Rehabilitation of trafficked children proving to be a challenge

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Inadequate resources, lack of trained personnel including quality counsellors, and ways to mitigate final compensation to the victims are some of the major hurdles that the rehabilitation process faces.

The rehabilitation of trafficked children is proving to be a major challenge for Child Welfare Committees (CWCs), Child Care Institutes (CCIs) and non-governmental organisations working for child welfare and protection across the country. Inadequate resources and techniques, lack of trained personnel including quality counsellors, and ways to mitigate final compensation to the victims of child trafficking are some of the major hurdles that the rehabilitation process faces.

A spurt of over 25% in cases of child trafficking in India since 2015 has put the total number of trafficked children and women in 2016 at 20,000. This has raised questions on the functioning of CCIs and CWCs. CWCs are the district level bodies established by the Central government under the Juvenile Justice Act, and are the sole and final authority for the treatment and rehabilitation of children in need of care and protection. CCIs come under the state governments.

SUPERVISION-NEEDED

The law makes it mandatory for each CWC to inspect the CCIs at least once every month. However, according to Rishi Kant, president of NGO Shakti Vahini, no such monitoring happens. “Inside Delhi’s Naari Niketan, the Delhi Commission for Women chief had to step in to stop the mistreatment of inmates. So what are the regular inspection units doing? There is no system of checks and balances even inside the shelters,” he said.

Meenakshi Ganguly of HAQ, Centre for Child Rights, reiterated the sentiment, saying that while laws regarding inspection are in place, they are not followed in many states.

However, realising the need to ensure effective supervision of CCIs, the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) has passed an order asking the members to conduct regular inspection of CCIs, parks and other child related institutions, Ramesh Negi, chairperson of DCPCR told The Sunday Guardian.

Secondly, arrangements for the final rehabilitation of the children (once parents or guardians of the child are identified and verified) by CWCs are ineffective. Junaid Khan, programme director, Bachpan Bachao Andolan, told this newspaper that the NGOs that step in to rehabilitate the trafficked child and the CWC are divided on bearing the cost to escort the children back home. “There are cases when parents are not able to come to the city where the child is sheltered. In such cases, there is no clarity as to who will bear the cost of transportation. While the Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD) has made arrangements asking a battalion of armed constables to accompany the child, lacunae still exist,” he told this newspaper. Some NGOs have observed that a lot of the children are re-trafficked from their homes.

Third, most of the government-run CCIs have a capacity of 100 people, but keep around 300 children who have access to only limited resources. Rishi Kant argued that the government-run protection homes cannot deny taking children, and that is why the police always end up sending them there, irrespective of the space there is to accommodate children.

However, Rita Singh, member of DCPCR, said, “Hundreds of trafficked children are recovered every day. Where else do you expect us to send them off? There are only three government-run CCIs for girl children in Delhi—Nirmal Chaya, Sanskar Ashram and Kilkari. Our priority is to give these children immediate shelter with the limited resources we have.”

LACK OF TRAUMA COUNSELLORS

The Juvenile Justice Act mandates that a psychologist/counsellor be assigned to look after the trafficked children for their social and mental reintegration. However, most of the times, either the CCIs do not have any qualified counsellors, or it is the police that dons the hat of the counsellor. This, NGOs say, is unacceptable since the practice is not only illegal, but the police also does not know how to counsel a child.

“The problem is that the state or the Central government doesn’t provide funding to the Child Care Institutions. The CCIs can apply for a grant under ICPS (Integrated Child Protection scheme), but a qualified counsellor cannot be hired from the amount they receive,” Junaid Khan said.

However, Khan added that the Department of Women and Child Development is taking help from NGOs like Sun Chetan and Sarthak, to provide counselling support to CCIs.

NO VICTIM COMPENSATION

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Under the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act and the revised Rehabilitation of Bonded Labour scheme, victims of child trafficking are entitled to a compensation of Rs 1 lakh to Rs 3 lakh. The compensation, which, was a meagre Rs 20,000 until 2016, has been increased under the Central Sector Scheme for the Rehabilitation of Bonded Labour.

