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[RESEARCH] Human Trafficking In India: How It Happens, What To Do

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By Shivani Singh:

It’s hard to imagine that a world which talks about love, peace and brotherhood amongst fellow human beings has a dark secret staring and mocking at its true reality. India is listed in the Tier II list of the UN which includes countries which have failed to combat human trafficking. The concept of trafficking denotes a trade in something that should not be traded in. Human trafficking as defined by the UN is, “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or service, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”

It is a really sad situation which India is facing. In almost every city there are certain parts filled with brothels. Human trafficking includes sexual exploitation, labour trafficking, etc. Nowadays even cross-border human trafficking is prevalent. India has a huge population and because of that and our dwindling economy many people live below the poverty line. The smugglers and traffickers promise them a better life- a ray of hope, jobs as domestic servants, in the film world or in factories. They can offer them money, pleasure trip invitations or false promises of marriage.

The main targets are the people who lack job opportunities, who have been victim to regional imbalances or social discrimination, mentally disturbed, or the people who have growing deprivation and are from the marginalized communities or people caught in debt bondages or because their parents think that their children are burden and sell them off — in simple words- the poor, helpless people are the ones who are exploited the most.

It has now become an organized institution and we as youth have to do everything to remove this social vice from our country because the deliberate institutionalized trafficking of human life is the greatest degradation to the dignity of human personality. Human trafficking happens because of a simple concept which the traffickers believe in- that the human body is a expendable, reusable “commodity”. Several things happen during a “human being sale” from selecting, tricking, intimidation and deception of the victim to the transportation of them to the “location”. Then comes the possible change to the “central place” where the actual trafficking takes place in large numbers, there are many elements involved.

The recruiters are the first in the chain —often called as the “dalals” — they may be parents, neighbours, relatives or lovers or people who have been trafficked before. The dalals move to the “potential sites” for victims which mostly are the poverty-stricken areas where there has been no proper rehabilitation and then they haunt the bus stops, railway stations, streets, etc. The period they choose for trafficking depends on if that place has suffered a drought or social or political disasters recently, so that it would be easier to lure in the already suffering victims. The dalals use drugs, abduction, kidnapping, persuasion or deception to bag the targets.

The dalals usually happen to know many languages, including the local one, so that they become closer to the victim. Because in India corruption is so deep rooted, the network of such people sometimes includes the police, the visa/passport officials, taxi/auto rickshaw drivers, etc. They hand the victims to the brothel owners, escort services, or managers of a sex establishment. The reasons for human trafficking are many, despite 60 years of independence, the benefits of economic development have not trickled down to the marginalized sections of the society and millions of people still live below the poverty line. The poverty and hunger makes children and women belonging to the poor sections of the society highly vulnerable to human trafficking. Social and religious practices too have been a big cause. There is an inexplicable apathy in the approach of law enforcement agencies when it comes to dealing with human trafficking. Purposes include forced prostitution, marriage, domestic labour, bonded labour, agricultural labour, industrial labour, entertainment, begging, adoption, drug smuggling and peddling and organ transplants .As India sees towards the world, it leaves behind the scars on its ground —the poor who are exploited .

We can take help of the media-spread awareness. The government, in association with the NGO’s, is taking steps to improve the situation but this much is NOT enough. We as youngsters should stop this. Even little things like helping out the malnourished, poor or treating the house maids properly can make a difference because they form the major causes for human trafficking. Multinational enterprises that enter the Indian economy can lead by example.  They can refuse to do business with companies that knowingly engage in the inhumane practices of employing bonded laborers.

The Indian government has laid down laws in the Constitution like the Suppression of Immoral Traffic in Women and Girls Act, 1956, The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, and many others . In September 2006, the Indian government responded to the trafficking issue by creating a central anti-trafficking law enforcement “nodal cell.” The nodal cell is a federal two-person department responsible for collecting and performing analysis of data related to trafficking, identifying the causes of the problem, monitoring action taken by state governments, and holding meetings with state-level law enforcement.  In 2007, three state governments established anti-trafficking police units, the first of this kind in the India.

The emerging scenarios are certainly positive but displaying full-page advertisements against child labour, women slaves, etc in national newspapers at periodic intervals is not enough. We have to wake up before it’s too late. We can take up community surveillances which will help check ongoing trafficking activities. Establishing women’s groups which will help take care of the women in the underprivileged societies since women and girls are the most affected victims. We as the youth can take up initiatives to spread awareness programs in villages, local schools, among kids of the poor society and children suffering from parents and poor conditions where help can be provided.

Another initiative which can be taken up is the involvement of the trafficked victims and helping them tell their story so that this kind of inhuman treatment doesn’t happen to others. Human trafficking lowers the value of human life; it brutalizes the society and violates our belief in the human capacity for a change. So let’s work for a better future for our country and CHANGE- something that India only talks about, let’s turn it into reality.

