(Un)wanted women

Unwanted Women

ASHOK KUMAR IN THE HINDU

Female foeticide is a major factor resulting in trafficking of women from across the country to Haryana for forced marriages and the situation has only been worsened by widespread unemployment and the low status accorded to women in the State, says the first-ever UN commissioned report on human trafficking in Haryana.

Most of the women brought to Haryana for forced marriages are from Assam and West Bengal and the districts of Karnal, Mewat, Rewari, Kurukshetra, Jind, Yamuna Nagar and Hisar in Haryana are the major destinations for these trafficked women, says the report titled ‘Current Status of Victim Service Providers and Criminal Justice Actors in India on Anti-Human Trafficking’, adding that the process of bridal migration was gaining momentum in the State and the sale and trafficking aspects of it needed immediate attention. In Mewat, there are many women who are being brought from States like Assam, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh and are forced to get married against their will. These girls are popularly known as “Paro”.

According to a 2004 report by non-government organisation Shakti Vahini, 100s of young girls and women are lured and sold into involuntary marriages in North India, says the report on human trafficking. They are bartered at prices that vary depending on their age, beauty and virginity and exploited under conditions that amount to a modern form of slavery. Although trafficking of women and girls has become a lucrative and expanding trade in these regions, it routinely escapes effective administrative and social sanctions and the general response is to deny the existence of any such problem.

A large number of women are also trafficked to Haryana from Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh for domestic work and are forced to work under bonded labour like conditions, according to the report. Gurgaon and Faridabad are the major destinations for the girls and women trafficked to Haryana for domestic work and a large number of them even become victims of sexual exploitation, says the report.The trafficked domestic helps, mostly minor girls, are supplied in Haryana by the placement agencies operating in Delhi and once these children land up in their employer’s house they end up in slavery. In many cases, these children become the victims of sexual exploitation at the hands of either the placement agency owner or the employer themselves. The placement agencies illegally run their business and have good links in the source areas. The agency owners bring girls from the source states with the help of their organised network and employ them as bonded labour.

Most of the victims are trafficked through railway routes and they are transited via Delhi. These women and girls are also sent to the border areas of Rajasthan from Haryana.

According to the report, the Haryana Government has initiated various schemes for the care and protection of trafficked victims and children. However, there is an absence of monitoring mechanism and minimum standards of victim care and protection and it was highlighted when the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights team detected cases of selling of infants and sexual exploitation of girls at a State-supported “Swadhar” Home in Rohtak recently.

Sounding the warning bells, the report says it may take Haryana more than 50 years to reach its natural sex ratio even if the Government ensures that not a single sex determination takes place in the State. The demand for marriageable age girls will be much more intense in the coming years and the demand met by inter-State marriages. The challenge before the State of Haryana as well as regions of Western Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan is to ensure that the bride demand is not catered to through human trafficking. The governments in these regions should ensure legislations which protect the rights of women and children, says the report.

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Cops Must Curb Honour Killings: Advocates to SC

OUTLOOK

Two noted advocates, appointed by the Supreme Court to assist it in tackling the malady of “honour killings” of young couples by ‘khap’ panchayats, has recommended a proactive role for the police and district magistrates to curb it. The key recommendation forms part of the guidelines, formulated by senior counsel Raju Ramachandran and counsel Gaurav Agrawal, apopointed by the apex court as amicus curiae to help it, to tackle the recurring social evil, often rearing its ugly head in the northern states. The two counsel has urged a bench of justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai to convert the guidelines into its directions to all states and Union territories until Parliament enacts a law on the issue. According to the guidelines, the police should play proactive role to thwart the khap (community) panchayat’s illegal diktat by providing timely help to the potential victims.

“Section 149 to 151 of the CrPC lay down the duties and powers of the police to prevent the commission of cognisable offences. The police has been empowered to arrest a person, even without a warrant, if the police officer knows of a design to commit any cognisable offence.

