Tag Archives: human trafficking

India is a source for child sex tourists and a destination for child sex tourism: The US Trafficking in Persons Report 2020

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Washington DC: The Trafficking in Persons Report 20th Edition released here on Thursday 25 June ranks India in the Tier 2 category and underscores that “traffickers exploit millions of people in commercial sex within India”.

The US State Department report on trafficking in persons points out that the traffickers target Indian women and girls but also fraudulently recruit significant numbers of Nepali and Bangladeshi women and girls to India for sex trafficking. Traffickers also exploit women and girls from Central Asian, European, and African countries in commercial sex, especially in Goa state, the report goes on to add.

In addition to traditional red light districts, dance bars, spas, and massage parlors, traffickers increasingly exploit women and children in sex trafficking in small hotels, vehicles, huts, and private residences.

What could be described as a damning assessment, India has been described as a source for child sex tourists and a destination for child sex tourism.

The report goes on to underscore:

  • Traffickers kidnap and force Indian and Nepali women and girls to work as “orchestra dancers” in India, especially in Bihar state, where girls perform with dance groups until they have repaid fabricated debts.
  • Traffickers exploit women and children in sex trafficking in religious pilgrimage centers and in tourist destinations.
  • Traffickers increasingly use online technology to facilitate sex trafficking and fraudulent recruitment.
  • Some traffickers kidnap children from public places, including railway stations, entice girls with drugs, and force girls as young as 5 years old in sex trafficking to take hormone injections to appear older.
  • Some corrupt law enforcement officers protect suspected traffickers and brothel owners from law enforcement efforts and take bribes from sex trafficking establishments and sexual services from victims.
  • According to one report, police have accepted bribes to release child sex trafficking victims back into traffickers’ custody.
  • Traffickers arrange sham marriages within India and Gulf states to subject females to sex trafficking.
  • Some government-, NGO-, and privately run shelter homes physically and sexually abuse residents, including trafficking victims, and compel shelter residents into forced labor and sex trafficking.
  • Traffickers force many Indian migrants who willingly seek employment abroad into construction, domestic work, factories, and other low-skilled sectors in many regions, especially Gulf countries and Malaysia, often following recruitment fraud and exorbitant recruitment fees.
  • Indian female domestic workers in all Gulf countries, particularly Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, consistently report strong indicators of forced labor, including non-payment of wages, refusal to allow workers to leave upon completion of their contracts, and physical abuse.
  • In the United Arab Emirates, labor traffickers bring Indian workers overseas on tourist visas, withhold their identity documents and wages, and force them to work, especially in construction.
  • Authorities have recently identified Indian forced labor victims in Armenia, Portugal, Gabon, and Zambia, and Indian female sex trafficking victims in Kenya.
  • Traffickers exploit Rohingya, Sri Lankan Tamil, and other refugee populations in sex and labor trafficking.
  • Traffickers subject some boys from Assam, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh states to forced labor in Nepal.
  • The Government of India does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so.

The government has demonstrated overall increasing efforts (to address the problem of trafficking in persons) compared to the previous reporting period; therefore India remained on Tier 2.

These efforts included convicting traffickers and completing a high-profile investigation into a case that involved officials complicit in trafficking at a government-funded shelter home in Bihar, convicting 19 individuals in the case, including three state officials; an influential former legislator was among the 12 that received life sentences. The government also filed “First Information Reports” (FIRs) against other government funded shelter homes in Bihar that allegedly abused residents, including trafficking victims. For the first time, the Madras High Court reversed an acquittal in a bonded labor case. The central government added investigation of inter-state and transnational trafficking cases to the mandate of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the country’s premier investigative body, which began investigating inter-state trafficking. The government continued to work on its draft anti-trafficking bill and committed to devoting funding to expand its police anti-human trafficking units (AHTUs) to all 732 districts. However, the government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas. The government did not make serious or sustained efforts to address its consistently large trafficking problem. Overall anti-trafficking efforts, especially against bonded labor, remained inadequate.

The government decreased investigations, prosecutions, and case convictions of traffickers, and the acquittal rate for traffickers increased to 83 percent.

Law enforcement decreased victim identification efforts, and the government reported it had only identified approximately 313,000 bonded laborers since 1976—less than four percent of NGOs’ estimates of at least eight million trafficking victims in India, the majority of which are bonded laborers.

