Saturday, July 29, 2006

Preventing trafficking of women

Preventing trafficking of womenBy Rita BhowmickFri, 28 Jul 2006, 09:11:00

Women and child trafficking is not only for prostitution but also for pornography which wasn't included in the SAARC Convention, according to the theme presenter Prof. Ishrat Shamim, President, Centre for Women and Children Studies, Bangladesh and she also highlighted that according to ILO Convention no.182 and Second Optional Protocol CRC Article No.3- child pornography is an offence, but it was not also included.Centre for Social Research of New Delhi and Community Action Centre of Nepal jointly arranged a Regional Consultation on "Effective Implementation of the SAARC Convention on Trafficking" on 5 July 2006 in Kathmandu. Nepal with the financial support of South Asia Regional lnitiativel Equity Support Programme, AED.Prof. Ishrat Shamim further said that in the Ninth SAARC Summit, held in Male, the capital of Maldives in 2002, the member countries expressed a combined commitment against the trafficking in women and children and the Member States signed a Convention on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Women and Children for Prostitution.

In 2005, the Member countries ratified and agreed to fulfil the assigned commitment.In her paper titled "Trafficking of Women and Children in Bangladesh : Prevention and Protection", the Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, Government of Bangladesh Dr. Yeameen Akbory said her Ministry is doing a lot of work to combat trafficking of women and children. She said that a task force has been created to tackle the problemme of trafficking under the project 'Coordinated Programme to Combat Child Trafficking' to combat child trafficking, followed by the Counter Trafficking Framework Report: Bangladesh Perspective, a training module has been developed and training has been arranged for the law enforcement officers such as Police, BDR, Ansar, etc. She also said that to reduce trafficking of young girls, a training module named 'Life Skill Management' has been developed and girls are being trained. Underprivileged and poor women are also included in the training programme to increase their level of consciousness.

Through the Information Ministry, TV spots, drama and folk songs these are transmitted regularly. Besides these, the elected members of the local govt. are helping community leaders and Imams to increase consciousness against trafficking and implementing similar projects. Posters and leaflets are also been circulated to make people conscious.President of the Centre for Social Research of India, Dr. Ranjana Kumari said that in all countries, gender imbalance is the main cause of women depression, such as torture, rape, family quarrel, sex victims, etc. Trafficking is also a matter like this. A victim of trafficking is more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. These women are being forced to become prostitutes. Media is also helping to make women a sex object and as a result young boys and girls are easily attracted to indulge in sexual relationships. Now-a-days tourism is also helping the sex business.South Asia Network Against Trafficking (SANAT) is working in the member countries to combat trafficking, but time has come to work in the very interior regions of these countries.

Discussions and dialogues should be done on a regular basis within Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. On the other hand, media should step forward with all its resources to increase massconsciousness. Law making and its implementation is also a very important work to combat trafficking.Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Women and Child of India Nandita Misra said, trafficking violates the basic human rights. So, we must take trafficking as a serious matter. The main objective of this meeting is to combat trafficking, reducing it, compensating it, giving the victims their life back and identifying regional task force. Every year 5 to 7 thousand girls are being trafficked to India because India is the transit, as well as a destination country, she said.Police Super of Delhi, India Mr. Sankar Sen said, girls of 12 to 20 years are being trafficked from Bangladesh and Nepal by alluring them a dream of better life. But ultimately they are being sold to the brothels. Because of the beauty, the Nepali girls have more demand than others. He said that the traffickers have good connections, but the police have no coordination. As a result, to combat trafficking we have to work jointly. He suggests to build coordination among law enforcers working in the border areas, as well as to involve people to combat trafficking by making them conscious. It can be done by a joint venture between government and the civil society, instead of blaming each other for the failures. Mr. Sen also said that the law enforcers, the prosecutors and the court are not giving importance to this matter which must be changed. To eradicate this, a social revolution is needed.The President of Community Action Centre (CAC) of Nepal

Mr. Tulasa Lata Amatya said, now-a-days trafficking in South Asian countries is increasing. Research shows the grave reality in Nepal which is very tragic. In all the SAARC Summits, the traffciking agenda has been discussed, but no joint step has been taken yet. Though a national action plan and a road map have been developed in all SAARC countries, but the implementation has never been undertaken. It is necessary to act jointly by the law makers, planners and ministries.A SAARC Convention on Trafficking of Women and Children in the South Asian region recently has been held in the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu. Different problems of trafficking, possibilities and what to do in the SAARC countries (Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives) were the main topics of this regional consultation. The representatives of SAARC countries promised to work together to solve the problem on the basis of the existing issues in their own countries.
by The New Nation