“In cases of Khap Panchayat, it is very necessary for the police to take timely steps so as to prevent any physical harm to the couple. Any gathering, which instigates commission of an illegal act, is an illegal gathering. It amounts to instigation to commit a crime, which may result in death of an individual.

“The State / police officials have to take preventive action / remedial action to ensure that the Fundamental Rights are protected, for which adequate powers are available in CrPC. The need is to effectively exercise those powers by the state officials,” it said.

The apex court had earlier appointed the amicus curiae while adjudicating a petition filed by NGO Shakti Vahini, which highlighted the growing phenomenon of “honour killings” and other human rights violations by extra-constitutional bodies like as khap panchayats. The report by advocates said the state governments should be directed to immediately identify districts, sub-divisions and villages which have had instances of honour killing and/ or assembly of khap panchayat in the past one year.

“The officer-in-charge of the police stations of the areas so identified should be issued directions by the district’s superintendent of police (SP) to immediately report to him if there is any instance of inter-caste marriage which comes to the notice of the local police and / or if there is any attempt by the villagers/ community to hold a khap panchayat.

“It would be the duty of the SP, as also of the district magistrate, to ensure the safety of the couple by taking such steps as may be required including, but not limited to, providing a safe house, police protection etc.

“It would be open to the SP/DM to take help of non-governmental organisations as notified by the state government,” the report said.

It said the officer in-charge/ SP may be advised to meet the self-styled decision makers of khap panchayat and reason with them that such a meeting/gathering should not be held as it is an illegal gathering and that if any decision is proposed to be taken then the police would be bound to arrest the members of khap panchayat.

“If the members of khap panchayat still plan to hold a gathering, which may cause reasonable apprehension of harm to the couple, the SP would be duty-bound to cause arrest of the members of the khap panchayat. “The Central government and the state governments as well as the National Legal Services Authority may be directed to conduct awareness programmes about the legal rights of individuals with regard to matrimonial choices,” the report added.

India’s Child Savers: The Making of…

CHANNEL -4 UK

Friday 18 November 2011 / Evan Williams

“I just want my daughter back, I just want my daughter back,” said 40-year-old Sunabhamu Begam as we sped across the Indian countryside towards the village just outside Delhi where her 16-year-old daughter, Mahinda, was held captive.

After going missing five months ago, Mahinda managed to get one phone call through to her parents. She gave them a rough description of what she could see – a large body of water and a chemists shop. Before hanging up she hurriedly ended with the words “Please Help Me”.

When Sunabhamu and her husband Chandan went to the police, they say they were asked for money before a complaint could be lodged and an investigation started. They didn’t have that money. Eventually they heard about Rishi Kant who runs an NGO in Delhi that does what the police should be doing – rescuing children. It was Rishi who finally got the police to trace the location of the number and pushed the police in this area to join the raid.

We have heard about child disappearances in India. But what caught my attention was the sheer scale. It is staggering. According to the government’s own figures up to 60,000 children go missing in India every year. Seven children a day are snatched and many are trafficked into bonded labour, prostitution, forced begging even selling drugs. If they are paid it’s a pittance, they are denied their freedom, made to work long hours and often abused. They are lost souls.

Bhuwan Ribhu, who runs an organization called Save the Childhood Movement, told us of the 117,000 children who went missing in the past two years. 41,000 remain untraced.

 This is from official figures. In the first attempt to work out the real number of missing children in India, Bhuwan has collated figures from his group’s work in rescuing large numbers of children. He believes the number of children going missing each year could be ten times higher. “Of the 1000 children we rescued in 2010 more than 900 would be construed as missing, most parents did not know where they were,” he said. They had not been listed as missing in any official figures, “So the real figure could be hundreds of thousands (of kidnapped children) – even more than a million – very year”. The Indian Government agrees there is a problem and recently set up anti-trafficking units across India.

Why so many? Well Bhuwan has worked out that because of the slave-like conditions, child labour could be worth millions of pounds each year to the Indian economy.

The booming economy has also sparked a boom in a newer form of exploitation involving the rapidly growing middle class. Tens of thousands of young girls and boys under 18 are being trafficked from rural villages to the cities such as Delhi to work as maids and domestic servants for young professional families who find they need help to run their homes and look after their children.

