Trafficked girl awaits aid after 3yrs

143847968Guwahati Telegraph By Pankaj Sarma

Sept. 9: Almost three years after she was rescued from Haryana, a 20-year-old victim of human trafficking from Assam is still awaiting assistance from the state government for her rehabilitation.
Rekha (name changed), who hails from Hajo in Kamrup district, is now struggling for a livelihood as she is yet to get any form of help from the government despite repeated pleas. “Without any source of income, I have become a burden on my family,” she told The Telegraph.

As a result, she is finding it difficult to arrange even two square meals a day for herself and her two-year-old son. Rekha, who was trafficked to Haryana and forced into marriage, was rescued by Shakti Vahini, a Delhi-based anti-trafficking NGO, with the help of Haryana police from Shahpur in Haryana’s Jind district on October 4, 2011.

Rishi Kant of Shakti Vahini told The Telegraph that she had written many times to the state government seeking help so that she can sustain herself and take care of her child but till date her efforts have yielded no result.

“After prolonged persuasion, joint secretary of the social welfare department M. Baruah wrote an official letter to the director of the department, Dilip Borthakur, on March 5 this year asking him to look into the matter and do the needful,” he said.

“Six months have passed since then, but unfortunately nothing came of it,” Kant rued. When contacted, Borthakur said one of his officers, who is looking into the matter, is currently on leave.
“I would be able to tell you about its present status only after he returns from leave,” he said.

Rishi Kant said Rekha was trafficked when she was 17 with the lure of a job since she was from a very poor family. “After that she was forced to marry a person named Rakesh, who not only sexually abused her but also forced her to do all the household chores,” he said. At the time of her rescue, Rekha was five months pregnant. According to Kant, they reunited Rekha with her family and sent her back home.

“Her family comprises her father, mother and her child, who are now totally dependent on the daily wage earned by her father, which is not enough to make both ends meet,” he said.
“The girl had appeared for the high school examination before tragedy befell her but could not pass. The situation was truly painful,” he said.
“What was even more painful is that while the girl and her family continue to struggle, the administration has turned a blind eye towards them. Rehabilitation as a post-rescue measure seems to be a lost cause, duly ignored by the authorities,” Kant said.

He said the sordid tale of Rekha exposes the true face of the state government, which otherwise claims to be helping trafficking victims. According to him, because of a lack of specific policy of the state government for rehabilitation of trafficking victims, many survivors of trafficking, who are from poverty-stricken and marginalised families, are left with no other option but to take up prostitution to support their families


Trafficked tribal girl returns home with employer’s help

Pahariya Girl TraffickingPUBLISHED IN THE HINDU

A minor Pahariya tribal girl, identified as a Particularly Vulnerable Tribe, from Jharkhand who was trafficked to Delhi from Agra to work as a domestic worker was rescued after her employer’s relative, who is an Inspector with the Delhi Police, informed public authorities and NGO Shakti Vahini. The girl’s family and panchayat head reached Delhi to accompany her back to her Jharkhand village.

“A few years ago, an older girl in my village asked me to go away from the village. I had never left home before and realised later that they had brought me to Agra,” recounted Sonali, in her late teens.

“The employer in Agra beat me regularly almost every day. Then after a year, Pinky brought me to Delhi,” she said.

The Delhi employer’s relative, Rajiv Ratan, informed the Child Welfare Committee and Shakti Vahini that the tribal girl appeared to be a minor and trafficked.

‘Scared and confused’

“She appeared scared and it seemed she had been trafficked. I tried to track her local police station, but she could not recall her village name, or even the State she belonged to at first. Then I informed the NGO members.

They traced her village to Pakur in Jharkhand and then we contacted officials at the Jharkhand Bhawan,” said Mr. Ratan.

Shakti Vahini’s Rishi Kant said the organisation had rescued more than 70 girls from Jharkhand since January.

“The girl’s father reached Delhi three days ago. Unfortunately, he gave the girl a sad news about brother’s death. The family was distraught. Tribal children are particularly vulnerable and we need to have more concerted efforts to prevent trafficking from home States and support the children once they reach Delhi,” said Mr Rishi Kant.