Number Of Children For Hire In India On The Rise

Number Of Children For Hire In India On The RiseJuly 28, 2006 3:05 p.m. EST
Jacob Cherian - All Headline News Staff Writer
Andhra Pradesh, India (AHN) - Poverty is the driving force behind parents trafficking their children into the domestic service field in India. An average price for a child worker in Hyderabad, India is $152 a year.
If they can cook they will fetch a higher income. These children do not attend school, often engaging in child labor from the age of 6 or 7. The parents of children in this category are sometimes not aware of their whereabouts for up to four months. Despite this, conditions in India are encouraging parents and brokers to actively participate in trading in children for domestic labor.
NDTV reports confirm the Muttadu village in Andhra Pradesh in the Krishna district sends children off to faraway places like Delhi, Kolkota and Hyderabad. Two hundred children are contracted every year from this village alone.
A seven-year-old child trades for $87 on the market, whereas a 14-year-old can get a broker up to $330 for a period of one year. Half of the money is split with the parents. Girls are preferred over boys due to their submissive nature and for staying out of trouble.
When reporters from NDTV asked the Minister of the district about the appalling trade of children, he said that he was unaware of the existence of such a practice and that he would inquire about it.
Many social advocates feel that since domestic labor is considered non-hazardous, the issue is not taken seriously. However, an NDTV reporter cited physical abuse - in a case when an employer blistered a child for boiling milk 10 minutes late.
An estimated 30,000 - 40,000 domestically employed children are said to be working in Hyderabad alone, driven by the high demand for domestic help, poverty and the vested interest of brokers.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Police rescue 160 children from child labour

Cuddalore, July 27. (UNI): The police on Wednesday rescued about 160 children from a Nagappatinam bound "Cholan Express" at railway station here this afternoon.
The children aged between ten to 14, were said to be brought by a private contractor from West Bengal to work in a Myladduthurai ONGC plant.
Police said, on a tip off received from Chennai Child Line office on Wednesday morning, the Child Welfare Committee informed Cuddalore Superintendent of Police Sanjay Kumar that three general boggies of the Cholan Express were carrying the children to make them work in the plant. When the train reached the station at around 1330 hrs, the police along with railway officials rescued the children. On questioning, the children, who knew only Bengali and a little of Hindi, informed the police that two persons were taking them in the train and they managed to escape when they saw the police. The children said the agents paid money to their family inorder to bring them here to work for a private contractor, who had taken up contract work with ONGC plant.

Later, the children were sheltered at a marriage hall at Tirupatiratpuliyur here.
Police had informed the Child Welfare authorities concerned.
A search was on for the two agents, who brought the children.
Co-passengers in the train said the two persons, who looked like North Indians were accompanying the children, police added.

US, Canadian team to conduct joint probe with Punjab cops

US, Canadian team to conduct joint probe with Punjab cops
Harpreet Bajwa Indian Express

Chandigarh, July 26: THE USA and Canadian immigration and law enforcement agencies, along with the Punjab Police, will conduct joint investigations into human trafficking, narcotic smuggling and community-specific crimes, including dowry, domestic violence and forceful marriages.

Sources in the police said a high-level team of the US immigration and enforcement services— along with Canadian E Division Border Integrity Programme officials and Royal Canadian Mounted Police officials— recently held a meeting with intelligence and crime wing officials of the Punjab Police.

The visiting team gave presentations on active gangs of human traffickers, whose networks were spread over several parts of India, with Punjab and Mumbai being the nodal centres of their activities.

Sources said a Punjabi human trafficker, Kewal Multani, who was recently arrested by US authorities, had about 20 persons working for him in India, mainly Punjab, who illegally send people to the US and Canada. “Multani’s and other gangs are now using hi-tech methods to carry out their operations. In Canada and the US, these gangs have their operators both on the eastern and the western coast, and Seattle is the nerve centre of their operations. They specialise in ferrying people from the US to Canada and vice-versa,” said a Punjab Police officer.
The other point discussed at the meeting was narcotic smuggling. The Punjab Police were informed that women from India were being sent with consignments of drugs to Canada, as airport authorities were less strict there.

