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.
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.
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 needs to answer.
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