Saturday, June 24, 2006

Indian village heads to fight people trafficking

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Village heads across impoverished rural India will be asked to help fight human trafficking by keeping a register of people who leave in search of work.
The United Nations Development Project (UNDP) is also asking village chiefs to watch out for traffickers who lure villagers with promises of well-paid jobs but force them into the sex trade.

Bride sales increase as girls go missing in Gujarat
Ahmedabad: Sale, sale, sale, for one bride, get two grooms free, reads a poster campaign pointing to the stark reality of declining number of girls in India following years of rampant sex selective abortions. ``India`s growing gender imbalance is a cause of concern. As 50 million girls already go missing today, according to the Lancet study -- the fallout of this dangerous trend can destroy the social and human fabric of our country

Friday, June 23, 2006

'India is transit hub for human trafficking'

Thursday, June 22, 2006 08:58:32 pmIANS ]
Iimes of India

NEW DELHI: India has become a key destination and transit hub for human trafficking from East Europe and other places, says a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) sponsored study released on Thursday. Delhi and Mumbai are the favourite destinations for human trafficking from various regions, says the study conducted by NGO Shakti Vahini as part of its project on prevention of Trafficking, HIV and AIDS (TAHA) in women and girls. The NGO works under UNDP India. "Trafficking occurs from Egypt, Brazil, Azerbaijan, Russia and several other Eastern European countries," said the TAHA study. Lots of women are brought from these places to India from where they are trafficked to other places, it said. Shakti Vahini director Ravi Kant painted a gloomy picture of human trafficking in the country. The study said 72 per cent of human trafficking is for commercial sex, 80.26 per cent of trafficking of women takes place in Bihar - most of it happening during migration for labour - and 12.36 per cent of the total trafficking is due to family traditions. "Madhya Pradesh is prominent among the states where women get into sex work and thus get trafficked because of family traditions. Ninety five per cent of the women in Madhya Pradesh in commercial sex are due to family traditions. So are 51.79 per cent in Bihar," said the study. "Although Mumbai and Goa are the favourite destinations for paedophilic activity, where children are trafficked, tourist destinations in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Orissa are also not far behind," Kant said. Out of the 593 districts in India, 378 or 62.5 per cent are affected by human trafficking. The study found that domestic violence, illiteracy, unemployment, poverty, unsafe migration and child marriage are the major reasons for the increasing rate of illegal human trafficking. While 43 per cent of the total women trafficked are minors, 44 per cent of the women are into flesh trade due to poverty. Interestingly, in Kerala, which claims the highest rate of literacy and has a matriarchal tradition, violence is often used to push women into flesh trade. Of the total women who are into sex work in the country, 60 per cent are from the lower and backward class, which indicates the pathetic living condition of the communities. In Madhya Pradesh, 96.7 per cent of the women sex workers are from the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. Although the rate of increase in human trafficking is alarming, Kant said only 7.7 per cent of police officials in the country consider it an issue of high priority. "More than half (54.8 per cent) of police officials think that it is not an issue at all," he said. While Kant pointed out that the country did not have any effective legislation in place on human trafficking, Manjula Krishnan, economic advisor to the women and child development ministry, said the government would focus on prevention, rescue, rehabilitation and sensitisation to fight the menace. Sensing the seriousness of the issue, Femina Miss India World Natasha Suri and Femina Miss India Earth Amruta Patki, who attended the function, said they would make efforts to create awareness about the issue. "I can represent the youth," Suri said. TAHA has initiated efforts with local communities in 300 districts across 11 states to create awareness among the people that trafficking is closely linked to the spread of HIV and AIDS.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A Tribute to our Dear Friend Jayant

A Tribute To Our Dear Friend Jayant
(Star News Assam)

Jayant of Star News Assam died of Brain Hemorrhage on 20 June 2006.

A very sensitive reporter who used to do lot of sensitive reporting on Development issues from Assam and the North East. He regularly used to reports lots of stories from the source area of North East and the Bangladesh Border.

He was associated with Shakti Vahini since 2001. We still remember how he went to the village of Kanika Das (from Hajo, Kamroop) a trafficked girl, who is still reported missing. He took personnel interest in the above case and helped Kanika mother and sister, by doing a half hour story and letting the world know how worse the situation was. He did one of the First stories on Trafficking from Assam to North India. I remember when we were doing press conference in Guwahati Press Club, and he missed our briefing , he took personnel interest to track us and visit our hotel to complete his story. After doing report he took us to his home and we had a happy time with his family.