The foreign team also wanted help from the Indian counterparts in tackling community-specific crimes, for they feel that understanding the social fabric is important to solve the cases.
A senior officer said, “This joint team of US and Canadian officials has also visited Mumbai.”
Punjab Police officials informed the team that last year, they arrested 250 persons for human trafficking, which is a Rs 500-crore per annum business.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Kokrajhar, 24rd July, 2006
Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), Assam

Another shocking news from massive joint rescued operation in different railway stations of lower Assam from 23rd to 24th July 2006, rescued 66 women and girls from being trafficked, hailing from different ethnic communities, Bodo and Rajbongshi, mostly from ethnic conflict hit villages and flood affected areas of Baksa (BTC) Nalbari, Kamrup, Udalguri, Boropeta, Dhubri and Goalpara districts were rescued from Gujarat bond DN 5636 train Okha express at Kokrajhar, Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) Assam railway station. Similarly last year on 24th August 2004, 200 women and girls were rescued from the same train. It is suspected that they were lured by the Pimps (dalal) in the pretext of lucrative job in Gujarat. It is the second biggest raid operation conducted in the North East region.

The raid was jointly conducted by NEDAN FOUNDATION, All Bodo Student Union (ABSU), All Bodo Women Welfare Federation (ABWWF), CRPF stationed at Kokrajhar and Kokrajhar district Police. The Gujarat bond Okha express was forced to stop in three different station such as Rongia, Bongaigaon and Kokrajhar station as soon as the tip-off information was received. Most of the women and girls boarded the train from different station in-order to avoid suspicion of public. The raid operation was planned and conducted accordingly.

The 66 rescued were the age group of 15-30, most of them are school drop out. As per the information given by the rescued women they were offered job in Gujurat and rest would be taken care. Non of the rescued were given details of the company where they will be working/would be recruited. The main accused, Mr. Raju who goes to the poverty stricken villages to gather young girls for the lucrative job in the cities, was also arrested.

The concerted efforts of NEDAN awareness building on Trafficking and HIV/AIDS finally open up the eyes of the larger ethnic community on human trafficking network that has been operational in the North East region.

Punjab Sees Growing Human Trafficking Rings

Punjab Sees Growing Human Trafficking Rings

Indian youth desperate to seek better lives in foreign countries
Neel Kamal (neelkamal)

Published 2006-07-25 10:53 (KST)

The unabated wheeling and dealing with human lives to settle them abroad is taking shape in the form of organized crime with billions of dollars at stake and unspecified laws of the land providing a them with a level playing field. The mirage of a better future in foreign lands despite the uncertainties is becoming the fancy of many youth at this place of plenty called Punjab. Ever increasing fly-by-night travel agents are benefiting from this trend.Taking a cue from lopsided government policies and immediate monetary gains, big time politicians to religious preachers, artists and athletes are indulging in this lucrative racket of human trafficking. Shrinking job avenues for young lower- and middle-income households along with the craze for a life full of green pastures are flourishing this illegal trade. The numerous tales full of woes regularly found in the media well pronounces the pliable youngsters fading into obscurity, but it is to no avail as more and more are complying. The registered cases of fraud are just the tip of the iceberg as many go unreported.

The open display of wealth and affluence by Westerners attracts not only gullible young people, but highly skilled professionals also go a long way to vie for the chance to flee, ever ready to part with their valuables. Not only illiterate unskilled and skilled workers, but a substantial percentage of educated youth are becoming victims of this smuggling knowing well the consequences. Rural Punjabi youth are selling their land holdings to go abroad, while city youth are seeking easy money from private banks.Though there is not an authentic report or study to reveal the value of this trade, unconfirmed figures put the immigration cartel at several billion dollars a year, most of it being pocketed by overseas agents, as well as travel agents in India.

The soliciting of clients by luring them for jobs overseas is major tool used by these cartels. In the absence of any specific laws to prohibit the practice, youngsters are becoming targets. The youth of Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Hoshiarpur and Nawashahar (districts of Punjab) are leading the pack to usher in Western shores and now even the Malwa youth are not wanting to play a second fiddle to their affluent brethren.The thought of living in a Western country is so engraved in the minds of Punjabis that they do not even shy away from exploring the not so desirable routes to reach their favored destinations. In the process, some end up in jail or dead, as in the case of the Malta tragedy that has haunted hundreds of Punjab families for more than a decade.The figures of youth coming in the clutches of travel agents are astronomical with many illegal immigrants being deported. The Jalandhar regional passport office got 15,785 inquiries in 2000 about people held captive abroad. The figure rose to 21,571 in 2001, 24,398 in 2002, 21,156 in 2003 and 19,101 in 2004.