On one rescue with Rishi we found a 12 year old girl who had just been trafficked in to Delhi. In the same house he found five young boys around the ages of 12 and 14 also about to be sent out as domestic servants.

And there is a new terror stalking the shopping malls and streets of Delhi’s new satellite cities. New Wealth has created a new phenomenon of children being kidnapped for ransom.

Out of the many unsettling moments we witnessed, nothing prepares you for looking into the eyes of a parent with a missing child, especially one who has been taken for ransom and who has not been seen for weeks or months.

They obviously still live in hope that at any moment their child could return. But in their eyes is a terrible haunting helplessness that is simply heartbreaking.

This article relates to India’s Child Savers

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/unreported-world/articles/indias-child-savers-the-making-of

India’s Child Savers

CHANNEL-4 UK

Across India more than 60,000 children go missing every year. Unreported World explores the dark side of the booming economy, as many children are kidnapped into domestic slavery for the growing middle class and businesses, and others are kidnapped for ransom by those desperate to share some of the country’s new wealth.

In Delhi alone seven children go missing every day. Reporter Evan Williams and director James Brabazon discover that the capital has become a major destination and transit point for tens of thousands of children being trafficked into forced labour, prostitution, begging and drug running.

The team meets child saver Rishi Kant / SHAKTI VAHINI as he cajoles police into joining his rescue of a 16-year-old girl who has been abducted and sold into forced marriage near Delhi. India’s new wealth is allowing more men around the capital to buy ‘brides’ from traffickers in a booming business that seems largely unchecked by local police.

When the team asked the local police commander how big the problem was he said he didn’t know. The team and the girl’s parents are told to wait as Rishi enters a hostile area to save the girl, at one point being surrounded by 200 angry villagers opposed to her rescue.

The team later joins Bhuwan Ribhu, an activist from the Save the Childhood Movement, as his team launches a rescue in shoe and clothing factories in North Delhi.

Within 30 minutes Bhuwan and his team are leading 52 crying and frightened children out of Dickensian squalor where they had allegedly been forced to work 18-hour days for a pound a week that they had to use to buy their food.

Bhuwan tells the team that, according to police figures, almost 120,000 children were abducted in India in the past two years and the figures reveal police are investigating on 13,000 of these. He says the problem could be ten times worse than reported.

Many impoverished parents send their children with traffickers to cities on promises they will earn a living, learn a trade and get an education.

But Bhuwan says that once a child is in the hands of traffickers, in most cases they are cut off completely from their parents, not paid and forced into a life of labour and abuse. In this way, he says, consent is not informed consent and the child is by any legal definition kidnapped.

India’s booming economy is creating a new market too. Bhuwan claims thousands of children as young as 12 are now being trafficked into domestic slavery for the growing middle class in cities like Delhi.

He says the rich families pay an agency but the agency rarely pays the child, who then loses contact with their parents and is subjected to years of unpaid servitude, and in many cases abuse.

‘In and around Delhi alone there are 4000 placement agencies that have not been registered,’ Bhuwan tells the team. ‘We estimate hundreds of thousands of girls throughout the country are being used as domestic labourers, and all are minors.’

Williams and Brabazon rejoin Rishi Kant / SHAKTI VAHINI  as he launches a night raid on one of these placement agencies. Inside they find a 12-year-old girl and three boys between the ages of 12 and 14. All have just arrived, are about to be sent to their middle-class masters and are confused and frightened.

Williams and Brabazon had earlier met an 18-year-old girl who had been kept by one family for five years. She says she was never paid and had been molested and eventually raped by a man in the family.

But it’s not just trafficking that exploits the children of India’s fast-expanding cities. The team meets several families whose children have been kidnapped for ransom by neighbours or gangs desperate for some of the wealth they see around them.

While some police seem to act quickly, many of the people the team speaks to complain about a lack of police action, especially for poor parents whose children are snatched for cash. Some parents get their children back but tragically many do not, even when they pay some of the money.