NGOs estimated police did not file FIRs in at least half of reported bonded labor cases, and inconsistent with NGO reports, 17 of 36 states and territories did not identify any bonded labor victims in 2017 or 2018.

Although several laws gave judges the authority to provide trafficking victims compensation, state and district legal offices did not regularly request it or assist victims in filing applications, and less than one percent of trafficking victims identified from 2010 to 2018 received compensation. The government forcibly detained adult trafficking victims in shelters for multiple years until they had a magistrate’s order for release.

Authorities penalized some adult and child trafficking victims for crimes their traffickers compelled them to commit. Often, official complicity in trafficking was unaddressed. NGOs nationwide reported officials protected from prosecution local and state politicians who forced workers into bonded labor, and activists reported authorities did not investigate all high-level officials who may have been involved in the Bihar case, including those whom victims had identified as their sex traffickers.

National Crime and Records Bureau data
During the reporting period, the National Crime and Records Bureau (NCRB) issued its 2017 and 2018 Crime in India Reports, which used a different methodology than previous years. In 2018, the government reported 1,830 trafficking cases under the IPC, a continued decrease from 2,854 cases trafficking cases reported in 2017 and 5,217 cases in 2016. It was unclear which sections of the IPC this data included. In 2018, the government completed prosecution in 545 trafficking cases, onvicted 322 traffickers in 95 cases, and acquitted 1,124 suspects in 450 cases.

Acquittal rate for traffickers increased

The acquittal rate for trafficking cases increased to 83 percent in 2018. These statistics were compared to the government completing prosecution in 670 cases, convicting 249 traffickers in 165 cases, and acquitting 1,155 suspects in 505 cases in 2017, with 76 percent of cases resulting in acquittal. This marks a 29 percent increase in the number of individuals convicted, but a 42 percent decrease in the number of case convictions.

Three of India’s 36 states and territories reported 43 percent of all trafficking cases, most likely due to more sophisticated reporting rather than larger trafficking problems. Five states and territories –Nagaland, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, and Lakshadweep—did not report any trafficking cases in either 2017 or 2018. Assam and Jharkhand states only submitted data for the 2017 report. On average, trafficking cases under the IPC commenced trial 5.9 years after they were first reported.

Overall law enforcement efforts across the country, especially against bonded labor, remained inadequate compared to the scale of the problem. The law required police to file an FIR upon receipt of information about the commission of a cognizable offense, such as forced labor or sex trafficking, which legally bound police to initiate a criminal investigation. Police did not always arrest suspected traffickers or file FIRs to officially register a complaint, and officials settled many other cases at the complaint stage.

Government data demonstrated that court delays and lack of prioritization of trafficking have left 93 percent of trafficking cases pending trial in West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh, meaning that to date these states have convicted fewer than one percent of suspects (three out of 429) charged with human trafficking between 2008 and 2018. The conviction rate for trials that had taken place in those two states was 54 percent.

Anti-Human Trafficking Units
Anti-Human Trafficking Units (AHTUs), created by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) but maintained by state governments, served as the primary investigative force for human trafficking crimes. At the end of the reporting period, the government announced it would use $14 million in funding from its Nirbhaya Fund (established in 2013 to protect the dignity and safety of women) to expand AHTUs from 332 districts to all of India’s 732 districts and provide additional training and resources to existing AHTUs. State Governments and civil society nationwide agreed the majority of the 332 AHTUs currently active were not sufficiently funded or trained, nor solely dedicated to trafficking. Most states failed to adequately resource and prioritize AHTUs. As a result, AHTUs spent their time and resources on other crimes. This included reports of missing persons, which could lead to identification of trafficking victims. Despite these shortcomings, some NGOs reported good working relationships and effective coordination with local AHTU units.

The government took action to address official complicity in some cases, including three officials in the high profile Bihar shelter home case.

In Maharashtra state, a magistrate re-opened an investigation from 2004 into a senior police inspector who removed child sex trafficking victims from a shelter home and sent them back to the brothel that had exploited them. Police charged with rape and sex trafficking offenses four police officers who allegedly exploited a girl in sex trafficking. In additional cases, police arrested two officers as clients of sex trafficking victims and one police officer who facilitated selling a woman into forced labor.

Police in Bangalore arrested two immigration officials and two police constables for facilitating the trafficking of Nepalese women to the Middle East via the city airport. However, government action into allegations of official complicity were lacking in other cases.

