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Concern over health of human trafficking victims

Concern over health of human trafficking victims


Alarming trend of some mysterious drug being administered to minor girls trafficked into the Capital

An alarming trend of some mysterious drug being administered to minor girls trafficked into the Capital from West Bengal, primarily to be forced into prostitution, has raised serious concerns over the mental and physical health of the victims of human trafficking.

The latest case is that of 17-year-old Wahida (name changed) from South 24 Parganas, who was smuggled into the city by an acquaintance of her lover’s brother and sold to a brothel on G.B. Road in Central Delhi about a week ago. “Having completed my Class X, I had gone to get myself enrolled with a nurse training school where Siraj, an acquaintance of my lover Nasir’s brother, met me. He took me to an eating joint where we had some food, after which I lost my senses. My body was functioning properly, but I could not utter a single word. What happened thereafter I cannot recall. It seems he made me consume food laced with some drugs,” said Wahida, daughter of a rickshaw puller.

Jitendra Nagpal, Head of the Department of the Institute of Mental Health and Lifeskills at Moolchand Hospital, said: “It could be some psychotropic that alters the functioning of the mind, declines overall function and impacts short-term memory altering the perception and emotion. These could also be illegally procured mind modifying agents like opioids or cannabinoids, making the person unable to control his/her behaviour. It at times makes the person vulnerable to suggestions by the perpetrator of the crime.” Dr. Nagpal said those under the influence of such a drug may lose their senses and are unable to later recall what exactly transpired with them.The next thing Wahida remembers is that she was at the New Delhi railway station. “When I confronted Siraj asking why he brought me to Delhi, he initially claimed that he wanted to marry me. I objected and urged him to take me back home, but he forcibly took me to a house where he beat me when I offered resistance. He then sold me off to a brothel where I was raped and mentally tortured,” she said.

Soon after the victim was brought to the brothel, non-government organisation Shakti Vahini got a tip-off that a minor girl had been forced into prostitution. “We immediately contacted the Kamla Market police, which raided the brothel and rescued the victim. Subsequently we alerted the West Bengal Police, which had received a complaint from the girl’s father a day ago. The girl was produced before a Child Welfare Committee. A case has now been registered and a police team headed by Sub-Inspector Bishwadev Roy, comprising two women police constables, is here along with the girl’s father to take her back to her native place,” said Rishi Kant of Shakti Vahini.

Mr. Kant said a similar modus operandi was employed by human traffickers in a recent case wherein a 16-year-old girl was brought to the Capital from Sonarpur in South 24 Parganas and pushed into the flesh trade. The girl, who was rescued later and is presently here for cross-examination before a city court, said she was also drugged before being trafficked.

Expressing shock, Sanjay Gupta of NGO Chetna said: “We have come across a large number of cases were children are trafficked into the Capital from States like Bihar and forced to become drug addicts. Under the influence of drugs, they commit crime and are also made to beg on streets. They are usually administered white/correction fluid and once they get addicted to it, they obey their handlers for their daily dose.”

Stating that presently there was lack of data on the subject of substance abuse among children and its repercussions, Mr. Gupta said a nationwide study was being undertaken by a committee in 142 districts across 27 States in coordination with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences under the supervision of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

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