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/unreported-world/episode-guide/series-2011/episode-17

 

Indian girls rescued from bride trafficking

NITA BHALLA IN TRUST LAW

NEW DELHI (TrustLaw) – Two minor girls, who were being trafficked from other parts of India to be sold as brides, have been rescued in two separate incidents by police in New Delhi, the Times of India reported on Tuesday. According to the report, a 16-year-old girl from the central region of Madhya Pradesh was sold by her uncle for 90,000 rupees ($1,800) to a truck driver whom she was forced to marry.

While in another incident, a 13-year-old girl from the eastern state of West Bengal, was trafficked to the capital and was in the process of being sold as a wife. Social workers say girls from poor regions of India are increasingly being trafficked as brides to areas where there are a declining number of women, due to the illegal but widespread practice of female foeticide.

“Recent raids have thrown light on the trafficking of girl children to Haryana – with Delhi as the transit point,” Rishikant, coordinator of a women’s charity Shakti Vahini, is quoted as saying. “Girls from Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Chandigarh are brought here with almost no scope of returning.”

http://www.trust.org/trustlaw/news/indian-girls-rescued-from-bride-trafficking

Bride trafficking: 2 minors rescued, three held

Bride trafficking: 2 minors rescued, three held
Bride trafficking: 2 minors rescued, three held

NEW DELHI: Two minor girls – brought to the capital to be sold off as brides in Haryana – have been rescued by the police in the past two weeks. Haryana has been in the news for the rampant trafficking of girl children, all thanks to its skewed sex ratio.

In the first incident, a 16-year-old girl, a native of Betul district of Madhya Pradesh, was rescued from the Jind railway station. She was found in a traumatised condition by the GRP. Her uncle, Ramesh, had sold her to Ved Prakash, a truck driver, against a payment of Rs 90,000. However, she fled from his house on October 22. She told the cops that she was married against her wishes and wanted to return to her native village. After her medical examination, the girl was given shelter at Karnal Nariniketan.

 Though the Madhya Pradesh police has arrested Ramesh, Ved Prakash is still at large. Fresh raids are being conducted in Madhya Pradesh to nab the local traffickers. In the second incident, a 13-year-old girl from Santhal in West Bengal was forcefully brought to Delhi and employed as a domestic help in Janakpuri, at the house of Nirja Bhaskar. The girl’s family had urged Nirja to let the girl return home but Nirja refused to comply. Instead, she demanded that the family cough up a sum of Rs 16,000 which she had paid to the placement agency. However, Nirja was tracked down by the NGO Shakti Vahini and the girl was rescued.

 The girl was brought to the capital by Pina Roy and Rina Hemram – both in the police net – three months back. After reaching Delhi she stayed in Sangam Vihar with Rina where she was often beaten up by Rina’s husband. She made umpteen requests to go back home but the couple employed her as a domestic help. Later, she worked somewhere else. After suffering untold misery at the hands of her new employer, she ran away to Sangam Vihar. There she came in contact with another person from Bengal who used her as a bonded labourer and was planning to sell her as a child bride.

 “Recent raids have thrown light on the trafficking of girl children to Haryana – with Delhi as the transit point. Girls from Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, Chattisgarh and Chandigarh are brought here with almost no scope of returning. We are planning a nationwide drive to address the problem,” said Rishi kant, coordinator, Shakti Vahini.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Bride-trafficking-2-minors-rescued-three-held/articleshow/10734438.cms

The Missing Girls of India

Indian girls
Image by gustaffo89 via Flickr

BY Ali Lakofsky IN THE DIPLOMACIST

India is witnessing the largest population explosion the world has ever seen. 41,000 new Indian children are born every day, and this number continues to expand exponentially. However, a growing concern for the people of India is the intense cultural preference to give birth to sons over daughters, and what is now even being considered a genocide by some human rights activists may be the cause of a major crisis much larger than India could ever imagine.

