NEW DELHI: Last year on Eid, Hina (13) went missing from Nizamuddin Basti. This Eid too Hina’s parents may not meet their daughter. The police did not manage to trace her and neither was the complaint sent to the anti-human trafficking unit. On Friday, Hina called her parents and said she is in Mumbai. Immediately, a lady snatched the phone and said Hina was on duty and had no time to talk.
Hina’s story is reminiscent of a thousand other such cases in Delhi. People are trafficked not just for sex trade but also for labour and to be employed as live-in maids. Delhi receives people from the northeast states, West Bengal, Nepal, Bangladesh and Jharkhand. Meerut and Mewat, which are close to Delhi are infamous for being “rearing points” for trafficked girls, according to anti-trafficking experts.
A recent report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime ( UNODC), titled ‘Current Status of Victim Service Providers and Criminal Justice Actors in India 2013’ documents how Delhi is one of the emerging hubs and transit points for trafficking. The report also highlights how girls are often kept in remote locations in the NCR, especially by people from tribes like Bedia, Nat and Kanjar, who sell them once they attain puberty.
Delhi also has many illegal placement agencies due to a high demand for live-in maids. Employers prefer young children because “they are cheaper and complain less.”
Supreme Court advocate and a principal author of the report, Ravi Kant, says “The demand for children for domestic work is very high in Delhi. Delhi is emerging as a destination and transit point and it also has a sizeable number of missing children.” Over 5,000 children went missing from Delhi in 2011. He adds that even when victims of trafficking are rescued, there are too many systemic issues which often keep them from returning home.
National Commission For Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) member, Vinod Kumar Tikoo, links the trend to the lack of proper implementation of welfare schemes and abject poverty in some “source” states that supply labor. Two trafficked girls from Jharkhand, Jyoti Mariyam Horo (14) and Jayamani Guriya (14) couldn’t return home. Jyoti died soon after reaching Delhi. Jayamani was sent back to her village after she fell sick but died enroute due to lack of medical assistance. The NCPCR report stated how poverty stricken their families were and how the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee scheme was not being implemented. Against a guaranteed 100 days of work in a year, one of the girl’s fathers had worked for just 18 days.
Co-director of HAQ: Centre for Child Rights, Enakshi Ganguly, says people mostly associate trafficking with prostitution. “People are trafficked also for organ trade, labour, marriage and for adoption,” she says.
Enakshi, who is pursuing Hina’s case recalls Nagamma’s case in Tamil Nadu. Nagamma was sleeping on the street when her baby went missing. After 10 years, Nagamma found out that her baby was in Netherlands and had been adopted by a couple.