The Puducherry judiciary acquitted 18 suspected traffickers in April 2019, including eight police officers, accused of running a child sex trafficking ring. Civil society reported the government delayed the investigation and prosecution for several years; did not name all suspected traffickers on the charge sheet to shield higher-level perpetrators; and granted bail, pending trial, to the officers, who successfully intimidated the witnesses to sabotage their testimonies.

Tamil Nadu state authorities admitted some local politicians benefitted from child sex trafficking and forced begging rings with impunity. Police filed fraudulent criminal charges against DCW to impede the organization’s anti-trafficking efforts.

State-owned tea estates in Assam state held workers in bonded labor by creating recurring debt by underpaying wages and overcharging for daily living expenses such that 37 percent of workers had daily expenditures that exceeded their daily income.

A lack of accountability for misconduct and corruption continued at various levels of government, contributing to the perception of widespread impunity for trafficking crimes. Some police and administration officials maintained the view that society had the right to put lower caste individuals in bonded and child labor, which sometimes impeded identification and investigation of such cases.

NGOs across multiple states reported politically connected individuals, including local and state politicians who held workers in bonded labor in agriculture and on brick kilns, successfully avoided prosecution. Civil society reported a number of instances in which police refused to register FIRs against officials who were alleged perpetrators.

There were reports the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) did not investigate high-level officials allegedly involved, including politicians whom victims had identified as sex traffickers and provided physical descriptions for, and social service officials who victims stated they had repeatedly notified of the ongoing sex trafficking to no avail.

The CBI claimed to have recovered and identified all the individuals alleged to be missing in the first days of its investigation, although NGOs claim it disregarded human remains discovered on the shelter premises and victim statements that shelter authorities had murdered 11 child sex trafficking victims

Despite this action in Bihar, the lack of investigations into suspected trafficking crimes and broader physical and sexual abuse of trafficking victims at government-run and -funded shelters in other states due to widespread negligence created an atmosphere of impunity for shelter employees and government officials to engage in trafficking.

In Andhra Pradesh state, district child welfare officials discovered two government-funded Child Care Institutions (CCIs) run by the same organization forced some residents into labor and commercial sex, including adults, children, and persons with mental disabilities. After repeated recommendations to close the home, officials did so but dropped the criminal investigation because police did not file the charge sheet within the required timeframe.

The CBI did not report an update on its investigation of a government-funded shelter home in Uttar Pradesh state that allegedly drugged 23 child residents and forced them into sex trafficking or a related administrative investigation of two police superintendents that had sent more than 405 children to the shelter in violation of the district government’s orders.

The US State Department ranks each country in this report on one of four tiers, as mandated by the TVPA. Such rankings are based not on the size of a country’s problem but on the extent of government efforts to meet the TVPA’s minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking (see pages 45-46), which are generally consistent with the Palermo Protocol.

While Tier 1 is the highest ranking, it does not mean that a country has no human trafficking problem or that it is doing enough to address the problem.

A Tier 1 ranking indicates that a government has made efforts to address the problem that meet the TVPA’s minimum standards. To maintain a Tier 1 ranking, governments need to demonstrate appreciable progress each year in combating trafficking. Indeed, Tier 1 represents a responsibility rather than a reprieve.


Tier 1

Countries whose governments fully meet the TVPA’s minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.

Tier 2

Countries whose governments do not fully meet the TVPA’s minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.

Tier 2 Watch List

Countries whose governments do not fully meet the TVPA’s minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards, and for which:

a) the estimated number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is very significant or is significantly increasing and the country is not taking proportional concrete actions;

b) there is a failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons from the previous year, including increased investigations, prosecution, and convictions of trafficking crimes, increased assistance to victims, and decreasing evidence of complicity in severe forms of trafficking by government officials.

Tier 3

Countries whose governments do not fully meet the TVPA’s minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so. The TVPA, as amended, lists additional factors to determine whether a country should be on Tier 2 (or Tier 2 Watch List) versus Tier 3:

  • the extent to which the country is a country of origin, transit, or destination for severe forms of trafficking;
  • the extent to which the country’s government does not meet the TVPA’s minimum standards and, in particular, the extent to which officials or government employees have been complicit in severe forms of trafficking;
  • reasonable measures that the government would need to undertake to be in compliance with the minimum standards
  • in light of the government’s resources and capabilities to address and eliminate severe forms of trafficking in persons;
  • the extent to which the government is devoting sufficient budgetary

Human Rights defenders asset freezes in Egypt

Newsroom24x7 Staff

human-rightsCairo/Washington DC: An Egyptian court, after a judicial process, has decided to freeze the assets of additional human rights defenders, including Mozn Hassan of Nazra for Feminist Studies and Mohamed Zarea of the Arab Penal Reform Organization.