“Under the revised scheme, a state’s Labour Department would be as much involved as the Centre. Routing of proposals and release of funds received from the district administration will happen through the state machinery,” Khan said. “But instances of victims actually receiving the compensation are low. The districts do not have enough funds. We are planning to file an RTI to know how much funds districts have and how much of it has been used for victim compensation.”

The cases where a child manages to get his dues are the ones where his/her employer is involved. Under the Minimum Wages Act, the CWCs send an order to the child’s employer, who has to pay the dues and an additional fine. The amount is deposited in the child’s bank account opened by the CWCs, and can be accessed by the child when he turns 18.

“The process is a mess. The cheques that reach the Child Labour Department under the Bonded Labour Scheme keep piling up, without being cleared. Certain cases go to the Supreme Court, which has a separate pool of funds. The compensation is successfully given in such cases, but not everybody has the time or the resources to go to court,” said Sushma Vij, chairperson of Child Welfare Committee, Mayur Vihar.

Many a time, the victims do not know that they are entitled to any compensation. “Uneducated victims and parents are unaware. Since the child cannot contract the compensation before the age of 18, he and his parents give up in the middle of the whole process. More often than not, implementation agencies are not proactive,” said Supreme Court lawyer Vijay Dalmia.

INITIATIVES AND ORDERS

Yet, there is a silver lining. The National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has recently released a handbook on skill development and counselling of staff of child care institutes.

Likewise, the DCPCR, which suo motu monitors cases of child trafficking, has asked the authorities to identify vulnerable areas that have reported the maximum cases of missing or trafficked children.

“We are planning to involve district magistrates, SDMs, and senior officers of the Delhi Police to identify these areas,” Ramesh Negi said.

Recently, the Delhi High Court has issued an order to the state government and to the Department of Women and Child Development, enquiring about the gap in the services being provided to children in CCIs, mostly due to lack of quality staff.

According to Khan, the District Child Protection Units (DCPUs), which are monitored by CWCs, are conducting a survey to gauge the gap between the services being provided to children.

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Didi used CCTVs to record my every move, fed me after seeing footage, says ‘torture’ victim

By The Indian Express:

The child, employed as a domestic help in Faridabad over the last three years, was rescued Wednesday when she attempted to climb into the neighbor's balcony to escape further torture.

“One time, in anger, didi took off all my clothes and threw hot water from the geyser on my back. Didi hit me on the head with a rolling pin and split it open. She hit me on my hand with loha (iron) or the rolling pin. She tied my hands behind my back with the doggy belt and my legs with a chunni. Then she tied a polythene on my mouth to stop me from breathing.” This is the statement of a 13-year-old domestic help to the Haryana State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

The child, employed as a domestic help in Faridabad over the last three years, was rescued Wednesday when she attempted to climb into the neighbour’s balcony to escape further torture. She fell off and landed on the balcony of an empty flat below. She was rescued five hours late after her employer alerted guards, police said.

The child came to Faridabad from Patna in 2014, and started working as a domestic help at the flat of 22-year-old Sneha Yadav, an engineering student at Manav Rachna University. Sneha was granted bail by a district court on Friday. The girl’s parents, who reached Delhi on Thursday, work in the mines of Sneha’s father, Sanjay Yadav, in Patna. They hadn’t seen their daughter for the last three years — a period during which she was allegedly tortured and beaten.

The alleged ordeal inside house C-1101, however, remained hidden from residents of Kanishka Towers in Faridabad’s Sector 34. The flat is located on the top floor, and only two of the five other flats in the tower are occupied.

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Officials from the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights at the building in Faridabad. (Express Photo)

“She (Sneha) never seemed interested in interacting, so we did not make an effort either. We never heard anything from the flat, but that could be because the child’s screams were muffled,” said a resident who did not wish to be named.

However, another resident claimed, “Supervisors and guards knew about it, and they tried to convince the woman to stop troubling the girl. Apparently, she promised to send her back to Patna, so they dropped the matter.”

Narender Kumar Sharma, executive member of the residents’ welfare association, said, “Sneha kept to herself. Nobody from here has been to her flat.” While the guards refused to comment, the supervisor, Devender, said, “We do not interfere in what happens in residents’ homes. I didn’t know this was going on, nor did anyone approach me.”
Although the child was often seen walking her employer’s dog or going to buy groceries, nobody had spoken to her. “I noticed injury marks on her hand once, but didn’t ask her about it,” said an employee at a local shop.

