- The trafficking of women and children is a shocking reality in India; and one that is on the rise. Though films such as the recently released Rani Mukherjee starrer Mardaani try to highlight the horrifying realities underlying this issue, government agencies seem to be largely indifferent about it. It seems to fall to a few concerned individuals from the establishment and from non government organisations to fight against powerful crime cartels running trafficking rackets.
- Human trafficking in India encompasses kidnapping, buying and luring of women and children into prostitution rackets and sexual exploitation, bonded labour, forced marriages, domestic servants, agricultural and industrial labourers. Children and women are trafficked within the country and also from Nepal and Bangladesh. Indian women and children are often transported to the Middle East.
- Children as young as 6 months to 3 years were recovered when a in a major intestate trafficking racket was intercepted by the Haridwar police. The traffickers were found to lift small children from families who slept on railway platforms and later sell them for amounts ranging from 2 to 5 lakhs per child. Sometimes the children are sold to childless couples and at others for a range of exploitative activities. (Source – Times of India)
- Guwahati has emerged as one of the hubs of human trafficking with more than 422 victims being rescued and 281 arrests being made by the Assam police since 2011. There are several major reason why so much of trafficking occurs in the north eastern states: poverty, ethnic conflict, violence, natural disasters and so on. Typically girls are trafficked for prostitution and for forced marriages, whereas boys for cheap labour. (Source – India.com)
- Some trafficking rackets exist under the garb of spirituality, as in the case of Baba Bamdev, Ranchi based Godman who was recently arrested on charges of human trafficking. It is alleged that his Delhi-based NGO Birsa Bhagwan Tribal Welfare Society in Ranchi is a front for trafficking tribal girls from Jharkhand to Delhi as domestic labour.
- There are specific reasons why so many children are trafficked for prostitution. Small boys are trafficked for sodomy for the benefit of pedophiles. Then there is the high value placed on the female virginity in India as well as Middle Eastern nations. There is also the belief that sex with children carries negligible risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. In fact there is the erroneous belief that sex with minors, more particularly with virgins can actually cure STDs that results in children being trafficked in such large numbers. (Source – Livemint)
- Films such as Mardaani perform the valuable function of bringing about awareness of the grim reality of human trafficking in India. Another film, a documentary being made by an American educator in India looks at the grim realities of trafficking and the sex trade. Stolen Innocence is a project that delves into the realities of hotbeds of trafficking such as the beaches of Goa, brothels of Kolkata and so on.
- It is estimated that the thriving tourism industry contributes to trafficking in Goa. Tourists increase the demand for all types of sexual services, which leads to more women and children being forced into the sex trade in Goa. Statistics for the year 2009 showed that of 146 trafficking victims, as many as 33 were from Bangladesh, Nepal and even Russia. (Source – Times of India)
- This year, until August 2014, 1,554 complaints of trafficking have been noted and 1,420 people rescued. Last year, 1,343 complaints were received, and 1,125 people were rescued. Clearly this is a problem on the rise; something none of us can or should ignore.
Image source – India.com