Mukhiya Narayan Mahto who accompanied the girl’s family said several children from the village left their homes for Delhi and Mumbai to work and had lose contact with their families.

Shakti Vahini has rescued more than 70 girls from Jharkhand since January

Delhi has no rules in place to care for trafficked victims



Last November, the Delhi Government had submitted before the Delhi High Court that within eight weeks it would notify minimum standards of care and protection for trafficked victims. Nearly six months have gone by and despite many such cases being reported since, the notification is yet to see the light of the day.

Prior to this, expressing its displeasure over a Nepalese girl being forced to go back to the place from where she was rescued, the High Court had sent a notice to the State government asking for suggestions in this regard.

The notice was one in a series of many issued by the court, which took a suo motu of a report published in The Hindu in May 2013 about a girl trafficked from West Bengal and pushed into prostitution in the Capital. The Nepalese girl, too, was rescued around the same time and by the same NGO Shakti Vahini. She was later set free by a Delhi court, but went back to the brothel “because she had nowhere else to go and there was no institutional mechanism in place to take care of her”.

Since Delhi does not have any guidelines on the care and protection of victims, especially post their rescue, the court directed that it should adopt the ones framed by the Andhra Pradesh Government a few years ago. The Andhra Pradesh guidelines deal extensively with all aspects of standards of care be it accountability, legal aid, monitoring, benefits provided, restoration, diet and even infrastructure facilities available at care homes.

It was on November 27 that the Standing Counsel for the State Government Zubeda Begum informed the court about the eight-week deadline for taking into account the guidelines issued by the Southern State. She added that Delhi would also incorporate some additional features.

Six months on, the guidelines have not been notified. In response to The Hindu ’s question about the current status of the notification, a senior Delhi Government official said the draft has been prepared. On the delay, she said conditions in Andhra Pradesh were different from those in the Capital and hence they have made some changes.

The official, however, did not divulge what those changes were and what additional measures are there in the proposed Delhi guidelines.

Furthermore, the official said they were still in the process of building consensus on the draft. A meeting between all those providing institutional services is scheduled later this month. “Once notified, it becomes very difficult to make amendments. That is why we are taking our time,” she said.

Most rescued childeren are never rehabilitated

Most rescued childeren are never rehabilitated
Most rescued childeren are never rehabilitated


NEW DELHI: The teenage help who was rescued from a Dwarka apartment in March is now enrolled in a school in Jharkhand. She has received her wage arrears, besides support from the state. But hers is an exceptional story of rehabilitation. Experts say most trafficked children, even when rescued, lead bleak lives.

Take the case of two girls — aged 12 and 13 — who were brought to Delhi a year ago and sexually assaulted at a placement agency. After their rescue, they were sent to a shelter home in West Bengal, and have not received any significant help.

Experts say care and aid are lavished on victims only after their cases grab media attention. Generally, though, rescued children get trapped in procedural hurdles. The luckier ones are ‘reunited’ with their families but not rehabilitated and, occasionally, children even slip back into the hands of traffickers.

Rishikant, an activist from NGO Shakti Vahini, said, “We get many complaints and some of the offences are grave. The state machinery moves when a case gets highlighted. In most cases, the child welfare committees (CWCs) merely dump the children back home without follow-up,” he said. The chairperson of the Lajpat Nagar CWC said, “Reuniting does not mean rehabilitation.” Shakti Vahini claims that of the 200 children it rescued last year, none has been properly rehabilitated.

In most cases, delays occur due to poor inter-state coordination. “The authorities here are not so concerned as 90% of the cases are from other states. Their attitude is that the other state has to take care of them,” said CWC chairperson Raaj Mangal Prasad. It is also observed that the CWCs of the other states are not so zealous in their work.

Rishi Kant, another Shakti Vahini member, said this hampers follow-up action. “The CWC might pass orders in the city and, to an extent, also recover children’s due wages, but it becomes difficult to follow up on a case on a day-to-day basis.” He suggests that the labour department should act as an intermediary between source states and cities from where children are rescued.