In her statement to the State Commission, the child said, “If I ever spoke to anyone while coming or going from the lift, she (Sneha) would get angry.” Unable to confide in anyone, she spent the day doing “all the housework, cooking food, sweeping, mopping, washing dishes, washing clothes, bathing the dog and combing its fur”.

In her statement, she also said that “there were cameras all over didi’s house”. “She would check the cameras every evening, see what work had been done. Only after that would she give me food,” the girl said.

Police sources said a lot of the footage from the cameras is missing. Commissioner of Police Hanif Qureshi said, “The footage the cameras may or may not have captured is a matter of investigation.”

Recalling her escape bid, the child stated: “That day, didi had been hitting me since night. My head had been spinning since morning but she forced me to work. When she was in the bathroom, I decided to jump from the 11th floor and run away. But she saw me and grabbed my hand. I slipped and fell on the 10th-floor balcony.”

She was rescued by residents, who took her to the police station, and then to the Child Welfare Committee. While Faridabad Police is preparing to challenge the accused’s bail order in a sessions court, the girl has been admitted to a hospital. She has also been put under police protection so that she is not coerced into changing her statement.

“The child is in desperate need of medical attention. We will not hand over her custody to her parents. This appears to be a case of bonded labour, and they were the ones who put her into it,” Bal Krishan Goel, a member of the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, said.

Bengal girl escapes traffickers’ clutches

By DNA:

The 16-year-old had been abducted a month ago and was about to be forced into prostitution; she was re-united with her family on Eid

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This Eid has turned out to be nothing less than miraculous for a West Bengal family that was reunited with their 16-year-old daughter Nazia (name changed), over a month after she went missing from home.

Nazia was abducted by some local men in 24 Parganas district. The month of horrors saw the young girl face torture, sexual harassment, starvation, and the dreadful possibility of being forced into prostitution.

But showing commendable courage, the teen managed to escape the clutches of her tormentors.

“She was trapped by the lure of a better future. Some local men abducted her from near her school and took her to Mumbai. She was assaulted, left to starve, and was about to be pushed into prostitution. But now, she has been saved and has returned home on the occasion of Eid,” Rishikant from NGO Shakti Vahini said.

Nazia had been confined to a flat on the first-floor in outer Delhi.

The entire episode came to light last week, when she jumped off a window. She injured her leg in the process but still kept running.

After a few meters, she bumped into a stranger and pleaded for help. She then called her father from his phone, who immediately alerted a senior police officer and the girl’s rescue was initiated without delay.

The matter was then brought to the notice of Delhi Police and NGO Shakti Vahini, after which the premises were raided. Another girl, who was abducted from Haryana, was also recovered from there. Recalling her ordeal, Nazia told the police that after her abduction, she was taken to Mumbai, where she was employed as a bar dancer. She was then brought to Delhi and was soon to be shifted to GB Road.

A case under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 363 (punishment for kidnapping) and 365 (kidnapping or abducting with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine person) has been registered.

Counselling sessions will be arranged for both girls to help them overcome the trauma and lead normal lives, an officer said.

Woman trafficked from Assam rescued

By The Hindu:

A 35-year-old woman, who was allegedly trafficked from Assam after being promised a job in a private company, was rescued from a flat at Unitech Residency in Sector 33 here.

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The woman was working as a domestic help in the flat. She had allegedly not been paid her dues and was also not allowed to step outside the house. She has also accused her employer of not giving her enough food.

No legal action

SHO, Sadar Bazar, Inspector Vijay Yadav said no case has been registered in this regard since the woman refused to initiate legal action against her employer or the placement agency.

The woman was rescued on August 18 after Shakti Vahini, an NGO working for trafficked women, received information from Seema Suraksha Bal in Assam that a resident of Chirang district was taken to Gurugram and held captive in a house. The woman had purportedly called her family to tell them she was in Gurugram, but could not give the complete address. She had borrowed a phone from someone in the housing society to make the call. The NGO then contacted the police, which mounted technical surveillance and rescued the woman.

