Devesh K. Pandey -THE HINDU – MAY 20 , 2011
A domestic help placement agency co-owner may have trafficked 200 minors in Delhi in 8 years
Agencies traffic minors, mostly adivasi children from West Bengal, Jharkhand, Assam
NEW DELHI: The 16-year-old girl rescued along with eight other minors by the Delhi Police Crime Branch after the arrest of a human trafficking agent and a co-owner of a domestic help placement agency at Shakurpur here in the Capital recently was allegedly raped by the agent. The victim had been brought from Assam and handed over allegedly to Praveen and his wife Babita, who ran the placement agency.
She purportedly disclosed that she was raped by their agent Ismail Ahmed. While Babita and Ismail have been arrested, the police are on the look-out for Praveen and five of his agents.Praveen is suspected to have trafficked over 200 minors into the Capital in the past eight years.“It is a fact that several victims of trafficking end up being assaulted and raped. In one such case, a 13-year-old girl was recently trafficked from Jalpaiguri in West Bengal for a placement agency in Punjabi Bagh. She was gang-raped in Sadar Bazar and then placed as a domestic help in a house in neighbouring Gurgaon,” said Rishi Kant of non-government organisation Shakti Vahini that took part in the rescue operation at Shakurpur.
Another victim rescued by the NGO had become pregnant after she was raped in Gurgaon last year.“In yet another case, a 15-year-old girl from Darjeeling disclosed that while being brought to Delhi she was forced to swallow some tablets after which she fell unconscious and then was raped,” said Mr. Kant.
He said a large number of placement agencies operating in Delhi are trafficking minors, mostly adivasi children from West Bengal, Jharkhand and Assam. “There has been a steep rise in trafficking cases in the recent past. We have information that about 8,600 minors were missing from different parts of West Bengal till last October. A large number of children are missing from Siliguri and Purulia districts. We suspect that most of them have been trafficked to various places including Delhi, which has become a major destination and transit point. About 6,000 minors are missing from different districts of Jharkhand.”
The human trafficking gangs rope in mostly women as carriers to evade detection. “One group of carriers generally does not know the other and hence it becomes difficult for us to unearth the entire racket. However, a constant vigil at railway stations can help bust such gangs,” said Mr. Kant.
These agencies employ various means to project themselves as genuine suppliers of domestic helps. In the latest case, the accused had got printed verification forms similar to those used by the police to hoodwink employers. They would have fingerprints of the victims on these forms. Mr. Kant said about 6,000 placement agencies are presently operating in the Capital. “We suspect that of these, over 1,000 agencies are located in Shakurpur. There is no effective regulatory mechanism in place for these agencies, most of which are exploiting trafficked children and women,” he added.
Anti-human trafficking drive
As part of an anti-human trafficking drive, the Delhi Police have constituted a dozen teams to carry out rescue operations. “One team has been created in each district and a nodal team of the Crime Branch has been set up under the supervision of Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police P.S. Kushwah,” said a police officer.