The director for policy and research at Child Rights and You (CRY), Vijaylakshmi Arora, said lack of manpower is another important hurdle in rehabilitation. “If you go to the district level or the CWCs, you don’t find much manpower. It is usually one man taking care of 50 cases. That ratio has to be improved.”

Arora said a system needs to be in place to track each and every child’s case separately “as each child’s case is different and the factors for trafficking are different. This will also keep tabs on children who have been re-trafficked; at present there is no system to monitor that.”

While lack of manpower and poor interstate coordination hinder the process of rehabilitation, Prasad said transferring the monitoring of child labour to the department of women and child development will help. “The Child Labour Act that falls under the labour department does not look into the rehabilitation of a child; this is done by the Juvenile Justice Act that is the responsibility of the department of women and child development,” he said, adding, “Shifting the child labour issue to them would speed up the process”.


Assam lags in victim relief



Mizoram among 18 proactive states

Guwahati, May 30: Assam is lagging far behind in preparing a compensation scheme for victims of rape and human trafficking. While 18 states in the country have approved schemes for payment of compensation to victims of rape and human trafficking, Assam is yet to start the process of preparing the scheme.

Ravi Kant, a member of the Central Advisory Committee on Combating Trafficking, told this correspondent today that despite Assam being a source area for human trafficking, the state government was yet to formulate any scheme that could go a long way in rehabilitating the victims.

He said in the Northeast only Mizoram has prepared a compensation scheme while Meghalaya was in the process of notifying one. “But in Assam, the social welfare department, which is to prepare the scheme, is yet to initiate the process,” he added.

It is mandatory for all state governments to prepare the victim compensation scheme in consultation with the Centre and notify the same in accordance with Section 357(A) of the CrPC. Kant said the ministry of child and women development had written to all the states in November last year to prepare the scheme.

Altogether 18 states have approved such schemes so far, he added.

Kant said the absence of such a scheme in Assam was making it very difficult to rehabilitate rescued victims of human trafficking.

The central advisory committee, which was formed in 1994 with the secretary of the ministry of women and child development as its chairperson, was the result of a Supreme Court directive that a committee be formed at the Centre to look into human trafficking.

Kant said it was essential to have a compensation scheme for victims of rape and trafficking because they need to be restored to a position of dignity and self-confidence.

“It is this principle of restorative justice that must form the basis of efforts to address the trauma that victims goes through and it must entail compensation in the form of financial assistance and support services such as counselling, shelter, medical and legal aid,” he added.

He said besides mental anguish, rape victims also suffer financial agony as they become too traumatised to remain employed.

“In case of trafficking, since most of the victims are from impoverished families, sometimes their parents refuse to accept them after they are rescued from the clutches of traffickers. In such cases, government compensation can play a big role in their rehabilitation,” Kant said.

Bengal’s blot: 8000 missing girls


New Delhi, March 6: Number of girls who disappeared from Bengal last year — 3,000.

Over 5,000 children went missing in 2010. But the state doesn’t seem to be bothered.

“During an inquiry we found that Bengal is yet to set up anti-trafficking cells in districts to evolve a foolproof mechanism for combating trafficking. The police administration does not seem concerned even though trafficking of girls is on the rise,” said a CBI official attached to the central agency’s special anti-human trafficking unit.

“What is even more disturbing is that policemen normally do not report such crimes. Even if they do, they prefer lodging a general diary instead of registering an FIR, which means no investigation,” the official added. An IPS officer in Bengal said in the past, policemen have even refused to register trafficking cases.

“Things have improved now as the cases are being reported, but merely lodging a diary won’t help,” he said.

Rishi Kant of Shakti-Vahini, a Delhi-based NGO working against trafficking, said policemen in Bengal districts had “done nothing” to combat the menace as gangs were running the racket with ease. “The racketeers sell the girls to brothels across the country.”

If Bengal, according to Kant, has “fared badly” when it comes to combating trafficking, it has topped the list of cases where girls have been sold for prostitution. According to figures available with the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 130 cases of selling of teenaged girls for prostitution were reported across the country during 2010.