These freezes follow similar actions against the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, the Hisham Mubarak Law Center, and the Egyptian Center on the Rights to Education – and their leaders – in September.

These human rights organizations work to document violations and abuses, advance women’s rights and gender equality, and defend the freedoms enshrined in Egypt’s constitution.

The decision to freeze the assets of human rights defenders comes against a wider backdrop of restrictions on Egyptian civil society activity and will produce neither stability nor security.

The US has taken serious note of this and urged the Government of Egypt to lift these asset freezes, take all legally available measures to end the investigations into these human rights non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and ease restrictions on association and expression so that these and other NGOs can operate freely.

United States and Cuba to Hold Meeting to Fight Trafficking in Persons

Newsroom24x7 Staff

Human Trafficking Delhi
Human Trafficking Delhi

Washington DC: The United States and Cuba will hold a meeting to coordinate their efforts to fight trafficking in persons in Washington, D.C., January 12 and 13. The U.S. delegation will be led by Ambassador-at-Large Susan Coppedge of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and Deputy Assistant Secretary John Creamer of the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.

Working-level representatives from the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Health and Human Services will also participate. The Cuban delegation will be led by Director of Bilateral Issues Yuri Ariel Gala Lopez of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Directorate General for the United States and will include officials from various Cuban agencies.

This is the fourth consecutive exchange between the United States and Cuba on efforts to prevent and prosecute trafficking in persons and protect trafficking victims. In addition to sharing information about best practices, both sides will seek to identify areas of possible future cooperation.

Delhi police arrests one more in a MCOCA case of human trafficking

Newsroom24x7 Staff

Human Trafficking Delhi
Human Trafficking Delhi

New Delhi: Sustained operation by the Crime Branch of Delhi Police to curb the activities of the criminal syndicate operating a human trafficking and prostitution racket from GB Road, the Capital’s red light area, has led to the arrest of one more person in a MCOCA case of international Human Trafficking.

The Crime Branch recently launched action and invoked provisions of MCOCA against human traffickers operating from GB Road for the first time ever. In continuation of its efforts, the Crime Branch has arrested one more accused person Damodar Pandey @ Makkhan (38), who hails from Suja village of Anchal Raathi in Dang district of Nepal.

MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organised Crimes Act) has been extended to Delhi to equip the Delhi police with more powers to handle increasing attempts by terrorists and organised gangs to target and get a foothold in the national capital.

Earlier this year, the Delhi Police had arrested a couple – Affaq Husain and Saira – who had amassed wealth and assets and properties worth millions of rupees, and six others. They have been booked under MCOCA for running from GB Road the biggest trafficking and prostitution racket with its trail stretching up till Nepal.

During sustained interrogation of Damodar, it has been revealed that he is an active member of the criminal syndicate. He used to be the Manager of Kotha No. 64, 3rd floor, G.B. Road, Delhi. He used to collect money from the customers and give it to Afaq Hussain and Saira Begum, the owners of the Kotha. He used to manage all the day to day activities of the Kotha and kept watch on the activities of “nayikas” and the victim girls.

Damodar came to Delhi and started plying an auto rickshaw in 2006,. He came in contact with Afaq and Saira about 6 years ago through his elder brother Ramesh Pandey, who was working as their driver. Ramesh has already been arrested in the same case.

Damodar, who was arrested on 18 October near NPL Parade Ground at Kingsway Camp here, has studied up to 6th standard. He is married and has two children. His family lives in Nepal.

India and Bangladesh add new dimension to economic ties

Newsroom24x7 Desk

Prime Minister Narendra Modi giving his statement to media at the Joint Press Briefing, in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 6 June  2015
Prime Minister Narendra Modi giving his statement to media at the Joint Press Briefing, in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 6 June 2015

Dhaka: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said here that the settlement of the maritime boundary last year is evidence of the maturity of ties between India and Bangladesh and their shared commitment to international rules.

“Our Parliament’s approval of Land Boundary Agreement reflects the consensus in India on relations with Bangladesh. The agreement on blue economy and maritime cooperation opens a new area of economic opportunities” the Indian Prime Minister said adding, we should now extend our frontiers of cooperation to Space.

