Minor Girls, Women Chief Targets As Human Trafficking Surges

Minor Girls, Women Chief Targets As Human Trafficking Surges
Photo Credit: Paula Rey @Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

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By Chaitanya Mallapur

Trafficking of minor girls – the second-most prevalent trafficking crime – surged 14 times over the last decade and increased 65% in 2014, according to new data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

Girls and women are the main targets of immoral trafficking in India, making up 76% of human trafficking cases nationwide over a decade, reveal NCRB data.

Other cases registered under human trafficking over the last decade include selling girls for prostitution, importing girls from a foreign country and buying girls for prostitution.

Sexual exploitation of women and children for commercial purposes takes place in various forms including brothel-based prostitution, sex-tourism and pornography.

As many as 8,099 people were reported to be trafficked across India in 2014.

Most of the victims (3,351) were registered under immoral trafficking.

Immoral trafficking was followed by human trafficking (2,605), under section 370 & 370A of Indian Penal Code (IPC), which includes men and boys trafficked to work sites such as brick kilns and construction sites.

Traffickers import women and girls from, Indian states aside, a variety of countries, such as Ukraine, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Chechnya and Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Thailand, Malaysia and Thailand, according to this United Nations report.

To counter the surge targeting girls and women, a 2013 amendment to the law provides rigorous punishment from a minimum of three years in prison to life imprisonment to address the trafficking of children, including physical exploitation or any form of sexual exploitation, slavery, servitude or the forced removal of organs.

Photo Credit: IndiaSpend

Photo Credit: IndiaSpend

Human trafficking expands to almost every part of India

Human trafficking in general has expanded to almost every state in the country. Tamil Nadu leads with 9,701 cases over the past ten years, followed by Andhra Pradesh (5,861), Karnataka (5,443), West Bengal (4,190) and Maharashtra (3,628).

These five states are high source as well as destination areas, trafficking women and young girls to red-light areas; they comprise 70% of all reported cases of human trafficking over the past ten years.

However, cases in Tamil Nadu appear to be declining, while West Bengal is reporting a rise.

Tamil Nadu has reported trafficking of young women and children to the red-light areas of Mumbai and Delhi, according to this UN report on Human Trafficking. Raids by police in Tamil Nadu have also revealed the expanding operations of transnational traffickers.

Human-trafficking cases up 92% over last six years

Human trafficking is not an Indian phenomenon. It is the third-largest source of profit for organised crime, after arms and drugs trafficking involving billions of dollars annually worldwide.

In 2014, India reported a surge of nearly 39% in the number of cases registered across the country for human trafficking. Human trafficking cases in India rose 92% over six years between 2009 and 2014. However, these cases declined 55% between 2005 and 2009.

Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act 1956, penalises trafficking of women and children for commercial sexual exploitation.

Photo Credit:AP/ 達志影像

Photo Credit:AP/ 達志影像

Human traffickers are punished, but many get away

Over the past five years, 23% of human-trafficking cases filed ended in conviction. As many as 45,375 people were arrested and 10,134 persons were convicted. Punishments range from fines to imprisonment.

Andhra Pradesh (7,450) reported the most arrests over the past five years. Maharashtra was second, followed by Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.

In all, 2,756 people were convicted in Tamil Nadu, the highest among all states over the past five years, followed by, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh.

One of the reasons for an increase in the number of registered cases in 2014 over 2013 could be better reporting. The government of India is trying a variety of measures to curb human trafficking.

Photo Credit: IndiaSpend

Photo Credit: IndiaSpend

Government steps up efforts to keep up with traffickers

An anti-trafficking nodal cell has been set up under the Ministry of Home Affairs, in addition to Anti-Human Trafficking Units, which will be located in 335 vulnerable police districts; 225 such units are up and running.

The central government released Rs 2.65 crore in 2014 to Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Kerala, Nagaland, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand for anti-trafficking units.

The Home Ministry has also launched a web portal on anti-human trafficking, and the Ministry of Women and Child Development is implementing Ujjawala, a program that focuses on rescue, rehabilitation and repatriation of victims.

(Mallapur is a policy analyst with IndiaSpend.)

The News Lens has been authorized to repost this article. The original text is published onndiaSpend here.

First Editor: Olivia Yang
Second Editor: Yuan


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