Minor among eight girls rescued from an ‘almirah’ in brothel

express newsPUBLISHED IN THE INDIAN EXPRESS

Eight girls, including a minor, were rescued from a brothel on GB Road in a joint operation by the Delhi Police and NGO Shakti Vahini on Saturday.

Senior police officers said a woman identified as Padma has been arrested. The girls, who are from West Bengal, were allegedly trafficked to Delhi after being lured on the pretext of marriage.

The Delhi Police confirmed the raid and said the girls were hidden in a “hollowed out almirah”. “They were hidden in an almirah which had been modified to make a hiding place. Seven girls have been sent to Nari Niketan, while the minor girl has been sent to a protection home,” an officer said.

Rishi Kant of Shakti Vahini said, “The father of one of the girls, who is a minor, contacted us and said his daughter was being forced into the sex trade at a brothel on GB Road. Last week, we raided the place, but could not find his daughter. However, she found a way to get a message to him that she had seen him there, but could not reach out to him out of fear. When we raided the brothel again, we found her, as well as seven other girls, who are above 18 years of age.”

“We will write to the DGP, West Bengal, and the Ministry of Home Affairs to ask for an enquiry into the trafficking of women from West Bengal,” Kant said.

4 held for flesh trade, 7 cops suspended

cop suspended

Siddhartha Gupta in The Indian Express

Delhi Police arrested four persons on charges of trafficking a 14-year-old girl from West Bengal to Delhi and forcing her into prostitution. Police have suspended seven personnel — a sub-inspector, a head constable and five constables — posted at Kamla Market police station for “dereliction of duty”.

According to police, the victim alleged in her complaint that after being brought to Delhi, she was locked up in a room in an unidentified place for five days.

She was then moved to a house in Dilshad Garden, where a couple, among the four accused, lived.

She was confined there for over 20 days and forced into prostitution. In her complaint, she claimed she was assaulted with knives when she refused to do the couple’s bidding.

According to police sources, she was then transferred to a brothel on GB Road on November 4, from where she was removed after a police raid in the area.

The brothel operator has also been arrested.

The girl was then moved to a house in Wazirabad, where she lived with the fourth accused, till she was rescued on November 20. At Wazirabad, the victim said she was again forced into prostitution.

Sources said police had conducted a raid on two brothels on November 15 after receiving information about the missing girl.

They were also accompanied by the NGO Shakti Vahini, the Bengal police and the girl’s parents.

An investigation is on to trace others involved in trafficking the girl.

A case has been registered against the four accused at Kamla Market police station under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Protection Of Children From Sexual Offences Act, Juvenile Justice Act and the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act.

The girl has been produced before the Child Welfare Committee, which has sent her to a shelter for children.

New hope for human trafficking victims as Delhi High Court rides to the rescue

MAIL TODAY

At 19, when most girls of her age would be busy getting admission to colleges to begin a new chapter in their lives, she was being raped day and night.

article-2478505-190B835200000578-913_634x482Confined in a hellhole – a small cavity inside a wall in a nondescript part of the Capital’s brothel on G.B. Road – the 19-year-old, who was trafficked from West Bengal, was continuously gang-raped by more than a dozen men.

Thanks to the efforts of an NGO, the girl was rescued and reunited with her family in

While her ordeal had failed to move the Delhi Police – who initially, did not even see fit to register a gang-rape case – her plight somehow rocked the Delhi High Court and the state government out of their slumber.

The court, taking suo motu cognizance of media reports, directed the Delhi government to look into the plight of trafficked women.

Now the state government has come up with a detailed rehabilitation policy for victims of human trafficking.

In an affidavit submitted before the high court, the state has revealed its decision to introduce certain standards for the “safety and dignity of inmates” in state-run homes as well as those managed by the civil society.

The new model, based on one already in place in Andhra Pradesh following a SC order, for combating trafficking of women and children for commercial sexual exploitation, is being introduced after the High Court took a strong exception to the government’s failure to curb instances of trafficking and to rehabilitate the victims.

Indicting the Delhi government in September, the High Court had directed the state government to adopt minimum standards of care for victims of trafficking.