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  1. Siddhartha

    Production of Space.Most of the communities in India (such as Bengali), are succumbed in ‘Culture of Poverty'(a theory introduced by an American anthropologist Oscar Lewis), irrespective of class or economic strata, lives in pavement or apartment. Nobody is at all ashamed of the deep-rooted corruption, decaying general quality of life, worst Politico-administrative system, weak mother language, continuous absorption of common space (mental as well as physical, both). We are becoming fathers & mothers only by self-procreation, mindlessly & blindfold. Simply depriving their(the children) fundamental rights of a decent, caring society, fearless & dignified living. Do not ever look for any other positive alternative behaviour (values) to perform human way of parenthood, i.e. deliberately co-parenting of those children those are born out of ignorance, real poverty. All of us are being driven only by the very animal instinct. If the Bengali people ever be able to bring that genuine freedom (from vicious cycle of ‘poverty’) in their own life/attitude, involve themselves in ‘Production of Space'(Henri Lefebvre), at least initiate a movement by heart, decent & dedicated Politics will definitely come up. – Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay, 16/4, Girish Banerjee Lane, Howrah-711101, India. 

    1. nazeema

      we all should give a hand for the development of our country n the people who have been effected by these kind of things……..

  2. Basundhara Das

    hi…im a student of sociology n m very very intrstd workn in dis area as i look fowrd to b a social worker…. I have alwyz been scared to be traffikd into prostitution, dont know why bt i alwz ws n naw i choose dis field of work.. i really do want to do my bit as a youth whose aware of these happenings… Coz der really 10000s of girls scared to grow up as a lady in dos places where traffickn has becum a normal thing, n sum has taken dis to a natural phenomena dat they r suppose to undergo wen they grow or may even when they are young…
    Removing Traffickn frm d roots in India is jus next to impossble coz dere lys many many diff reasons behind it. I am soley mentioning India cuz here d people who are victimized are mostly uneducated and unaware. Apart frm education ders financial problms dat lead to dis, Greed of money, birth of girl child, helpless situations can also b considered as sum of d reasons.. Its really sad dat inspite of d fact dat our country is developing in various ways ,it still has problems dat cannot be cured or removed… Today we talk about Women Empowerment bt where are we empowering?? having our girls sold in the Human market? or having a large growing section of our girls scared to grow ? or arnt d girls in such areas a part of d Empowerment??
    Is it soo hard for us to understand that it also effects our society badly, above that its effecting d Human beings.. its pathetic to see, hear ,know that human beings have degraded so badly, thay r d dirtiest beings in dis whole universe.

    Personally i really do want to work for this and i will do it n dats fo sure. Its their (girls) life so no one has the right to take decision on it…

    1. Neelima Jain

      I em quite much impressed with your nice thots abt human trafficng…. keep it up and go-ahead!

  3. Akshay.S

    hi,, friends i request all my peoples of this country to move against this dirty system like human trafficking. please see all sex workers like our mothers and sisters by this we can control human trafficking. i request all youths to fight against blue films so that we can control in some level. i don’t know why, nobody is fighting against the blue films. blue films are the main object to destroy the youths and this helps lot to increase the sex works. so i request all to fight against blue films.

    1. Neelima Jain

      Hello Akshay,

      I am quite much impressed with your nice opinion about human trafficking…. keep it up and go-ahead! I am also in the queue and going to give a presentation soon in my office. I will mention your points as well.

  4. Mohit Amarnani

    just by submitting a comment here wont help any1…………we shud move ahead and step up against all wats happening around us rather than sitting and commenting…….if der is sm1 whos actively reading this comment den my number is 09648920909(mohit)…….i want to actively take part in this social activity and want to finish it from the root……….i dnt know whether ill b able to do it or not but 1 thng is for sure dat am gonna try and try my level best……..

    1. Neelima Jain

      Mohit, your thought is very fair. I am really in favor of this because sometimes we just keep think however not able to be active. so acc. to u rather than sitting, tagging or commenting on fb or any networking sites. we need to stand up.
      let me know the best what we can do because i am also very serious for that and wanna do something for them.
      I am also in the queue and going to give a presentation soon in my office. I will mention your points as well.

  5. Rustom

    Being a part of the Bodo community and understanding that the Bodo community being as one of the trafficked community in Assam, I appeal all Bodo peoples to raise their thumbs up to fighting this crime against humanity. Being a policeman having commitment to root out this menace of trafficking of humans I appeal the people of this state and the country to let me know about the damn traffickers and help me to rescue those poor folks. My Number 09435326769. “DOWN WITH THE TRAFFICKERS”.