He was a young man, with lot of sensitivity to work for the rights of victims and letting the world know the REAL stories of humanity. I met him a day before he fell ill on 16th and we had a good discussion about Guwahati Media Coalition workshop on right based media reporting on Trafficking and HIV/AIDS.

He was very happy that the National Media Coalition is doing the conference in September and also helped us by giving valuable suggestions. He said the conference will help media in writing sensitive reporting. He was thankful to UNIFEM for selecting North East which he thought was a neglected sector. He requested us to make drugs trafficking also an issue in the Consultation.

We were scheduled to meet in August but due to his untimely death we will never meet our dear friend again.
The National Media Coalition will mark respect and hold the Guwahati consultation as a tribute to one of the brightest upcoming young Reporter from the North East.

He has left behind his wife and a daughter. We pray to God to give courage to his family members to bear this untimely loss.

Note : Tributes and condolence message for Jayant can be sent and the Blog in the Comments section. The Coalition Secretariat will deliver all the messages to his Family.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Skewed sex ratio is great for business

Paul John& Prashant Rupera, Times of India

SURAT/VADODARA: You might have heard of rent-a-womb, but who ever heard of rent-a-wife - it goes a step further of even wifeswap! And these are certain people - especially in tribal belts - who have sniffed up a rather unusual business opportunity in the difficulty posed by the skewed sex ratio in Gujarat. If many tribal daughters are being sold in marriage, there are also reports of husbands agreeing to their wives staying with higher caste men not able to find a wife in their community for a monthly rental charge! In Netrang taluka in Bharuch, police officials quote the instance of Atta Prajapati allowing his wife Laxmi to stay with a Patel in Mehsana for a monthly rental of Rs 8,000. Laxmi has two children and used to work as a farm labourer at Patel's farm. The demand for brides fuelled by the dwindling number of girls in Mehsana, Patan, Rajkot, Gandhinagar and other districts has inspired many agents and poverty-struck families to capitalise on the situation and make some quick bucks. In certain pockets of Netrang, Valia, Dediapada, Sakbara, Rajpipla and Jhagadia, tribals from Vasava community families can be witnessed entering into financial agreements with brokers - called Vachetias - from Banaskantha, Mehsana and Ahmedabad districts to marry off their daughters to Patels or those from the Thakur community for a price. The broker charges anywhere between Rs 65,000 to Rs 70,000 from the Patel and then pays the Vasava families Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 for their daughters. Many "middlemen" operate in the tribal heartland to supply tribal girls for Rs 500 and Rs 60,000, depending on how desperate the girl's family is. With the demand for girls escalating, a committed agent easily makes Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 2 lakh every month! "We cannot take action against this activity as no one comes forward to lodge a complaint.
We do not rule out the possibility of minors being married off to the rich Patels," says Ankleshwar deputy superintendent of police, Naresh Muniya. The business of selling brides is also going international. In Godhra, Heer Baria's marriage to Kalpesh Patel is the talk of the town. Not because Heer had married an NRI from the US, but because her family was suspected to have taken Rs 1 lakh cash for the marriage. "After the marriage, the Baria family has gone missing from the district. We think they are living in Surat," says Mohan Baria, a community member. Activist Kanu Brahmbhatt concedes that many tribal families in Chotta Udepur and Devgadh Baria get more than Rs 50,000 for marrying their daughters off to men from other communities, especially from North Gujarat and Saurashtra. (Inputs by Radha Sharma in Ahmedabad)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

AIDS, HIV and misery co-exist in relief camps

AIDS, HIV and misery co-exist in relief camps
More than 100 young women have gone missing from the camps over the past two years. Regional analysts fear that such “missing girls” may have been sold into sexual slavery or “temporarily married” ~ often a euphemism for prostitutionImages of guns, drugs and rebels have long defined India’s troubled North-east. Now, a study across eight states in this resource-rich, infra-structure-poor, conflict-scarred region seeks to highlight a new worry: the rising tide of human trafficking ~ mostly women and girls ~ and its potential for hastening the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Missing girls targets of flesh trade

NEW DELHI: Concerned over the severe under-reporting of trafficking cases, the ministry of women and child welfare (WCD) has asked states to register 'missing' girls as trafficked. The issue was discussed in the Central Advisory Committee meeting held last week, and accordingly, instructions were given to state police and administrations. With India topping the list of HIV/AIDS infected people, it is no surprise that it has a thriving flesh trade as well.