The new model, based on one already in place in Andhra Pradesh following a SC order, for combating trafficking of women and children for commercial sexual exploitation, is being introduced after the High Court took a strong exception to the government’s failure to curb instances of trafficking and to rehabilitate the victims.

Indicting the Delhi government in September, the High Court had directed the state government to adopt minimum standards of care for victims of trafficking.

In a welcome change, the new plan stresses on protection and social re-integration of victims with special care for their health, nutrition, provision life skills and care for their children, if any.

29Fir05revised.qxpTo begin with the government has decided to improve the current condition of shelter homes. From now on, all such shelters for rehabilitating trafficking victims will be located in residential areas to be integrated with local settings.

To ensure a conducive environment, the state has said that while these homes will have round-the-clock security arrangements, and will not be “custodial in nature.”

Special arrangements will also be made to provide for the care of inmates who are “ill, HIV positive, disabled or pregnant.”

The plan also prescribes set eligibility criteria for the staff at such homes. As per the new plan, all staff members will be recruited only after a screening process. The head of such homes will have to have a postgraduate degree and counsellors with masters degrees in social work and psychology, with special training on trauma care, will be recruited on a full-time basis.The inmates will also be given access to free legal aid services, education, and life skill classes, and their children will be provided with state-sponsored education.

The High Court is likely to take cognisance of the new plan on November 27 this year, the next date of hearing in the matter.

More suffering awaits the rescued

2index.phpTHE HINDU

For three months, 18-year-old Geeta (name changed), who was kidnapped from her village in West Bengal and brought to the Capital, was confined to a small room in a brothel at G.B. Road and was repeatedly ‘raped’ by over a dozen men every day. Her trauma only ended after a client turned Good Samaritan and helped her escape.

Geeta was just like one of the hundreds of girls in the area who are kept as bonded labour with the only contact to the outside world being their customers.

“I still remember the day I was rescued. A Nepali girl and I were stuffed into a small tunnel in the terrace when the police conducted a raid. I was terrified and the police had to break down three tunnels before they found us. But my suffering is far from over,” said Geeta, sitting in The Hindu ’s office in Delhi earlier this week flanked by her aged father and brother.

“Geeta comes from a low-income group family and immediately after she was rescued, she was taken to Nari Niketan and ever since her father and brother have been forced to make frequent trips to Delhi for various police and court-related actions. The government pays only for the travel/stay of the victim, but Geeta cannot come to Delhi alone,” said Ravi Kant of non-government organisation Shakti Vahini, which works in the area of anti-trafficking. The group also worked with Geeta’s parents and the police and helped in her rescue.

“It is only because of the sustained work of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and our initiative that the family has been able to come to Delhi and fight the case through this complex legal system,” added Mr. Kant.

While the government and police work well for the rescue of the victims, the follow-up is poor. “Most of the girls who are kidnapped and pushed into the flesh trade are from poor families, that have little access and means to sustain a legal battle to ensure that the kidnappers and brothel owners are brought to justice. They are fighting a system which is well-established, is riddled with corruption and in which information given to the victim is scant,” rued Mr. Kant.

Geeta, who is still coming to terms with the recent events and her ‘lucky escape’, said: “The brothel owners always kept us under a strict regime and there was absolutely no freedom. I cannot forget this episode; it has ruined my family. But now I am keen to finish my education and get a good job.”

“But not many are as lucky as Geeta,” said Rajesh Bhardawaj, who works with sex workers through non-government organisation Bhartiya Patita Uddhar Sabha . “The women here are kept in the most unhygienic conditions and often come to us with skin problems, infections, injury marks, substance dependence and drug abuse problems. There is also no data available about their mental and emotional well-being. They are never tested for lifestyle diseases (with most having no access to a balanced diet, adequate rest and exercise) and sexually transmitted diseases for the fear of stigma and loss of business and livelihood. Their children are almost always sent away from the area by the age of three to five.”

Meanwhile, a brothel owner, Salman (name changed), who has been working and living in the area for the past four decades, too complained about the conditions in the area. “Crime and abuse is rampant in the area and the rights of the sex workers are undercut using corruption and exploitation. The government is not serious about the welfare of these women and that is the only reason this abuse continues unabated. Finish GB Road culture or legalise the trade – that is the only way to save these women.”

