Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Human trafficking has spread to 53 of the total 72 districts in State

Tarannum Manjul

Lucknow, July 6: The numbers are damning. Out of the total 72 districts in Uttar Pradesh, as many as 53 districts are known to be the source for human trafficking rackets. That’s not all. A shocking 50.6 per cent prostitutes were trapped into the trade before they were 18 years old, against the national average of 35.47 per cent. These facts have been brought out in two reports — the National Human Rights Commission Report of 2005 and the ‘‘Girls/ Women in prostitution in India’’ by Dr K K Mukherjee, who was commissioned by the Government of India to compile the report in 2004. The reports are a major cause of concern for the NGOs working in the State to prevent HIV-AIDS and trafficking. One such NGO, Shakti Vahini, has prepared a report on human trafficking in 12 States, with special focus on UP. This report was released at a seminar, organised under the UNDP’s Trafficking and HIV AIDS (TAHA) initiative, today.

‘‘These numbers speak volumes about the lack of initiative taken by the State Government and the civil society, Every year, a large number of minor girls are trafficked from and into the State, right under the administration’s nose,’’ said Rishikant, a social activist working with Shakti Vahini at New Delhi who is actively involved with TAHA. He pointed out that although lakhs of rupees are spent each year on stopping inter-State human trafficking, the number of minor girls entering prostitution is increasing. ‘‘With 53 of the 72 districts being high-prevalence areas in the State, one can easily judge the spread of trafficking and the status of women in Uttar Pradesh,’’ said Rishikant. He added that these surveys were carried out in all the 53 districts. Social activists feel there are several reasons for the rising figures. Ajit Singh, associated with Guria, an NGO working with prostitutes in Varanasi, said the main cause was the increasing poverty in the State and crime against women.

‘‘There is a need for proper implementation of the various Acts and rules in this regard. All the special welfare schemes are a mere eyewash,’’ said Singh. The report released by Shakti Vahini today will presented before the meeting of the parliamentary standing committee, where UNDP representatives will be talking to 60 MPs including those from UP. The meeting will be held in Kerala between July 7-9. ‘‘It’s high time that the State which boasts of maximum manpower takes some concrete steps to put an end to trafficking,’’ said Rishikant.

When contacted, the ADG (Inter State Border Police) Vikram Singh said: ‘‘We have done whatever we could. The victim rehablitation process is by far the most compassionate and caring. The entire border force is galvanised and fully geared up to handle this. Trafficking is an international crime syndicate and we need interventions at that level.’’


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