It is estimated that nearly 1 million baby girls are aborted each year in India preferential male births. In the last two decades, almost 10 million have been killed due to this phenomenon, often called foeticide or infanticide. Girls are considered a burden in Indian society, partially because of arranged marriages and the dowry that mothers must pay to the groom’s parents. The son also carries on the family name and inherits the property. Thus, girls are undesirable , leading modern Indian women to abort their female babies in order to avoid inevitable consequences. “Spend 500 rupees now and save 50,000 rupees later’’ is a common slogan used among doctors willing to perform the abortion.

Although laws exist that ban sex-based abortions, it is easy to avoid them and they are rarely enforced. India’s medical sector, which works as one of the most private systems in the world, is the ultimate culprit. It seems that doctors will do anything for a fee, and investigations against them are short-circuited by their wealth and social status, with many easily escaping charges and fines.

A recent Indian government census revealed that there were 795 women for every 1000 men in the rural city of Punjab. The statistics were no less surprising in the more upscale city of South Dehli. An estimated 60 million girls are now “missing,” leading India to fall into a detrimental black hole which analysts fear there will be no return. Men at marrying age are finding themselves without potential wives. Missing Indian girls has also lead to greater sex trafficking for the purpose of marriage and prostitution. The issue has also become prominent factor in politics, especially at the local level.. Candidates running for office pledge to “help provide more girls” if and when elected. ”We’re losing the battle,” said Ravi Kant​, executive director of Shakti Vahini, an anti-female-foeticide organization that tries to assist trafficked women. “It is in every village. The police are saying these families are doing nothing wrong. There’s collusion between the law and the politicians, and it’s destroying the whole social fabric.”

Efforts continue to be made to end the female foeticide crisis, such as the Global Walk for India’s Missing Girls and the soon-to-be-released film, “Petals in the Dust, but how long will the problem remain status quo before it’s simply too late?

SOURCE: http://www.diplomacist.org/archives/577

Assam girl rescued from Jind village

Assam girl rescued from Jind village
Assam girl rescued from Jind village

THE TRIBUNE CHANDIGARH / Jind, October 5

The local police has rescued an 18-year-old Assam girl from Shahpur village in the district. The rescue followed after the police was told that the girl had been a victim of human trafficking and sold for forced marriage. The victim has been found pregnant.

“The girl was abducted from Kamroop in Assam five months ago on pretext of a job but was sold to a person from Nidana village in the district for Rs 25,000 after three weeks of stay in Delhi,” claimed Rishi Kant , spokesperson of Shakti Vahini, an NGO, which played an instrumental role in tracking the victim and coordinating with her family members.

Claiming that it was one of the several cases of human trafficking that took place in the state, he said majority of the victims were poor and unable to communicate in the local dialect

Alleging that two persons, Raju and Rahul, were the main accused in the case who brought the girl to Delhi and then to Haryana, Rishi Kant said the victim was sold again a few weeks back to another resident of Shahpur village for Rs 60,000. The girl was rescued from a house of Nawab of Shahpur on Monday night after the NGO informed the police. The person who was keeping her in the house as his wife, however, managed to escape. She will be soon handed over to her family after some legal formalities, the police said.

A TOKEN OF APPRECIATION FROM MIZORAM POLICE

 Mr Joseph Lalchhuana SP CID Crime and Nodal Officer, Anti Human Trafficking,  Mizoram presenting a momento to Rishi Kant of Shakti Vahini for a succesful joint operation in which seven people involved in Human Trafficking  were arrested and a minor victim rescued
Mr Joseph Lalchhuana SP CID Crime and Nodal Officer, Anti Human Trafficking, Mizoram presenting a momento to Rishi Kant of Shakti Vahini for a succesful joint operation in which seven people involved in Human Trafficking were arrested and a minor victim rescued

 

 Mr Joseph Lalchhuana SP CID Crime and Nodal Officer, Anti Human Trafficking,  Mizoram presenting a momento to Rishi Kant of Shakti Vahini for a succesful joint operation in which seven people involved in Human Trafficking  were arrested and a minor victim rescued.