    1. Amit Kumar Biswas

      Good job officer…..i wish i would have been with you there!

  6. veenu arora

    hi… am veenu pursuing IT engineering….I JUST REALLY LOVE MY INDIA n really whenever i hear some news of this kind or watch any movie leaves a profound effect on my heart…i just makes me feel that my life is useless and its useless to make money when so many indians are in such a darkness… I really dont to what to do about it and how can i do it… I just know that i have to do something…. Anyone looking forward to take any step in this direction or is already doing something, i request to them to get me involved there..Its we youth only who have to make a change.. my email id is – I will really work with full dedication for my country…

    1. Neelima Jain

      Thank you so much now i really motivated a lot with your participation. Actually we ALL Indians are pretty much aware with the dark circumstances however we don’t know the complete process to eradicate this.
      Anyway I am also in the queue and working on that along going to give a presentation soon in my office for awareness.

  7. Ajay Arora

    Hi Everyone,
    Last night I saw a episode of Crime Patrol on “Human-Trafficking” telecasted on Sony TV. The incident was from New Delhi’s-Khajuri Khaas Area actually happened in july 2011. A woman by showing her false love and affection kidnapped a 16 year girl and delievered her to some other woman in Haryana (Kurukshetra). The other woman sold “may be this word is not approporiate” but yes she sold the girl for just Rs. 50,000 to a 31 yr old MAN who 2 months earlier divorced his wife because she was unable to produce a “Boy” from last 3 pregnancies. They illegally had that pre-sex detrmination and dropped the girl babies before their birth.The MAN forcefully raped the girl for next two months so that he can have a “BOY” “who later will follow his father’s path and will make his dad feel proud”. The main thing that came as shock was, that his mother was also supporting the MAN in this Crime “I think She might have forgot that once she was also a girl or might be she have just changed her SEX, SEX-ORIENTATION(technically)”.But yes unfortunately in sept. 2011 some how girl got a chance to call her father and thanks to technology, the phone location got traced and the MAN, the two women “SalesMAN” “kidnapper and the delievery head” got caught. Not ironically, but dil se thanks to Delhi Police for their search operation. So what my point is:-
    What is actual reason for Women Trafficking?
    Is it the hunger of having a “BOY”?? … or is it money matter?? or is it just sex??
    Who is responsible?? The MAN?? The Woman “salesMAN”?? The Mother?? Or the thinking of people??
    What should be changed?? Should we give birth to a new Human Race who think like ideals like gandhi or bhagat sing for our country?? Or try changing human minds by teaching them why they should change their thinking or every human being itself think himself on his own that whatever we are doing today will be reflected today. If today you are playing a Devils role tomorrow you have to face a Devil. So if tomorrow you want to see angels you have to act like them from now itself.
    I dont think this write up will bring a huge change to human minds but if it can make one positive attitude person then i think my write up is worth writing.

    Thank You
    Ajay Arora

    P.S:- Somewhere i used strong ironic statements. Please forgive me for that.

    1. ILma

      I think its right but not only we can change the thinking of the peoples …
      we all have to try together……
      only then it will be possible,…

    2. kanik09

      In this case dude,all are respondible..the main problem is the governance of haryana govt…Haryana govt shud frequently check this nuisance in their state as all of us know that this thing happens only in haryana and punjab…i know many cases which r not even registerd of girls trafficking..main problm is the Haryana Govt. poor governance of state..

  8. darshan

    The attempts made by police may curb this evil ,for that police system must work hard and take effective steps to solve the missing cases and take personal interest to solve the crimes. trafficking is an evil against the society.

  9. Kristin Braddock

    Sign this petition to criminalize sex-traffickers in India, we’re trying to reach 10k by March. It takes less than 30 seconds of your time:

  10. BHARAT

    My special message to those youth who goes to a prostitute to fulfil their sexual needs, but before this just once only once think and ask from your inside soul that whoom they are buying is willing to this job or is forced to do this job I am 90% sure that they were forced and still forced to do this job. I was not beliving on gandhijis said that “tea will be sold in india uptill there r buyers” same human trafficking also be done untill there are buyers. So youth stand up against human trafficking and help those people

    I invite to NGOs to send me e-mail who r fighting and helping out those peoples who wants to come out, may be we can save more lives.

    Its request to every youth to participate in.

    1. Neelima Jain

      We are with you. Let us know what we can do for such a bullshit things.

  11. Neelima Jain

    Guys, please don’t waste your time especially for HT.
    I dnt know there are so many govt. orgn and NGO’s in our INDIA, are they not able to do or they are not getting proper support for our leaders (which we really don’t like).
    I really wanna do sth for them, can any one let me know the proper process so we can stand up. If we all youth will against on this then it will affect on overall system means GLOBALLY.
    I am also in the queue and going to give a presentation soon in my office for awareness or in the fb also so we can receive heavy no. of ideas thru that..