Modi was addressing a joint press briefing with Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina on Saturday.

Modi said: “we stand at a moment of huge opportunity in our relationship. We will work together to harness the rich potential of our relationship. And, we will address our challenges in a spirit of friendship and from a position of mutual trust and confidence.

The Prime Minister said that India and bangladesh have renewed existing trade and transport agreements and added new dimensions to the economic ties.

Modi said that the coastal shipping agreement will boost bilateral trade. The Indian Economic Zone will promote Indian investments in Bangladesh. The new border haat at Kamalasagar will reinforce traditional economic links. And, the agreement on blue economy and maritime cooperation opens a new area of economic opportunities. We should now extend our frontiers of cooperation to Space.

Stating that he was conscious of the huge trade imbalance, despite duty free and quota free access to Bangladesh in India on all but 25 items, Modi said that he has assured the Prime Minister of bangladesh that we will do everything we can to bridge the deficit.

Power supply from India to Bangladesh will grow from 500 MW to 1100 MW within two years, Mod announced adding the 1320 MW Rampal power project is making progress in accordance with your laws and regulation. We can do more together in power sector, here and in India.

Observing that connectivity is the catalyst for deeper engagement, Modi said Bangladesh’s decision to allow transit of power equipment and food-grain to the Northeast echoes the strength of your human values and our shared economic opportunities.

The PM further said:

“Connectivity by road, rail, rivers, sea, transmission lines, petroleum pipelines and digital links will increase. Today, we have unveiled some of the pathways to this future.

As I have said before, we will deepen regional connectivity and cooperation between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal. There is a natural logic to this arrangement.

Our development partnership is scaling new heights. The quick implementation of the line of credit of 800 million U.S. dollars and full disbursement of 200 million dollars in grant is a tribute to our cooperation.

We are pleased to extend another line of credit of 2 billion U.S. dollars to support infrastructure and other development activities in Bangladesh.

As the three agreements on human trafficking, fake Indian currency and maritime safety show, our security cooperation is growing.

I am confident that we both have the political will and mutual confidence to further improve border management and coordination to prevent illegal activities, trafficking and movements.

Our rivers should nurture our relationship, not become a source of discord. Water sharing is, above all, a human issue. It affects life and livelihood on both sides of the border.”

Delhi Police busts a human trafficking racket: Rape victim rescued, 3 arrested

Newsroom24x7 Staff

Human trafficking Delhi
Human trafficking Delhi

New Delhi: With the arrest of three persons, the Delhi Police has busted a human trafficking racket and solved a rape case involving a young girl, who was lured from West Bengal with promise of marriage, but was being forced into prostitution.

Those arrested in this case have been identified as Shahjahan Molliya, alias Bapi (27), resident of Majampur Uttarpara, North 24 Pargana, West Bengal, Nafees, alias Sameer (28 years) and an accused woman (27), both resident of Kabir Nagar in Delhi.

On the intervening night of 23 and 24 May, at about 12:10 am, a PCR call was received informing that a woman was being beaten by a couple of boys. The Welcome Police station responded promptly and sub-inspector Ombir Singh along with the staff reached the spot – 2nd Floor of H. No. C-16/2, Gali No. 16, Kabir Nagar, Delhi and found a girl, about 19 years old, who was extremely scared and unable to communicate as she knew neither Hindi nor English.

The investigating officer, accompanied by a lady constable, took the girl to GTB Hospital and got her medical examination conducted on 24 May. With the help of an NGO, the victim’s counselling was also done. She told the NGO voluneers that her father had died and she was living with her mother, who worked as a tailor at her native village. She also informed them that she had been given the mobile number of Bapi (Shahjahan) by one of her neighbors.

The victim further stated that she had been told by her neighbour that Bapi is a good boy and will marry her. So she started talking to him. She was initially reluctant but left with him on 19 May, when he promised to marry her and forced her to come to Delhi. After they arrived at the Old Delhi Railway Station on 20 May, Bapi took her to a Hotel near Jama Masjid and during the night he forced her into a physical relationship on the pretext of marriage. Next morning he took the girl to one Raju’s house, where they stayed for two nights. During this period, Bapi, Raju and his wife tried to force her into prostitution. Raju even tried to build a physical relationship with her and she was slapped and beaten up when she refused. After that Bapi brought her to another house, that of a woman, at Welcome in Delhi, where Bapi, the accused woman, Sameer and Irshad (a friend ofSameer) tried to force her into pprostitution and as she resisted, she was again beaten up. When she talked to a neighbour over telephone, she was advised to take to prostitution. At this stage, Irshad also tried to molest her.