Rs 1L damages given to raped minor’s father

TIMES OF INDIA

GURGAON: The district administration on Friday presented a cheque for Rs 1 lakh to the victim’s father as compensation for the rape of a six-year-old girl. The unprecedented development came as Gurgaon police arrested one more man who had also allegedly raped the abducted minor girl in the city on Thursday evening. This meant the girl was gang-raped.

The NGO Shakti Vahini, which runs Childline in Gurgaon, lashed out at the administration for announcing the compensation, terming it a ‘populist measure’. Cops produced the man arrested on Friday and the one arrested on Thursday for the rape in a city court, which sent the two in judicial custody. Meanwhile, the victim, who was admitted in the Civil Hospital in an unconscious state, is under observation.

On Thursday evening, 18-year-old Chotu Ravidas, native of Bihar, who was also living in rented accommodation and working as labourer had abducted the daughter of a rickshaw-puller with the help of one Naresh and the two raped her in his room. Chotu Ravidas was caught after his neighbours raised an alarm while Naresh was caught on Friday. The girl was admitted in the Civil Hospital in an unconscious state. Naresh confessed to police that they had gang-raped the girl.

On Friday a team from the child welfare department went to the Civil Hospital and provided a cheque of Rs 1 lakh from the district administration as financial help for the victim. A senior police officer said that according to the doctors tending her, the girl would be discharged in two or three days. In the hospital, the victim’s father, who was very upset, said: “I want death penalty for the accused”.

Meanwhile, the Janwadi Mahil Morcha submitted a memorandum to DC P C Meena condemning the gangrape. Ravi Kant, Shakti Vahini president, said, “Giving compensation is a knee-jerk reaction of the government which is entirely for cheap publicity on the handling of rape cases. A Childline spokesperson added that they would monitor the case further.

Minor molested by home caretaker

Minor molested by home caretaker

THE HINDU

The caretaker of a child care home has been arrested for allegedly molesting a minor at Inderpuri in South West Delhi. The accused is a native of Uttar Pradesh. Besides working as a caretaker, the accused also looked after the cattleshed at the child care home. The victim, who worked there and assisted the accused in taking care of the cattleshed, was molested continuously by the caretaker.

When the victim could not take the torture any more, she started working elsewhere. However, the accused did not leave her alone even at her new workplace. He visited there regularly and continued to harass her physically and mentally.The victim then brought the matter to the notice of a Non-Government Organisation, which reported the case to the Child Welfare Committee (CWC). Taking cognizance of the matter, the CWC launched an inquiry. Based on the findings of the inquiry it conducted, the CWC directed the police to register a case. Following this, a case was registered under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code and the accused was subsequently arrested on Friday. Investigation in the case is on, according to the police.

‘Anti-child labour cells need support’

‘Anti-child labour cells need support’
‘Anti-child labour cells need support’

INDRANI BASU IN THE TIMES OF INDIA

NEW DELHI: Anti-child labour laws and their strict implementation have not been able to contain the problem of child trafficking in the city. Children are still being trafficked from states like West Bengal, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Assam to work in factories and households in inhuman conditions.

Industrial estates like Okhla, Wazirpur and Jhilmil Colony see a number of such children steadily working when they are guaranteed free education under the Right to Education Act.

While Delhi Police’s anti-human trafficking cell is over a year old now, and has helped rescue child labourers, there are several areas that need to be worked upon.

Ravi Kant, Supreme Court advocate who is conducting a study on several such cells in Delhi and across the country said, “There is no convergence between the ministry of women and child welfare and these cells and both agencies are working in isolation. The ministry needs to support the work of the police.” Kant’s study will form the India Country Assessment Report for the ministry of home affairs.

“While district level sensitization is going on, the justice delivery system needs to be strengthened. The legal aid system does not properly support the victims right now as the victims have to travel between states and testify in a court. While the travel expenditure is taken care of by the court, the state does nothing to ensure their accommodation,” he said. Many times, the victims and their families do not show up in court due to social stigma. “There is need to conduct these cases over video conferencing to encourage victims to testify. Right now, employers are not getting convicted in a lot of cases because of this,” he added.

