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Where are they…?

Kumari and Jayanti start their day’s work at 4 am every morning. This is the only time these two women get to talk and discuss their problems, before the others arrive. Jayanti has been upset for the last few months. Her teenage daughter ran away with the boy in the next village. How could she have done that? Did she not think of the shame it would bring to the family? Did she not think of what repercussions it would have for her sister who was yet to be married or the difficulty her father would have now to raise a loan for the tractor? But Kumari was wise, she was a true friend. She tried hard to explain to Jayanti that the only way was to accept and forget; after all, 3 years ago her daughter had run away with someone too but with time life had return to routine comfort for her and her family.

While this family rejoices the return of normalcy, there are others, elsewhere who have stopped waiting for normalcy to return. Instead they have gone ahead and created a different normalcy for themselves, very different from what you and I understand.

Rashmi, a teenager on the brink of adulthood, likes music, jeans and Bolywood movies. She giggles while saying that, she is an ardent fan of Hrithik Roshan and doesn’t miss a single movie of his. But, Rashmi faces a daily cruel ordeal which she fervently prays no other human being or child faces. In any given day, she has to serve to 5-6 men - her clients. She is a commercial sex worker, operating from a house which has 7 other girls like her. Rashmi is seventeen years old; she was taken away from her village when she was only fourteen.

She has been going through this humiliation for the past 4 years, so much so, in a way, disheartening it may sound; she has started looking at it as a way of life. She has no shame, but only regret that she will never be able to go back home. She doesn’t have a home to go. She learnt that her parents stopped looking for after a few days thinking that she ran away on her own will. Rashmi, along with three other girls from her neighbourhood was kidnapped and then sold off to an aunty who runs couple of beauty and massage parlours in Delhi.

Every year, girls like Rashmi are reported missing, but in reality, they become victims of trafficking. After hearing her story, I was left wondering for days. How can human beings be sold off like commodities or cattle? Why the families never realised that their children might have been trafficked instead of leaving it at ‘missing’? What greed in a person compels him/her to sell or buy another human being? Have I been a perpetrator too?

What is truly shocking is that human trafficking is globally the most lucrative and profitable sector after drugs and trafficking in arms. According to ILO estimates (International Labour Organisation), this illicit industry generates as much as $32 billion in revenue each year.The trafficker needs no investment, all he heeds is to coax, coerce or dupe victims or the family into a promise full of lies.

Sometimes the vulnerabilities of an individual may also be the cause, apart from reasons such as poverty, gender biases, lack of employment, illiteracy, ethnic conflict and cultural acceptance of the practise by some community. I believe the problem is further compounded due to the growth in sex tourism, the entertainment industry, pornography in print, electronic and cyber media, changing public attitudes towards sex and morality.

What is human trafficking?

Trafficking of human beings, in any form, be it for sexual exploitation or forced labour, is the worst ever crime one can commit. To quote the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (one of three "Palermo Protocols"), defines trafficking in persons as: “The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of 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 labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”
I also got to know that a new trafficking trend has emerged in India, where girls specially minors are sold off as sexual brides. There is a huge demand for these trafficked brides in states like Punjab and Haryana, owing to rampant female foeticide and gross gender imbalance. Girls as young as 11-years old are sold to to 45-year-old men for a pittance of few hundred rupees. They are raped and sexually abused for the purpose of bearing them sons.

Mr. Rishikant from Shakti Vahini (NGO working on anti-human trafficking) informs that in Mewat district (Haryana), on an average one can easily find 5-6 ‘sexual brides’ or ‘paros’ from Assam. The girls are of between 13-22 years and on an average, depending on their looks and behaviour, they are sold for Rs. 3,000 to 60,000 rupees. In most of the cases the marriage doesn’t take place at all. The ordeal doesn’t simply end here. If not sexually satisfying, the women are re-sold and passed over to different ‘owners’. Girls are trafficked from Assam, Tripura, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal, Kerala and Karnataka.

Be it for sexual exploitation, coerced labour or marriage-once trafficked, they are subjected to a life of humiliation and endless horror. Women trafficked for sexual exploitation end up in a vortex of sexual and physical abuse. What is even sad is that they don’t even have the ownership to their own income. The brothel ‘Medame’ and the pimps take more than 70 % of the share. They are not even in a position to meet with up with their daily sustenance .Access to basic health services and even the right to negotiate for condoms is like a distant dream for them. They also run the risk of being exposed to diseases such as tuberculosis, reproductive tract infections, sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

It is not as if the situation is altogether bleak. With the efforts of agencies such as United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime, NGOs, Government machinery and the law enforcing agencies, victims are being rescued, rehabilitated and repatriated, and architects of this crime are being booked under the law. But I wonder if this is enough? As long as demand lives, supply will re-surface.

It is time that we as concerned citizens raise our collective voices and encourage action against the perpetrators-clients, madame, pimps, traffickers and all those people who encourage this crime.

Every individual needs to be informed .Every individual needs to spread awareness so that the motives of the traffickers can be thwarted. Parents need to be vigilant on the online sites the child visits and prevent online predators from communicating with them. Also, the society at large, instead of ostracising the survivors and victims, needs to encourage rehabilitation and re-integration of the survived and rescued victims. We need to restore their dignity, support them in overcoming their scars and give them the respect they deserve and which has been overdue for long.