Salary Reduced

“The woman told our counsellor that an acquaintance in Assam had lured her with a job offer in Delhi and put her in touch with one Puja. Once she was in Delhi, Puja told her that she would be given a job in a company as a sweeper, but instead placed her as a domestic help. Puja took ₹25,000 from the employer as commission. Her salary was fixed at ₹7,000 per month, but for two months, she was paid only ₹5,000,” said Nazish from Shakti Vahini.

The police summoned Puja, who runs a placement agency at Kotla Mubarakpur in Delhi, but was let off after the victim refused to pursue legal action in the case. The woman has been moved to a shelter home in Delhi and her family has been informed.

 

Business of prostitution an organized crime: Court

By TOI:

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A special court here has held that running brothels or prostitution business and procuring girls with the obvious intent of monetary gain forms part of a “continuing unlawful activity,” which is at the core of an organized crime committed either individually or as member of an organized crime syndicate.

Special judge J T Utpat upheld in a recent order the city police’s move to invoke the stringent provisions of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against Jayashree alias Kalyani Deshpande, an alleged sex racket operator. Deshpande was arrested after a sex racket was busted in Bhusari colony , a residential area in Kothrud in July last year. Deshpande’s aide was arrested after that and three girls were rescued from the premises.

In October last year, the police invoked MCOCA charges against Deshpande, and she is since lodged in judicial custody at Yerawada jail.

The court rejected her plea seeking discharge from the MCOCA offence and transfer of the case to a special court for Prevention of Immoral Traffic Act (PITA) offences. “We will move an appeal in the high court against the trial court’s order,” her lawyer Vidyadhar Koshe told TOI on Saturday .

Deshpande had argued that she had neither committed any organized crime nor was a member of an organized syndicate with a history of violence linked with monetary gain.

The cases against her were for offences under the PITA, which is a code in itself and offences under PITA were triable by a dedicated court for this enactment.

Also, she argued that PITA was a central enactment while MCOCA was a state enactment. As such, offences relating to PITA did not fall within the ambit of MCOCA.

 Special public prosecutor Ujjwala Pawar had opposed the plea, arguing that in the last 10 years, 15 chargesheets under PITA were filed against the applicant accused and that the applicant is the leader of an organized crime syndicate that procures girls from Maharashtra and other states and runs prostitution business, besides maintaining themselves from the money thus earned.

The court referred to the definition of “continuing unlawful activity” under the MCOCA and observed that organized crime was nothing, but continuing unlawful activity either individually or jointly as member of a crime syndicate.

The court referred to a crime chart provided by the prosecution in relation to 15 cases against her and three and two cases against her aides, and held, “The accused is the head of an organized crime syndicate and she is involved in continuing unlawful activity . Prima facie, provisions of MCOCA are certainly applicable to the facts of the present case.”

Teenager Survives rape, Torture and Sex trade for 5 years.

By Mail Today :

15-year-old girl was brought to Delhi on the pretext of job, but was raped repeatedly for five years.
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Teenager Survives rape, Torture and Sex trade for 5 years

She was brought to Delhi at the age of 15 on pretext of job. Since then she has been confined and raped repeatedly. She was also forced into prostitution and few days back when she refused to sell her body, the person who brought her to Delhi tied her and left her starved for more than three days.

The accused assaulted her, raped her, sodomised her and beat her up. He had even tried to pluck her tongue using pliers.

On Tuesday when the accused, identified as Litu Mitra, 30, stepped out of his residence in Southeast Delhi’s Govindpuri area, he left the door open. Taking the advantage of the situation, the captive Jyoti (name changed), who is 19 now, managed to escape. She reached an NGO in that area, which helped her to approach the police.

CASE REGISTERED

A case has been registered and Mitra was arrested on Friday. Narrating her ordeal, Jyoti toldMail Todaythat in 2013 she met Mitra, while she at a railway station in West Bengal. The man promised her a job in Delhi and boarded the train with her. Mitra asked her to stay at his rented residence in Govindpuri.

