World belongs to humanity, not this leader, that leader or that king or prince or religious leader. World belongs to humanity. — Dalai Lama
A land where humanitarians like Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa lived, a land which is worshiped as Mother Nation, a land where seven major and many minor religions thrive, a land which teaches love, peace and brotherhood amongst fellow human beings has become a land where Humanity is being sold, daily, mocking the believes in humanity.
Human trafficking in India:
Human trafficking is one of the most serious problems in India. It is indeed difficult to comprehend that each year millions of people are trafficked both domestically (around 90%) and internationally (around 10%) in India. It’s a third largest organised crime.
They are traded in the name of:
- Forced / bounded labor
- Commercial sexual exploitation
- For marriages in the areas where girl’s population is meager
- Begging or for entertainment sector like circuses, adoption, camel jockeying etc.
The United States (US) has placed India on the Tier-2 Watch List for human trafficking for the 5th consecutive year as India has failed to take effective measure in combating it. The concept of trafficking denotes a trade in something that should not be traded in. The UN’s Palermo protocol defines trafficking in person (human trafficking) as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or service, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”
Human trafficking, around 20 billion rupees industry, is a very fast growing enterprise which represents very morbid and formidable facets of the modern world. Majority of the victims, unsurprisingly, are women and children. According to US, India is both source and transit country for trafficking, In each city there are areas where brothels are located and they consist of around 2 million sex workers out of which a large part (over one third) is underage.
I (Ankita Singhal) say–“I love humanity, surprisingly, as I observe 21st century with hawk eyed vision, I realize the more I love humanity the less I love Human as an individual.
Root Causes of human trafficking:
- Poverty is primary cause of trafficking. Beyond poverty many secondary factors work. India being a developing nation has many curses like lack of job opportunities, and as mentioned, many people lives below the poverty line makes them an easy target to traffickers and they are smuggled in false pretexts (like as domestic servants, job in film industry, labor in factories, marriage without dowry etc.)
- Gender discrimination, family violence, caste system, illiteracy, lack of economic opportunities, dowry system, skewed sex ratio and hunger increases individuals’ (mainly children and women to belonging to the poor sections of the society) vulnerabilities to the manipulation of the traffickers.
- Social norms (ex. sexism towards girls and women, low regards for women, marginalization of women) allow families to subject their loved once to the scourge of trafficking, sometimes voluntarily.
Recently many cases came forth where family sold their own daughters for she was a burden, they couldn’t afford her or where parents were in debt and their daughters were a means to repay it, or where a girl was handicapped, or believing they were sending their daughter to another village for marriage where sometime they are end up in forced marriage being a slave or smuggled to a brothel.
- The black market for human organs is a Booming in India compounded with “medical tourism” — the practice of coming to India for major surgeries at a lower price, demand is high for children’s eyes, hearts, and kidneys and other organs.
- With an environment of poor governance and deficient government services, the absence of strong and effective legal framework, deep rooted corruption conspire with the exclusion of vulnerable crowd from basic economical and social services enabling an atmosphere conducive for trafficking.
Kidnapping is one of the means to gather children for trafficking.
“According to a report over 55,000 have gone missing in India.”–Web
“No proper data is available but in a year almost 40,000-45,000 people are trafficked from Jharkhand. Many of the cases go unreported maybe because parents of missing children do not know where to complain or are too scared to complain.” –Times of India
Human trafficking has adverse substantial social, economical and health impacts.
Trading Humans is like trading humanity. From the social prism, rampant trafficking that goes bountifully leads to a re-enforcing cycle of patriarchal values that scathe on the basic rights of women and it also enforces discriminatory behavior. Moreover, there are psychological effects of trauma and depression suffered by the victims. From economic perspective, it leads to low living standards, loss of livelihood as the labor remains outside the formal economy of India. From Health’s view, trafficking intensify HIV/aids problem that India is already facing.
Victimization of the victims not only by the law system but also by the society is one of the most shameful realities which also make rehabilitation of the victims challenging.
What Government is doing:
Indian legal framework in respect of trafficking is severely flawed. Government of India prohibits any form of trafficking through the Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act (ITPA), it also prohibits bonded and forced labor through the Bonded Labor Abolition Act, the Child Labor Act, and the Juvenile Justice Act.