The situation is so grave that in the tiny district of Kapurthala 52 cases were registered in 2005 and 44 travel agents suspected of trafficking were nabbed by Punjab police. Agents have lost several billions of dollars as the result of these stings. Punjab police registered more than 500 cases against travel agents in 2005 with Jalandhar topping the list with 118 cases, followed by Kapurthala with 77 cases. Hoshiarpur had 58, Ludhiana 60, Patiala 38, Nawashahar 26, Amritsar 18 and Barnala 15 cases.Lok Bhalai Party president and former Labor Minister Balwant Singh Ramoowalia summed up the situation saying, "Rome is burning and Nero is playing his flute," accusing the CM Amrinder and his predecessor Parkash Singh Badal of doing nothing to save Punjab from these activities.He says gangs of agents are plundering money with Punjab becoming the safest place for looting, but no one is coming forward to avoid this open loot. He says LBP is doing the yeoman service to rescue Punjabi youth from foreign jails and the mainline political party should follow suit.ADGP (CRIME) Punjab says the government is working on a proposal to register and properly license the travel agents, so that whenever any duping takes place, agents could be prosecuted by easily identifying the activity. He says the police have the view that the district DC and SSP should have the legal powers to arrest the agents and sentence them to severe punishments, only then the menace could be controlled to some extent.
2006-07-25 10:53 (KST)

©2006 OhmyNews

Slave labour in the Blue Mountains

Slave labour in the Blue Mountains
Email Print Normal font Large font July 21, 2006 - 7:36PM

A restaurateur accused of keeping a slave and forcing him to work seven days a week without pay has become the first person in Australia charged with a new people trafficking offence.

Yogalingam Rasalingam, who owns a string of Indian restaurants in the Blue Mountains in NSW, faced Sydney's Central Local Court today after being arrested when he flew in from India last night.Acting on a tip-off from a human rights institute, Australian Federal Police raided Rasalingam's Taste of India restaurant in Faulconbridge on July 13, where they discovered 23-year-old Indian man Anbalagan Rajendran. According to tendered police documents, Rasalingam promised Mr Rajendran a better life if he worked for him in Australia, and paid for his flight and visa. But when Mr Rajendran arrived in Sydney on June 1, Rasalingam allegedly took his passport and made him live in a tin shed behind his Faulconbridge home.

Mr Rajendran was allegedly forced to work at least 11 hours a day, seven days a week, as a kitchenhand at Faulconbridge, as well as at Rasalingam's Star of India restaurants at Glenbrook and Richmond. He was allegedly told he would have to work for four years to pay off a debt for bringing him into Australia. Rasalingam allegedly escorted Mr Rajendran to and from the restaurants, denied him days off and threatened to send him back to India if he did not work every day. Court documents allege he "has had to work every day since he arrived in Australia", but has been paid no money and has no access to funds. Mr Rajendran was denied painkillers when he complained of pain from standing for long hours and from lifting heavy pots and pans, the court was told.

He phoned his mother in India about his treatment and also contacted his father. Magistrate Allan Moore heard that he is now "in care". Rasalingam, a father of two who owns four restaurants, was arrested last night when he arrived at Sydney airport after two weeks in India.He was charged with a new people trafficking offence, specifically that he organised Mr Rajendran's entry to Australia and deceived him about the fact that his entry and stay would involve confiscation of travel documents.

He is the first person charged with this offence, which was introduced last August and carries a maximum penalty of 12 years' jail. Rasalingam also was charged with intentionally exercising control over a slave, an offence which attracts up to 25 years' jail. Rasalingam has denied the allegations, telling police he had not formally paid Mr Rajendran because he gave his father in India an advance payment of $7000. He said he had the man's passport to apply for a tax file number and would have returned it had Mr Rajendran asked for it. "He stated that Rajendran could do whatever he wanted, he just had to ask - but he never did," police allege.

Mr Moore granted Rasalingam bail, but he will remain in custody until he can raise the required $100,000. His lawyers expect to seek his release on Monday.


Human trafficking : 21 points in border areas vulnerable

Human trafficking : 21 points in border areas vulnerable

By Staff Reporter

Sun, 23 Jul 2006, 10:57:00

Human trafficking is the third most profitable business after drugs and gunrunning in the South Asian region and twenty-one points in the border have been identified as vulnerable areas in Bangladesh.The government should open up dialogue on trafficking issue in Parliament to curb this scourge in the country.This was said at a press briefing on 'Lobby Document for Effective Implementation of the SAARC Convention on Trafficking' at the Seminar Room of Centre for Women Studies (CWCS) in the city yesterday.