  12. Shyam

    Hi friends this is our individual and union responsibility to redeem our neighbor human-beings from the trafficking as a human beings irrespective of caste, gender. age.ethnic. status.and location!

  13. Thilakmsw

    This is Thilak,
    hai friends, am a Social Work student and am a trainee in Odanadi Organisation, Mysore which is working for women & child development. Here ever day i’m seeing this dirty trafficking. I dont need other’s comments related to this trafficking. My only thing is to destroy this bleddy trafficking. I dont no how to destroy this, but i wil destroy this completly by putting my own effort.


    its Ramya .E here….
    yes friends even i feel i to do something for my nation as I’m a LLB student of university law college…. but i have never come across any such instances in my life… i have just listening and watching in t.v instead really…its my good fortune that nothing is happening around me or it might be im not aware of it… but guys we have to take of our INDIA and see that we people try stopping it… i hope to see our nation soon free from all these kinds of crimes against women….. JAI HIND….

  15. Ruchikar Jha

    I am working in Prayas Juvenile Aid Center as Tracking Manager, closely monitoring human trafficking on Indo Nepal border. I have found lack of education, absence of family planning are the main reason

  16. Santosh Silam

    Hello Guys,

    We are Social Chemistery Organizers and Promoters are launching an event about Rape and Human Trafficking Cases.
    We are in Pune, Maharashtra. Let me know if you guys can put in your efforts.
    Thanks in Advance.
    Contact – Mr Santosh Silam +918983537342.

  17. shanthkumar

    in india there is a slogan ” paisa tho randi bi karlethe(money will be made by prostitute)” but in actuality prostitute don’t make money if any body makes money from sex business is the pimps often called has dalals .

  18. Kamal

    As a citizen of India, I really feel for the unfortunate many who are being made scapegoat without their consent and out of sheer blind faith on others whether known or unknown. This is absolutely an infringement on the right to live. It questions our freewill. I feel that the challenges are many and are complex. But my opinion is Action speaks louder than words. We all know our government is incapable to deal with any issues. Youth only can save our country. There are few points which I would like to share with you all:
    1) Every student must be made aware about this INHUMAN TRAFFICKING.
    2) In Schools and Colleges arrange the Street Plays to spread the awareness.
    3) The target segments of these organized criminals are always the rural and illiterate people so that Street Plays in their own language would be beneficial.
    4) “EACH ONE TEACH TWO” I follow this mantra. It is responsibility of each one of us to educate the neighbor and our own community members first. That is a most accessible place to us as we are in touch with them daily. We never know the Molesters might be right within our known circle.
    5) Whenever we see or hear about young minor child working nearby us, It is our moral responsibility to inform the nearby police station with the Video Proof of the working child that has to be uploaded in YouTube and also needs to mailed to local and national news channel first. With the valid proof the accused would not get away easily.
    I am doing my bit to help those in need, would appeal to one and all to eradicate this INHUMAN ACTIVITY from the grassroots.
    Arise! Awake! Stop not till the goal is reached – Swami Vivekananda

  19. Baldeep Grewal

    Its not just about the victims of Human Trafficking. One needs to know who benefits from this shameless act. The money from this business goes straight into the politicians’ pockets. Just another form of Black money that fuels their lavish lifestyles and the education of their bratty kids in foreign universities while the poor of the country is not even aware of the benefits of education. The system is rotten with corruption and greed. Changing just one tier would not make any difference. Human trafficking is just the tip of the ice berg. The ‘secretary’ of ‘Youth Akali Dal’ of Punjab shot a police inspector at point blank range when he tried to protect his daughter’s honour. A crowd gathered people watched in silence as the young girl tried to keep her father alive and screamed for an ambulance. The respected secretary went back for more ammunition, came back and shot the inspector again to make sure he died. Need I say more?

  20. pppa97za

    India is experiencing all the evils of the 21st century. India is not alone in this respect. Of course every nation has its scoundrels (to put it mildly). There are many aspects to the story. What impels one to resort to such filthy practices. There are several reasons: greed, poverty, materialism etc. How does not combat such disgraceful practices? I wish I had a solution. But, as individuals you could start in your own neighbourhood. Prostitution is not a new phenonmenon. It started
    thousands of years ago and it make take several thousands to eradicate. How about starting with your own family.!

  21. anee

    girls should be protected from all such evils. they do have their own lives and dreams which should be fullfiled

  22. Ramakanta Satapathy

    Human trafficking is an universal issue.The author has presented the article in a beautiful manner.The problem is a socio-legal problem. The author has not covered the modern trend of adoption, in the name of adoption, it is seen that human traffickings are practised.

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