Wednesday, October 03, 2007
New Delhi: India is emerging as a leading destination for human trafficking in South Asia, with over 35,000 young girls and women from Bangladesh and Nepal being brought into the country every year, the United Nations said on Wednesday."Human trafficking is world's third largest profit-making illicit industry and in south Asia India is among the favoured destinations. Women are mostly brought from Bangladesh and Nepal," said Gary Lewis, chief of UN office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
"In India 20,000-25,000 women and children are trafficked from Bangladesh annually, while 5,000-15,000 are brought illegally from Nepal for the primary purpose of prostitution and slavery," Lewis said ,"The more devastating fact is that now Nepali girls below 10 years are being forced into the trade. In the 1980s (trafficked) girls were mostly in the age group of 14-16 and in 1994 the age further reduced to 10-14. But last year girls below the age of 10 were found trapped into the human trafficking business. This not only puts their lives in peril but also exposes them to higher risk of HIV/AIDS. 2-3 million people are trafficked annually in and out of India and, most disturbingly, a large number of people from states like West Bengal and Orissa and the northeastern region are trafficked to metropolitan cities like Delhi and Mumbai for various reasons.’
According to the UN definition, trafficking in persons means the recruitment, transport, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion abduction, of fraud, for the purpose of exploitation.
P.R. Nair, project coordinator with UNODC, said: "People from these states are trafficked to work in dance bars, pubs, restaurants, friendship clubs, massage parlours and for domestic chores."
Asked about what initiative the UN is taking to curb human trafficking, Nair said: "We are closely working with states and are also providing special training to police officials dealing with human trafficking victims. Nair said that 96 rescue operations have been conducted so far this year and 800 victims including 662 minors were rescued. "A total of 1,008 traffickers and 220 customers were also arrested."
Roma Debabrata, who runs an NGO 'STOP' for such people, said the need of the hour is more and quick conviction of those involved in human trafficking.