According to Veenu Bansal, Deputy Commissioner of Police, North-East District: Delhi, the victim’s statement was recorded with the help of the NGO and an interpreter and a case under Sections 323/354/366/368/370/376/120-B of IPC was registered at Welcome Police station on 24 May.

The Police team that busted the traffickers’ gang comprised of Inspector Prashnat Kumar SHO-Welcome, sub-inspectors Manish Kumar and Gunjan, Assistant sub-inspector Bhisham Rana, Head Constables Jai Parkash and Yogendra and Constable Ravindra

The doctor who conducted the medical examination of the girl at GTB Hospital on 24 May, confirmed signs of sexual violence. Two of the accused – Bapi and Sameer were arrested the same day. The accused woman, who was arrested on 25 May, revealed during interrogation that she is a sex worker. On further investigation, the police learnt that the traffickers’ gang had hatched a plan for trafficking innocent girls from rural areas of West Bengal by luring them on the pretext of marriage and then pushing them into prostitution.

“India is a source, destination, and transit country for forced labor and sex trafficking”

Newsroom24x7 Desk

(Source: trafficking in persons report 2014)
(Source: trafficking in persons report 2014)

We find perhaps no greater assault on basic freedom than the evil of human trafficking. Whether it comes in the form of a young girl trapped in a brothel, a woman enslaved as a domestic worker, a boy forced to sell himself on the street, or a man abused on a fishing boat, the victims of this crime have been robbed of the right to lead the lives they choose for themselves, and trafficking and its consequences have a spill-over effect that touches every element of a society……

Only when we start focusing on victims as survivors — not just as potential witnesses—can we provide them with a greater measure of justice, and help them find the courage to step forward. –  US Secretary of State John F Kerry

Washington DC: India is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. The forced labor of an estimated 20 to 65 million citizens constitutes India’s largest trafficking problem screams the “Trafficking in Persons Report 2014” released by the US department of State.

Construction in preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup has already begun, and reports of abuse have received global attention. Initial consent of a construction worker to accept a tough job in a harsh environment does not waive his or her right to work free from abuse. When an employer or labor recruiter deceives workers about the terms of employment, withholds their passports, holds them in brutal conditions, and exploits their labor, the workers are victims of trafficking. (Source: Trafficking in Persons Report - 2014)
Construction in preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup has already begun, and reports of abuse have received global attention. Initial consent of a construction worker to accept a tough job in a harsh environment does not waive his or her right to work free from abuse. When an employer or labor recruiter deceives workers about the terms of employment, withholds their passports, holds them in brutal conditions, and exploits their labor, the workers are victims of trafficking. (Source: Trafficking in Persons Report – 2014)

The Report goes on to point out that men, women, and children in debt bondage—sometimes inherited from previous generations—are forced to work in industries such as brick kilns, rice mills, agriculture, and embroidery factories. A common characteristic of bonded labor is the use of physical and sexual violence as coercive means. Ninety percent of India’s trafficking problem is internal, and those from the most disadvantaged social strata—lowest caste Dalits, members of tribal communities, religious minorities, and women from excluded groups—are most vulnerable.

The US report on human trafficking underscores the point that the Government of India did not report comprehensive law enforcement data on human trafficking. Reported incidents of inaction by law enforcement and prosecutors reflected inconsistent application of the law across jurisdictions, corruption among officials, and a lack of awareness or capacity in some parts of the country. Information publicly released as human trafficking data by the National Crimes Record Bureau contained aggregated data under the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act (ITPA) and a limited number of Indian Penal Code (IPC) provisions which only addressed sex trafficking of girls, rather than a broader range of human 205 trafficking crimes; in addition, the data provided did not specify the number of investigations, prosecutions, or convictions carried out by the government. Some of the 28 states in India reported law enforcement data on human trafficking, but such information covers only a small portion of the country. Observers noted the need for more specialized courts in other states. Experts expressed concern about a lack of political will to combat trafficking and protect victims in West Bengal, which has no Anti-Human Trafficking Unit (AHTUs), trafficking-specific law enforcement units that liaise with other agencies and refer victims to shelters, no rehabilitation services for victims, and no cases investigated or prosecuted in 2013 under the ITPA or the new trafficking laws, despite the area being a major source for trafficking.