After two days, he raped her and filmed it. He used to blackmail with the tape and raped her repeatedly. Few months later, he allegedly forced her into prostitution. “His friends and customers have raped me, for which he got paid. Whenever I resisted, they complained about it to Mitra and he had beaten me up in front of them. And then I was forced to do what they wanted,” a pained Jyoti told Mail Today.

She had tried to escape a number of times but to no avail. Mitra has been unemployed and Jyoti became a source of income for her. She told police that there have been days when Mitra brought along seven to eight clients a day. Her medical report is with Mail Today.WHAT HAPPENED

On April 22 she was asked to serve some clients in Noida. When she objected Mitra beat her with iron rod and pipe. Then having tied her with a rope he raped her. He allegedly sodomised her as well. Jyoti has severe injuries on her chest too. “Whenever I had raised my voice, he grabbed my mouth and held my tongue with pliers.”

“On Tuesday at around 5pm, when Mitra stepped out, I noticed the door was left open. After I managed to escape, I reached a shop, luckily the owner of which ran an NGO. He helped me to approach the police,” she said.

Speaking to Mail Today, Naresh Kumar, the mentioned shop owner recalled that when she reached his shop, she was shivering. She narrated her woes and showed her injuries.

A call was made to the police control room and she was taken to Govindpuri police station. From there she was taken to the hospital for medical aide and check-up.

“Based on her statement, a case under Section 376, 366A, 323, 354C of the IPC and 6/12 POCSO Act has been booked against Mitra, who remained absconding for up to four days,” Romil Baaniya, DCP (southeast) said, adding he has been arrested on Friday evening.

 

Couple accused of trafficking HUNDREDS of girls for brothels are arrested in joint sting by Delhi and West Bengal police

By Chayyanika Nigam and Debbie White For MailToday:

  • Before their arrest, the pair had been living a lavish life in Delhi
  • During the police investigation, it was revealed that minors who were trafficked from West Bengal were then sold to brothels in Delhi and Agra
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A couple in their late thirties who have allegedly trafficked more than 500 girls, mostly from West Bengal over the past eight years, are now in police custody.

The arrest of the pair, named as Pinki and Radhey, was made by the Sunderban police in West Bengal along with Shakti Vahini, an NGO working for anti-human trafficking.

They received help from the Delhi Police in arresting the couple at their rented accommodation on Friday.

They had been living a lavish life in Delhi’s trans Yamuna’s Geeta Colony area.

A West Bengal Police official said: ‘The couple has been living in the area for the past few years.

‘However, it is not their permanent residence. Whenever a gang member was arrested or any girl trafficked by them was rescued, they would change their hideout and used to go underground for a few weeks before returning to their residence in Geeta Colony.’

During the investigation, it was revealed that the couple used to traffick the girls from West Bengal, who were then sold to brothels in Delhi and Agra.

According to sources, the accused couple has two daughters, who stay at their grandparents’ house in Delhi.

A senior officer explained: ‘They have been intentionally kept away so that they do not get affected from the dirty business they do.’

On June 3, Mail Today reported on a rescue operation centred on six Muslim teenagers, from the Sundarbans area, who had been trapped by a prostitution syndicate.

They were lured with an offer of being taken on a tour to Agra city.

Tathagata Basu, Superintendent of Police, Sundarban, said: ‘When a 19 year old girl was trafficked to a brothel in Agra she managed to call her parents.

‘The police then arrested a lady named Meena, who used the alias Meenu (42), along with her two henchmen — Faraq and Kalimuddin Seikh. During a joint interrogation, they (the accused) informed us about the kingpin Pinki.’

He added that the police had undertaken a technical surveillance of Pinki’s phone number, which had been revealed during raids in Delhi and Bengaluru.

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The Superintendent said: ‘They (the accused) are in police custody and will be sent to West Bengal Police on transit remand. After that they will appear in the city’s court on Saturday.’

Rishi Kant, co-founder of anti-human trafficking NGO-Shakti Vahini, described the couple’s arrest as a ‘big catch’.

‘They are among the main source of trafficking from West Bengal,’ he alleged.

Mail Today has previously exposed the modus operandi following by the arrest of the henchmen of this racket.

Gang members obtained mobile numbers of these girls from the mobile shopkeepers. They were then contacted and lured for a job before being trafficked.