However, these laws look good on paper but in reality, insufficiently enforced or not sufficiently stringent. In addition to that, state governments have not utilized the provisions within ITPA act, to assign special courts for trafficking. Furthermore, courts are either clogging with the case files resulting trafficking cases docket for years or if trafficking cases are heard then due to insufficient evidence or tempering the evidence often leads to prosecuting and punishing the victims. Victims of bonded labor are entitled to 10,000 rupees ($185) from the central government for rehabilitation, but this program is unevenly executed across the country and no compensation scheme to the other victims is another problem.
Though, Central government has launched new programs like integrated anti-human trafficking units and few others to tackle this issue. Many NGO’s collaborate through networks to tackle this issue and rehabilitating the victims.
What we need to do (according to me):
- Spreading awareness—for example by nukkad nataks, Jan seva advertisements, conducting Anti-trafficking campaigns in rural areas explaining its curses.
- The major problems faced by the NGO’s working in this direction is the funding problem, conducting donation campaign with transparency might help. Encouraging private sectors in this field.
- Organizing the report on missing children/people, ensuring the police is effectively searching for them.
- Sufficiently stringent the existing law and ensuring its proper enforcement, assigning exclusive courts to deal with trafficking so that the judgement my come at the earliest.
- Sensitization programs for police, prosecutors so that the problems with tempering, loosing of evidence reduces.
- Train former victim as a rescuer and rehabilitation expert.
- The society banishes, outcasts, ostracize the victims, they victimize the victims like the law tends to do; society is lacking sensitivity sold their humanity in the name of their own welfare, that needs to be stoped. Society needs to accept the victim as their own being, they don’t need our pity, but our support and credence, and it is high time that we come out together and strong to help to rehabilitate the victims of human trafficking, give then an option to make a dignified life. We need to show empathy, compassion.
Dr. Sunitha Krishnan – The Anti-Trafficking Crusader:
I heard about Dr. Sunitha Krishnan a while back when a severe case of human trafficking caught attention, after that she appeared in many TV programs and news debate. As I understood what she is doing, I was filled with admiration for her courage, spirit, valiance to fight and rescue. She is an Indian social activist and chief functionary and co-founder of Prajwala, an institution that rescues trafficked women and girls helps them in rehabilitation, restoring dignity, rebuild their lives. Prajwala train them as mesons, as welder, as cab drivers, as security guards and each one of them is excelling in their chosen fields.
She believes, “one of the things these girls have is an immense amount of courage, they do not have any hijabs in their body, they have crossed the barrier of it, and therefore, they could fight in male-dominated world very easily and not feel very shy about it.”
The organization never seeks publicity for the rescue of the girls, letting its work speak for itself. It also helps pay for the education of five thousand children infected with HIV/AIDS in Hyderabad.
Dr. Sunitha Krishnan was gang raped when she was fifteen, she did not let that gruesome incident crumble her but she channeled her outrageous anger in rescuing hundreds of children from severely abusive conditions and restoring childhood to them. She is a mental health professional; she has done extensive research and is essentially a field practitioner. To date, Prajwala has rescued more than 4,636 women and children, 2,000 of whom Sunitha freed personally. Rescuing is never easy, she had lost her co-workers in while on mission and she can’t hear from one of her ears, she has been beaten and badly hurt during rescuing operations but that never stopped her, She has dedicated her life for the cause.
She has a blog titled “Sunitha Krishnan: Anti-Trafficking Crusader” where she recounts her experiences of rescue, her blog itself demands for immense amount of courage for the stories about small girls (as young as three-four years old) being raped by fathers, uncles, brothers, cousins and neighbors may bleed your heart. They will shame us for our silence, make us question our ethics, our Humanity. The victims are subjected to the worst form of sexual abuse often accompanied by violence. Dr. Sunitha is a golden ray of hope, inspiration of a better future where every citizen will have a right to choose, and Humanity will not be available for sale.
Dr. KRISHNAN: “Each minute counts. Sometimes, we get information about minor girls, some as young as three, and by the time, we marshal the man power and police protection to mount a rescue operation, it would be too late to prevent the child from being sold into the flesh trade.”
Have you ever spoken ill of a sexually or otherwise abused Victim? Have you ever stigmatized a victim?? Have you ever victimized a victim??
If your answer is “never” then mankind still have some hope, if your answer is something other than that then you need some crucial introspection or we are doomed.
Most of the times we are mute audience to such gruesome activities taking place all around us and that is selling Humanity in real terms.