US department of state’s report paints gloomy picture for region
Guwahati, June 20: A US government report has painted a gloomy picture of human trafficking in the Northeast.
The US state department’s 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report, released by secretary of state Hillary Clinton yesterday, said there had been a rise in women from the region being subjected to “servile marriages” in states with low female-to-male child sex ratios such as Haryana and Punjab. According to the report, girls from the Northeast are also subjected to transactional sexual exploitation in West Asia under the guise of temporary marriages.
The report blames corrupt law enforcement officers in India of facilitating the movement of sex trafficking victims besides protecting suspected traffickers and brothel-keepers from enforcement of the law by taking bribes from sex trafficking establishments and sexual services from victims. “Some policemen allegedly continue to tip off sex and labour traffickers to impede rescue efforts,” the report said.
The arrest of a BSF jawan posted at Aizawl for trafficking a minor girl from Mizoram to Rewari district in Haryana in September 2011 also finds mention in the report, which says the accused jawan has been out on bail since December 2011. The report has put India among Tier 2 countries whose governments do not fully comply with minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance.
“The government of India does not fully comply with the minimum standards for elimination of trafficking. However, it is making significant efforts to do so. The ministry of home affairs continues to establish anti-human trafficking units which are responsible for combining law enforcement and rehabilitation efforts,” the report said.
It added that there had been numerous reports about sex trafficking victims being rescued by police-NGO teams and increased reports about inter-state coordination among anti-human trafficking units that resulted in the victims being rescued. “In one case, the Manipur, Rajasthan, and Kerala anti-human trafficking units collaborated in the rescue of 33 trafficked children,” the report said.
Welcoming the report, Rishi Kant of Shakti-Vahini, a Delhi-based NGO working against trafficking, told The Telegraph that a large number of girls, mainly minors, from the Northeast was being regularly trafficked and forced to marry in states like Haryana and Punjab.
“The registration of trafficking cases by the police in the Northeast has risen, but the government must ensure that guilty persons are convicted in court and for that the judiciary also needs to be sensitised,” he said.
The anti-human trafficking unit of Assam police has recovered many girls from Hissar district in Haryana with help from Shakti Vahini and has been rewarded recently by the Union home ministry for its efforts. The report also quoted a senior government official saying that while trafficking rescues and registration of cases have increased, convictions remain low in the country. It added that the government continued to make progress in its law enforcement efforts to combat human trafficking in 2011, but concerns remain over the uneven enforcement of trafficking laws and alleged official complicity.