In India
  • 70,000 – 1 million women and children are in the sex trade in India. Of these 30 per cent are below the age of 20, nearly 15 per cent began sex work when they were below 15 and 25 per cent entered between 15 and 18 years. (NHRC Action Research)
  • 2 million (approx) child commerci al sex workers between the age of 5 and 15 years and about 3.3 million between 15 and 18 years. They form 40% of the total population of commercial sex workers in India. 80% of these are found in the 5 metros, 71% of them are illiterate and 500,000 children are forced into this trade every year. (www.cry.org)
  • 200 girls and women enter prostitution in India on a daily basis and 80 per cent are coerced into it. (SOS 2001)
  • 300,000 to 500,000 children are reportedly doing sex work in India. (NHRC tion Research)
  • Rs 15,000 – Rs 40,000 is what a girl fetches on an average when sold to brothels. (Human Rights Watch 1995)
  • Rs 40,000 crore is what the commercial sex industry generates in India. Of this CSE of children amounts to Rs 11,000 crore. (NHRC Action Research)


* Some of the materials have been reproduced from the document ‘Media Kit by TAHA –UNDP.
* Names changed.

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pinkypradhan's picture

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thomas alex's picture

traficking in human beings is the worst possible crime. even the most advanced societies have not been able to find a way to eliminate this evil from society. according tome the main reasons for this social malise is the prejudice that societies , religions and politics have towards women. from time immeorial women has been subjugated to the worst cruelities in all religions . even in politics women have been, and is still not been given there rightul place even in the united states the right to vote was given to women only in the early 20th century. even now women do not exist in fedual islamic societies except for procreation and fulfilling the carnal desires of men. only by empowering women in all walks of life can this evil be rooted out. when we can think of having a women pope, awoman president of the u.s , women maulavis and allowing women to offer prayers in mosques along wit men, a woman shankaracharya, only then can we have a society devoid of such evils.
bhushan bhagat's picture

I want to information about traffickings in Jharkhand
Nanda Kirati Dewan's picture

Absolute reporting!!!!!!!!!!!!
deepak pradhan's picture

This is an absolute reporting by Pinky Madam.

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Zeliang-Lietzietsu patch up in pre poll landscape

12 Dec 2017 - 11:32am | AT News Dimapur

Kohima: Finally, TR Zeliang and Dr Shurhozelie Lietzietsu have ender differences a couple of months before the assembly polls.

TR Zeliang told MP Neiphiu Rio that he did not approach him in June this year, but an emissary, a close relative of Rio, met him several times with a proposal that both must work together.

In response to a letter to TR Zeliang from Neiphiu Rio, the Nagaland CM wrote to the latter on Monday stating, “According to the formula, I was to canvass for a ministerial berth for you in New Delhi and you would support me in the state.”

Subsequently, when 36 Naga People’s Front (NPF) MLAs, 4 BJP MLAs and 7 Independents lent their support to him through constitutional and democratic means and he became Chief Minister, TR Zeliang said in t7he letter to Rio.

“This exercise was not therefore commenced by me but you and your emissary,” it said.  

After he became CM, in view of Rio’s demand, the NPF MLAs selected him first as interim president and therefore as the president of the party which was allegedly ratified at the general convention held on September 20, 2017, Zeliang said in the letter.

It said that this usurpation was therefore at Rio’s own behest.

Some days back, the letter said, Rio engaged himself in an evaluation exercise by calling the NPF MLAs one by one for change of guard in his favour, which went in vain, it said.

“At the core committee’s meeting held on November 28, 2017, where members raised the question of re-issue of party tickets to them, you rejected it on ground that the time for such a demand had not arisen,” Zeliang further told Rio in the letter.

The letter said Rio also unilaterally rejected the call of Dr Shurhozelie Lietzietsu for reconciliation without consulting Zeliang or his colleagues.

The letter said that it is a public fact that Rio is the architect of NDPP, but he has neither disassociated from NDPP nor from NPF, whereby creating confusions among the followers.

“Fearing uncertainty of their political future, around 28 MLAs came to me and suggested that all of us must reconcile with Dr Shurhozelie Lietzietsu since protection of the party’s ‘cock’ symbol from being frozen was the foremost electoral imperative,” the letter to Rio said.

Accordingly, on December 8, as per wishes of more than a majority of the NPF MLAs, the Memorandum of Reconciliation was signed between Zeliang and Dr Shurhozelie Lietzietsu in the presence of three MLAs each group, it said.

 

This reconciliation also acquires utmost relevance when all Nagas are longing for early solution well before the elections, the letter added.  

Manipur Mega Marathon 2008

17 Feb 2008 - 4:10am | editor
United People's Front, Manipur Organized a Mega Marathon 2008 in Manipur with theme 'Run for your Nation' on 17-02-08 from Khuman Lampak Main Stadium. This is second time which is biggest ever in Manipur. Pix by UB Photos.

Rajdhani Express attack: 50 injured

25 Jul 2012 - 1:46am | editor

A fresh orgy of violence erupted in Kokrajhar on Tuesday where the Rajdhani Express was attacked by some persons even as the entire train services to and from the Northeast was hit. Unidentified persons pelted stones and attacked the coaches of the Guwahati-bound Rajdhani Express at Gossaigaon in Kokrajhar district damaging four coaches, though there was no casualty or injuries. The train has been turned back and halted at Kamakhyaguri station bordering West Bengal, but the authorities were considering to take it to Coochbehar.