Bengal accounted for 115 of the 130 cases. The same year, 679 cases of trafficking of minor girls were reported. Bengal topped with 200 cases, followed by Bihar (152).

“In 2010 Bengal, which was placed second on the list, accounted for nearly 12.2 per cent of total crimes against women by reporting 26,125 cases,” an NCRB official said.

Sources said trafficking was a major racket in several Bengal districts, including South and North 24-Parganas, Murshidabad and Malda, and several cases went unreported as parents handed over their daughters to traffickers because of acute poverty.

“We do have an anti-human trafficking cell which has its office at Bhabani Bhavan in Calcutta. But to curb trafficking, we need to have such cells in districts for better co-ordination,” the IPS officer said.

The anti-trafficking cell was set up about four years ago following a home ministry directive. Last year, the home ministry had called a meeting to draw up plans to combat trafficking.

“The home ministry told us it would bear some of the expenses for setting up anti-trafficking cells in districts. The file is still gathering dust at Writers’ Buildings,” the officer added. In a bid to combat trafficking, the CBI has activated a helpline number.

Anyone with information on gangs can dial the 011-24368638.  The reward for any information leading to arrest and criminal action against traffickers can go up to Rs 2 lakh.

Trauma stays with them for life

Jyotsna Singh, New Delhi, February 11 2012, DHNS\
Nimesh Desai, director of Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences says a children who have been trafficked go through tremendous trauma.

Suicidal behaviour and depression are common among them. They get psychotic too.

“Delhi gets maximum number of trafficked girl children from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Assam, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Bihar and Jharkhand. The rescued among them suffer from severe mental disorders and have to be counselled throughout their life,” said Rishi Kant, head, Shakti Vahini, a non-governmental organisation working among sex workers.

A 27-year-old girl, who was rescued by Shakti Vahini, was orphaned during earthquake in Latur, Maharashtra in 1993. She was trafficked to Delhi and was put into prostitution where she was forced to please 10 clients a day.

“When she came to us, she was in a very bad mental shape. With constant counselling, her condition improved. Recently she won a case against her former brothel owner, in which Tis Hazari court gave four years imprisonment to the accused,” said Kant. Psychological counselling made her strong. However, even a minor physical illness brings the traumatic experiences back and she gets restless and her mental disorders re-surface.

“Recently we have recognised the role of mental health in dealing with child abuse, especially trafficking. A study conducted by IHBAS in 2007 for National Commission of Women established 50-55 per cent of abandoned women, most of them trafficked, suffered from serious mental illnesses. After a Delhi High Court Order, finally we have a mental health unit in home for destitute women in Delhi. This has to be encouraged further,” said Dr Desai.

Soon, city to have shelter for victims of child abuse

English: Children in Gurgaon, Haryana, India
Image via Wikipedia


The New Year brings a ray of hope for many children who have been deprived of their basic rights as the government is considering a proposal to set up a shelter for such kids in this district.

So far, the victims of child rights abuse, who are rescued from across Haryana, are sent toRohtak and Karnal shelters. According to the department of women and children welfare of the state government, they are considering a proposal sent by the Gurgaon administration and the NGO, Shakti Vahini, seeking to set up a shelter here.

“We are looking into the matter. So many children are sent to far off places in the absence a shelter in Gurgaon,” said Dheera Khandelwal, principal secretary, Women and Child Development Department. The proposal came after the district administration on November 14, last year, announced the setting up of a facility for such children in Gurgaon. The proposed shelter is expected to accommodate children, especially girls who need medical care, protection from abuse, and counselling.

“This move was long-awaited. It would certainly provide the much-needed respite to the children,” said Ravi Kant, a member of Shakti Vahini.

He said that due to lack of space at Karnal and Rohtak shelters, sometimes children are sent back and it becomes difficult for the district administration to find a suitable accommodation for them. Last year, a total of 282 victims of child rights abuse were rescued from Gurgaon. Hundreds of children loose their childhood and are deprived of their rights to get elementary education due to poverty. Some times they also fall prey to trafficking rackets.