Activists also say that the creation of these cells have helped the process of rescue of child labourers. Till April-end this year, 34 cases of child labour have been reported and 149 such children rescued. In 2011, 135 cases were reported and 1,144 children rescued.

Activists say that responsive nodal officers have helped them crack down on employers faster. Increase in registration of cases of missing children is a positive step in this regard. “Each of these state cells are given Rs 35 lakhs per year and a jeep to help them in raids. Video cameras have been provided by MHA for detailed recording of these rescue operations,” said Rishi Kant of NGO Shakti Vahini.

Currently, the cell in each district is headed by one inspector with sufficient number of upper subordinates and supporting staff. “In case of any organized trafficking racket that comes to notice, instructions are that the probe of that case shall be transferred to Anti-Kidnapping section of the Crime Branch for further necessary action,” explained a senior police officer.

While 33 persons – including 22 women – have been arrested under the immoral trafficking (prevention) act already this year, 121 such persons were arrested last year

 INDRANI BASU IN THE TIMES OF INDIA

Girl rescued from brothel returns from Bengal to depose before court

Girl rescued from brothel returns from Bengal to depose before court
Girl rescued from brothel returns from Bengal to depose before court

DEVESH PANDEY IN THE HINDU

Almost two years after being rescued from a red-light area of the Capital, where she was sold to a brothel owner by human traffickers, a minor girl has travelled all the way back from West Bengal to seek justice for the physical and mental torture she was subjected to. Unlike a large number of human trafficking victims, who after being rescued go missing, the girl has come back to depose before a city court as a witness, hoping to see the culprits behind bars.

Vishakha (name changed) also plans to move a public interest litigation in the Supreme Court seeking directions for making mandatory the examination of all the victims like her through video-conferencing, so that they are not made to come in person from far off places to testify in court. “The victim will also approach the apex court for compensation to all victims of sex trafficking. As of now, there is no detailed guideline for compensation in such cases,” said her lawyer Ravi Kant.

The girl who was kidnapped from South 24 Parganas is still living under the threat of being targeted by her kidnappers. “A few days ago, they pelted stones at my house late at night to scare us. My father then lodged a complaint with the local police seeking action against them. They have been regularly issuing threats to me and my family. We are constantly living in terror, because of which I seldom venture out and am unable to even resume my studies. In fact, we have put a photograph of the lady police inspector, who had rescued me, in our house to ward off the traffickers,” said Vishakha.

It was in July 2010 that Vishakha was kidnapped by two acquaintances of one of her friends. “I went out along with my friend to a fair, where two young men joined us. We then went to her residence, where I was kept in confinement and the next day I was forced to board a Delhi-bound train at the Howrah railway station. They took me to the red-light area and handed me over to a woman, who tortured me physically when I refused to comply with her demands,” she alleged. The girl was then raped several times.

Vishakha’s plight only came to light after she narrated her woes to a client requesting him to contact her family. “He informed my parents regarding my whereabouts, following which they contacted the Kamla Market police station,” said the victim. Back home, her parents had already got an abduction case registered.

“The area Station House Officer immediately formed a team and rescued the girl. The brothel owner and another female accused were subsequently arrested. While both the accused are now out on bail, the male accused still remains at large,” said a representative of non-government organisation Shakti Vahini, which was also involved in the operation.

Recounting the harrowing experience, the girl said soon after being rescued from “hell”, she landed up at a shelter home where she was ill-treated by the staff. “A woman officer would scold me often without reason. Apparently they did not have enough plates, because of which three or four of us had to eat in the same plate. We were made to cook food ourselves; the rice provided to us was all rotten and there was not enough water for the inmates,” she alleged.

“In most cases, after a brief stay at shelter homes, the victims are sent back to their family without any State support and they are left on their own to suffer. Most States have no rehabilitation and compensation scheme in place and many victims, a large number of them minors, who have suffered grave fundamental rights violations are left on their own,” said Mr. Kant.

