“Last year, till June, 3638 cases of missing children were reported in Delhi against 7235 cases in the year 2013. The statistics just do not end here; there are many cases which go unreported every year”.
-The Times of India, 20th March, 2014
This is not merely the figures of missing children, but a horrendous tale of unseen children which are same but unique in its own nature. The number of missing children is increasing day by day. Recently launched Global Slavery Index says that one child goes missing in every 8 minutes. We see it only as number but the truth is even scarier.
Thousands of children and young girls are trafficked from one place to other, one state to other and even transnational. Every child is equally vulnerable and is at the radar of traffickers. The crime of human trafficking is an organised crime which involves a huge chain of people passing victims from one hand to another. The purpose of trafficking could be anything from labour, work, slavery, prostitution to forced marriage. The culprits are always organised and well managed but, how organised and well managed are we?
The industry of trafficking is well flourished and blooming whereby the trafficking mafia are filling up their pockets with the trade of human bodies. This is very disheartening to know that the authorities, government, civil societies as well as the citizens of this country have badly failed in saving their Sons and Daughters from this trade.
The economy of this “Flourishing Trade” like any other trades lies on the Demand and Supply pattern of the “commodity”. The single major factor of trafficking is the demand. When the demand of cheap labour, young sex workers, domestic worker, unwed brides or Slave increases, it is being met with the supply of innocent victim from the rural and remote areas. But this fact can also not be declined that the trend of reverse trafficking has also been observed in recent times whereby the victims are being trafficked from, earlier known as destination areas, to source areas. Victims are lured, forced, duped and even kidnapped to meet this increasing supply.
Purposes of trafficking as mentioned earlier ranges from Domestic worker, cheap labour or free labour, Sex trafficking, forced marriages, organ trade to pornography.
In India, especially in urban states, the young girls and children are supplied to effluent houses as domestic worker. They are picked up from vulnerable areas and sold off as domestic servants in house with an advance payment of 20K -30K once and around INR 2500/- to 3000/- every month is being taken by placement agents from these effluent houses. These victims live in bonded like condition and work from early morning to late nights. Once the contract of 11 months is over with the employers, the placement agencies take back the victim and place him/her in another house. This cycle of exploitation keep on going till the time a victim who is fortunate enough get rescued. Many of these domestic servants reports physical and sexual abuse and many times the information of suspected death of these workers comes. These placement agencies are running illegally and keep on changing its address and contact numbers. With no law pertaining to placement agencies, these are operating fearlessly, even if a placement agency is being raided, the traffickers get away easily.
One of the most profits making industry in India is Sex trafficking, young girls are at huge demand in India which leads to the trafficking of girls as young as 11-13 years old. An age in which a girl is supposed to be safe with her family, she is being thrown in a hell with no hope of life. This is also known as child sex trafficking. Every time a new girl is supplied for prostitution, she is being thrashed, burnt, slapped, raped, confined in room, forced to attend around 25-30 customers a day and face every form of torture till the time she agrees to the demands of brothel owners. These young girls are at huge risk of getting infected with HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. This is saddened truth that our administration is kept quiet about the issue of red light areas. The biggest Irony is that the debates of legalising prostitution are being done by the brother owners or managers but the voices of actual victims never come out of the walls of the brothels.
Another purpose of trafficking is the trafficking of young girls for forced marriages. States like Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh find it difficult to marry off their loving sons due to skewed sex ratio, hence instead of raising up a girl they are more favourable towards buying a girl. The girls are being sold off like cattle in these states from West Bengal, Bihar, Assam and now from Jharkhand as Well. The victims are never married but spent their life as unwed brides of a man usually double and even triple their age. Girls as young as 13 years are forced to live like wives of 40 to 60 year old man. Forced marriage is considered to be one of the worst form of slavery whereby a victim is not merely exploited sexually and physically but also made to work for free in house or in fields. Victims of forced marriages stated that they are being forced to work as slaves in day time and during night they are repeatedly raped not only by their so called husbands but many times by other relatives.
While young girls are being trafficked into sex slavery, domestic work, pornography and forced marriage, children are being sold off into bonded labour, domestic servitude, child pornography and sex tourism. This is the major factor behind the increasing number of missing children. News papers are full of news related to missing children and trafficking.
We at Shakti Vahini believe that there is an urgent need of partnership among all the stakeholders, NGOs, Police, Judiciary, Ministries and majorly of common man to curb this menace and save our daughters and sons.
Save at least one human from slavery in your life. Take up the pledge to report the cases of human trafficking or child trafficking in your area.