The CWCS organised the briefing to disclose some recommendations from the national consultations in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, which were presented at the International Conference of the SAARC Convention on Trafficking held at Katmandu in Nepal on July 5 and 6. Prof Ishrat Shamim, President and Prof Latifa Akanda, Adviser of the CWCS, media persons, among others, were present at the briefing.Prof Shamim said that representatives from the SAARC countries recommended widening of the scope of SAARC Convention to exceed beyond prostitution to include many types of exploitations, including forced and indentured labour, camel jockeys and organ transplantation.

They also recommended inclusion of at least two members from civil society groups and activist, who are working on the issue of trafficking, to be nominated by each country in the SAARC Task Force, for monitoring the implementation of the SAARC convention by the member countries.There should be a separate department of the government in each SAARC member country to work on trafficking in persons as one of the emerging critical areas and not an annexure to different ministers such as Home, Law, Department of Women and Child Affairs, they added.They also recommended developing a cross border mechanism for repatriation of trafficked victims in line with the Bangladesh model agreement and inter-regional and intra-regional cooperation between governments to strengthen NGO networking in the borders.Representatives further demanded coordination between the SAARC Secretariat, line ministers of the national governments and civil society.

The South Asia Network Against Trafficking (SANAT) had formulated the lobby document after national consultations in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, which had created a lobbying group at the regional level and the network comprises of key stakeholders and opinion makers, who were engaged in continuous advocacy activities for the effective implementation of the SAARC Convention in their respective countries.

© Copyright 2003 by The New Nation

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.’’

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

OBC girls trafficking: Backwards panel orders probe

OBC girls trafficking: Backwards panel orders probe
Tarannum Manjul

Lucknow, July 24: With over 40 per cent girls trafficked from the state hailing from Backwards Classes, the state’s Backward Classes Commission today asked the Home department to probe the issue. In a letter issued to the department, the Commission asked for a report within 15 days.

The Commission’s order comes in the wake of a Newsline report on July 7, which said against the national average of 21 per cent, the percentage of OBC girls trafficked in the state is an alarming 41.36.

The Newsline report was based on the findings of a Delhi NGO —Shakti Vahini — and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

In his letter to Principal Secretary (Home), the Commission’s chairperson Jagannath Prasad Yadav said: “The Commission has taken a serious note of the report published in ‘The Indian Express’ and is really concerned about the welfare of OBC girls in the state.”

The letter said the Commission will give suggestions to the state government based on the Home department’s report.

A copy of the letter was also sent to the Secretary (Women and Child development), seeking details about the department’s schemes in OBC-dominated districts. “These figures are horrifying,” Yadav told Newsline. “The state government has so many schemes for the welfare of Backward Classes in the state, but still UP tops the lists of states where maximum number of OBC girls are trafficked.”

He added that the Commission is trying to look not only at the reasons behind the problem but also look for solutions.

Monday, July 24, 2006

SC asks Goa, 6 others for report on trafficking of minors

SC asks Goa, 6 others for report on trafficking of minors
PTI, Navhind Times Goa

New Delhi, July 23: Expressing serious concern over growing incidents of trafficking of minor girls and women in the country, the Supreme Court has sought response from the seven worst affected states on how to tackle the menace.

Hearing a public interest litigation filed by a NGO, ‘Shakti Vahini’, a bench of Mr Justice K G Balakrishnan, Mr Justice Tarun Chatterjee and Mr Justice D K Jain asked these states to respond to the reports prepared by National Human Rights Commission and National Commission for Women which depicted a grim scenario in the seven states.

According to NHRC and NCW reports incidents of trafficking in girls/women are very high in the states of West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
The bench asked the chief secretaries of these states to articulate their response within six weeks detailing their strategies to check it.

If the states did not file their replies within the stipulated time-frame, the court would pass “appropriate orders”.The petitioner NGO alleged that the trafficking in girls and women amounted to violation of their human rights and fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution.

In fact the states have already filed a general reply to the petition but the court wanted them to respond to the specific findings of the NHRC and NCW reports on the issue.The ‘amicus curiae’ submitted that the problem had assumed serious proportions and the states needed to address it in the light of the reports prepared by the NHRC and the NCW which indicated latest trend of trafficking in the country.

The court observed that without getting response from the states, it will be difficult to decide the PIL