Incidentally, in reply to a question raised by Rajya Sabha MP Upendra Kushwaha, the Union Home Ministry on Wednesday informed that seven girls had been rescued from the red-light area of G.B. Road and eight persons arrested in 2010, 26 victims rescued and 16 arrested in 2011 and 15 girls rescued and four accused arrested so far this year.

Plans to move a PIL for making the examination of all the victims like her through video conferencing mandatory

DEVESH PANDEY IN THE HINDU

Delhi doctor couple denied bail in maid abuse case

THE HINDU – PTI – APRIL 3, 2012

A doctor couple, who had gone on a vacation to Thailand, allegedly leaving their 13-year-old maid locked-up and starving in their flat at Dwarka in South West Delhi, was on Tuesday denied anticipatory bail by a court in Delhi.

“Anticipatory bail plea dismissed,” Additional District Judge I.S. Mehta said, declining the relief to Dr. Sanjay Verma and his wife Sumita, against whom look-out notices were issued on April 2, 2012 by the Delhi Police. The anticipatory bail plea made on behalf of the couple, wanted by the police for allegedly employing a child below 14 years of age and exploiting her, contended that the section 26 (exploitation of juvenile or child employee) of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000, is not applicable to them.

Appearing for the doctor couple, their counsel told the court that his clients were to return to India on March 31, 2012. A.K. Singh, counsel for Shakti Vahini, a child rights society, which was first informed about the underage domestic aide’s plight and which took up the matter with police, sought to refute the missing doctor couple’s submission. Mr. Singh said the doctor couple has already arrived in Delhi. He sided with the prosecution counsel in opposing the couple’s anticipatory bail plea saying the couple had locked up the minor maid inside their Dwarka flat and left for Bangkok with their daughter on March 25, 2012.

He said the girl could be rescued five days later on March 30, 2012 only after neighbours saw her crying in the flat’s balcony. The girl, who hails from Jharkhand, was taken to the DDU Hospital where doctors said she was on the verge of starvation. The doctor couple had left for Thailand after locking her up and leaving food and water that lasted only for two days, the police had alleged. The police had lodged an FIR against them under the Juvenile Justice Act, Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act and section 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) of IPC.

The girl had also complained to Child Welfare Committee that she was beaten up by the couple for mistakes and was not paid for her services.

Rising demand for helps has led to increase in trafficking of girls

Rising demand for helps has led to increase in trafficking of girls
Rising demand for helps has led to increase in trafficking of girls

HINDUSTAN TIMES

NEW DELHI: The rescue of the 13year-old girl working as a domestic help, has once again highlighted the increasing incidents of trafficking of minor girls to be employed as domestic helps. In this case too, the victim was brought to Delhi from Gumla district in Jharkhand by her uncle’s friend.

“I was brought to Delhi by one Mahadev, who knew my uncle Narayan Sahu. Mahadev handed me over to one Mukesh, owner of a placement agency in Punjabi Bagh. Mukesh asked me to work at a flat in Dwarka,” the victim said in her statement. Police said the trafficking of minor girls had increased since there was a huge demand for domestic helps in Delhi and the NCR. Organised gangs bring minors from Jharkhand and West Bengal and later sell them to placement agencies in Delhi, the police said. There are 2,300 placement agencies in Delhi out of which 325 are registered under the Commercial Establishment Act.

This registration is not mandatory, so not many get themselves registered. “A number of these placement agencies are in Shakurpur in northwest Delhi,” a senior police officer said. Officials of Delhi government’s labour department said that more than 1,000 juveniles — both boys and girls — are rescued from different areas working in different occupations by the government’s task force every year. And the number is only increasing.

“There is an increase in the number every year because there is greater awareness among people that kids should not work and such people inform the police and other departments if they come across such a case. Also, our list now incudes more occupations, in which juveniles are prohibited, and hence our catchment area has increased,” a senior labour department official said.

The official said that each district in Delhi had a task force.

“Kids who are rescued are rehabilitated and repatriated to the home district,” the officer said.“but the unfortunate part is that parents send their kids to work due to their poor financial condition. There have been innumerable examples where parents have sent them back to work again,” the official added.