Human Trafficking Scourge Continues To Grow In Jharkhand

In the last few years, despite many requests and reminders to the Jharkhand Government, on the need to introduce and make strict Anti Human Trafficking Acts, they have so-far failed to act decisively to control the ever-growing menace of Human Trafficking in our state.

Stop Human Trafficking
Stop Human Trafficking

Munni Kumari of Gumla, a teen-aged victim of Human-Trafficking comes to our mind; about year and half ago her case was raised even in Jharkhand Vidhan Sabha. She was allegedly severally beaten with bat burnt with acid by her employees at Lajpat Nagar, completely disfiguring her innocent face. With the help of local district court, her family managed to get her case registered with the Gumla Police. But her case like many other many human-trafficking cases awaits justice.

Recently, we visited few of the posh residential colonies of South Delhi for our personal work and we could see lots of girls, boys, young women, young men looking and sounding as if they are from Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Bengal, etc. We struck conversation with many of them and our worst fear came true, most of them were from the tribal areas of the above mentioned states, with Jharkhand clearly leading the way.

For a Jharkhandi, it was nothing to be proud of.

These youngsters hailing from rural areas of our state work as domestic servants in many of these houses under most trying of circumstances.

But option do these Jharkhandi Youngsters have?

Back home in rural areas of Jharkhand; poverty, deprivation, sorry state of affairs with no infrastructure and not to forget the twin threats from the Maoists and Security Forces; these combined factors could make anyone being feel like being trapped in a deep black hope. With little or no job opportunities to earn the decent living and schemes like MG-NREGA afflicted rampant corruption, it falls to give employment to the majority of rural folks.

Consequently, most of these youngsters while making efforts to break this cycle of their unending miseries and the bleak future; they fall into the honey-trap of the professional human-traffickers operating in their areas. Most of these youngsters are sold on to the dreams of safe life with added perks of money and security. Thereby, these youngsters begin their arduous journey into the murky world of human-trafficking luring them into the exploitative world of domestic helps, brides-on-sale, bonded-labour, prostitution, etc.

The journey from one-hell-hole to another is complete for many of these youngsters. Only miniscule percentages of the youngsters survive the unending ordeal while some of them find decent families as their employers; but the probability of such a scenario unfolding itself is bleak.

Another Human-Trafficking Case

Last month in mid-September, Delhi Police with the active assistance of NGO Shakti Vahini rescued 13 minors (12 girls and 1 boy) and arrested 4 traffickers at the New Delhi Railway Station. These minor victims were taken to Lady Harding Medical College for examination, after that they were shifted to Children’s Home at mayor Vihar.

Rishi Kant of Shakti Vahini told journalists, “We suspect that about 80 children were brought from Jharkhand on the pretext of lucrative jobs by the illegal placement agencies. They were travelling in general compartment of Sampark-Kranti Express Train. Most of these victims belong to Simdega and Gumla districts of Jharkhand.”

It appears that taking advantage of rush at the Railway Station, some of the traffickers managed to escape, before they could be arrested.

Pramod Kushwaha, additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) said, “The arrested persons have been identified as Sunita Devi, 25, Manish Munda, 25, Sanjay Bha, 30, and Munna Munda, 35, all of them belong to Jharkhand. We have also contacted parents of the victims.”

In the past too Delhi Police with the help of NGOs like Shakti Vahini have rescued children from the clutches of wicked human-traffickers.

“We are not sure whether the parents are aware of it or not. Earlier, these notorious traffickers use to misguide the parents, promising jobs and monthly salaries. But once these victims land up in Delhi, the traffickers simply forget their promises,” added D.C.P. Pramod Kushwaha.

D.C.P further said, “We have also found that one of the accused was earlier involved in a sex racket. Now we are trying to find out whether these girls in the age group of 11-17 years were going to be sold into the prostitution rackets of Delhi or neighbouring states.”

Rishi Kant also told, “It is alarming as lot of children being trafficked by such illegal placement agencies, they often sexually exploited them.”

Job Zachariah, Chief of UNICEF Jharkhand Field Office claimed, “Sometimes, abuses start on trains only on their way to the destination, continues at agents’ house and sometimes even at employers’ houses. Maids are now being sourced from Jharkhand.”

The Delhi Police had registered the case under IPC section 363 (kidnapping) at the New Delhi Railway Police Station. Also they have handed over to the anti-human trafficking unit of the crime branch of Delhi Police as they believe that it is a work of well-organized inter-state gang. The authorities at Delhi Police have also contacted their counterparts in Jharkhand to pursue the leads at their ends.

In Delhi, there are far too many illegal placement agencies including domestic help agencies operating under the radar.

These agencies modus-operandi is pretty simple

Firstly, use local people of Jharkhand (it includes many greedy Tribals / Adivasis too) as Agents who can easily persuade people of their area by selling them a dream of better and peaceful life. Besides, the local people tend to become easy prey of the agents who speak in their language and belong to their area.

