodal officers to tackle forced child labor and bonded labor,” he said.

“The Ministry of Home affairs has also been instrumental in broadly recognising the anti-TIP contributions of one judge of the Mumbai court (who has taken over and cleared hundreds of sex trafficking cases and issued rehabilitation orders for 1,200 rescued women and girls) and has asked Judge Swati Chauhan to share her anti-trafficking court model widely across India,” Blake said.

Blake added, “Bonded labor remains a persistent and difficult challenge in India’s anti-trafficking agenda in all jurisdictions but in August, the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights announced a new cell to focus government efforts on the elimination of bonded labor.”

India is today one of America’s most important partners, and a large and complex democracy that is increasingly committed to stopping exploitation of vulnerable people. ”The Government of India and State governments have taken
significant steps in their anti-TIP efforts, responding both to international attention to TIP issues and India’s own robust civil society that seeks social justice and reform,” Blake said.

PTI