Secondly, the Middlemen who are from New Delhi, Ranchi or the catchment area of human-trafficking victims, they help the transport of the victims from their homes to their agreed destinations.

Thirdly, the owner of placement agencies or the master-minds behind the human-trafficking operation, they continuously monitor its smooth operation and at the end of it all, they are the ones who decides the fate and placement of each of these victims.

In Jharkhand

Back home in Jharkhand, Inspector General (IG) Police (Organized Crime), Anurag Gupta said, “The girls are mainly from 4 districts, namely, Gumla, Simdega, Dumka and Khunti.” He said it was difficult to stop these girls from leaving the state as none of them was forced to leave.

This is where the Jharkhand Government comes in, they not only need to plug the hole to stop the human-trafficking with the help of police, other officials, NGOs, social activists but they also need to take concrete steps improve the depressing scenario at the rural areas of above named 4 districts of Jharkhand.

It need long-term planning and sustained efforts, but is Jharkhand Government up to it? This is a big question that the Government need to answer.

Sameer Bhagat
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Sameer Bhagat

Author, Salvaging Adidweep.
Sameer Bhagat
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Sameer Bhagat

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Author, Salvaging Adidweep.

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  1. Bengali Brahmin says:

    This is the clear manifestation of the paralysis of the developmental policies of Jharkhand government.I too have come across some familiar faces in and around Safdarjung Enclave in south Delhi. I never asked them anything but I could clearly figure out they were from the tribal areas of Jharkhand or Orissa.Once I had gone to pick up my brother from Anand Vihar railway station,I found 3 young boys who would be merely 15-16 years old .They were begging people for some money.One boy came to me and asked me to give him 5 rupees.He told me that he did not have any food for the last 24 hours.I asked him where did he come from.He answered me that he was from Ranchi.So I gave him 20 rupees.

    But I waited there for sometime and found that all 3 were begging other people too.By that time I had become 100 % sure that they had actually fled from their home ,travelled in General compartment of Jharkhand Swarn Jayanti express without any meal and come to delhi completely exhausted in search of jobs.As being a Jharkhandi ,I myself felt really humiliated ,so again I went to them and gave them 200 rupees. That was the maximum amount I could give them at that time.I told them not to get involved in any illegal activities.They thanked me and told me they would never forget this good Samaritan act.

    If you visit New Delhi and Anand Vihar railway station you would find such things happen quite often.The problem is that benefits of a separate Jharkhand state has accrued only to urban middle class population of cities like Ranchi, Jamshedpur ,Bokaro and Dhanbad.The rural population has always been neglected in the process of development in these 11 years.They have been left on the mercy of the Maoists who would always use this opportunity to propagate their vested interests.

    The government of Jharkhand has signed ample no. of MoUs for so many power plants and steel projects . Even if they materialise on ground,they are not going to help Jharkhandis because the true Jharkhandi souls live in rural areas who are educationally backward compared to their urban counterparts.Suppose if Arcelor-Mittal manages to establish steel plant in any district of Jharkhand ,would it in any way be able to alleviate the poverty of rural population? The answer is both Yes and No .

    No, if we take into consideration the present educational condition of the rural Jharkhandi population .Yes, if the government decides to make them educationally advanced especially in the field of Technical and Management education which are the most sought after requirements to qualify for a good job in any such power plant or steel plant project.Otherwise the rural population will only be forced to surrender their land to contribute to the development of the Nation without getting any benefit out of this development process.They would only be given the jobs of fourth class blue collar worker and that too on a temporary basis.

    Materialisation of all these MoUs on the ground without creating an educationally advanced Jharkhandi work force possessing the necessary technical and managerial skills,would only cause all the jobs landing in the hands of the outsiders on the ground of their technical superiority ,which may create demographic problems for the Jharkhandis in the years to come as happened earlier in the industrial belts of Jharkhand.With the increased rate of Migration in the Jharkhandi community especially among tribals, the process of industrialisation would only aggravate the present socio-economic condition in Jharkhand if it is not integrated with improvement in education system.

    Therefore,instead of stressing on the industrial development,the government should first start establishing quality schools and colleges at par with the best in the country so that our Jharkhandi students can compete with others on equal terms.The government should ensure that they would not be dependent on their caste certificates to be there in IITs/IIMs.You can’t expect a rural student who has always studied in government school of Jharkhand to compete with the students of the likes of DPS R.K.Puram,New Delhi or La Martiniere Kolkata .

    There are complexities of innumerable number of complex problems as far as socio-economic situation in Jharkhand is concerned .There are hundreds of causes for the present pathetic condition of Jharkhandis but the solution lies in only one thing and that is to bring an education revolution in Jharkhandi community.Only when Jharkhandi community is educationally superior it can use the means provided by our democratic system to empower itself socially,economically and politically.

  2. jennie says:

    I read one similar article before. The same is happening in West Bengal and Orissa also and unfortunately most of the victims are Tribals from poor families.

    I wonder if Government has even taken any initiatives to stop human trafficking. I fear not everybody is lucky enough to be saved by few NGO’s. Now its high time for Government to show some action.

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