It is further pointed out that Officials facilitated trafficking by taking bribes, warning traffickers about raids, helping traffickers destroy evidence, handing victims back to traffickers, and physically and sexually assaulting victims. Lack of political will and sensitivity to victims’ trauma continued, with one senior official stating that victims choose “that lifestyle;” another politician stated that victims were better off exploited than they would be otherwise.

Trafficking victims in India, the Report adds, at times are injured or killed by their traffickers; for example, a labor contractor in the State of Odisha chopped off the hands of two bonded labor victims in 2013. Media reported instances of severe mistreatment of domestic servants in New Delhi, many of whom were victims of forced labor, including cases of rape, torture, and murder. NGOs observed that the majority of trafficking victims are recruited by agents known to them in their home villages with promises of work in urban or other rural areas. Trafficking between Indian states continues to rise due to increased mobility and growth in industries that use forced labor, such as construction, textiles, wire manufacturing for underground cables, biscuit factories, and floriculture.

On the prevailing situation in India, the 2014 Report says:

Thousands of unregulated work placement agencies reportedly engage in sex and labor trafficking but escape prosecution; some of these agents participate in the sexual abuse that approximately 20 percent of domestic workers reportedly experience. Placement agencies also provide child labor for domestic service, meeting a demand for cheap and docile workers and creating a group vulnerable to trafficking. Children are subjected to forced labor as factory workers, beggars, agricultural workers, and, in some rural areas of Northern India, as carpet weavers. A 2013 study of India’s hand-made carpet sector revealed 2,612 cases of forced labor and 2,010 cases of bonded labor of adults and children in nine Northern Indian states, including entire villages subjected to debt bondage in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

Begging ringmasters sometimes maim children as a means to earn more money. Boys from Nepal and Bangladesh continue to be subjected to forced labor in coal mines in the state of Meghalaya.

Four boys, as young as 12 and 14 years old, fight for a rebel group in northern Mali. International observers report that extremist rebel groups have kidnapped, recruited, and paid for large numbers of child soldiers in the country.
Four boys, as young as 12 and 14 years old, fight for a rebel group in northern Mali. International observers report that extremist rebel groups have kidnapped, recruited, and paid for large numbers of child soldiers in the country. (Source: Trafficking in Persons report-2014)

Boys from the region of Kashmir are forced by insurgent separatists and terrorist groups to fight against the Indian government.

Burmese Rohingya and Sri Lankan Tamil refugees continue to be vulnerable to forced labor in India. Boys from Bihar are subjected to forced labor in embroidery factories in Nepal. Experts estimate that millions of women and children are victims of sex trafficking in India. Children continue to be subjected to sex trafficking in religious pilgrimage centers and tourist destinations. Girls from Assam state are kidnapped for domestic servitude. Around 90 percent of the girls who were from Jharkhand and were victimized work as domestic servants.

A large number of Nepali, Afghan, and Bangladeshi females—the majority of whom are children aged nine to 14 years old—and women and girls from China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, the Philippines, and Uganda are also subjected to sex trafficking in India.

Female trafficking victims are frequently exploited in Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, Gujarat, and along the India-Nepal border. Newspapers contain advertisements promising full body massages, often by Afghan women, who are then forced to offer sexual services.

Traffickers also pose as matchmakers, arranging sham marriages within India or to Gulf states, and then subject women and girls to sex trafficking. West Bengal continues to be a source for trafficking victims, with girls more frequently subjected to sex trafficking in small hotels, vehicles, huts, and private residences than traditional red light districts. Experts also reported increasing demand for women from smaller towns in North and Western India for sex and labor trafficking; until recently, victims have typically originated from Eastern India and Bangladesh.

Some Indian migrants who willingly seek work as construction workers, domestic servants, and other low-skilled laborers in the Middle East and, to a lesser extent, Afghanistan, Southeast Asia, Bhutan, the United States, Europe, Southern Africa, South America, the Caribbean, and other regions, subsequently face forced labor conditions initiated by recruitment fraud and usurious recruitment fees charged by Indian labor brokers.

Some Bangladeshi migrants are subjected to forced labor in India through recruitment fraud and debt bondage. Trafficking victims—primarily girls—continue to be recruited from Bangladesh and Nepal and brought to Mumbai. An increasing number of foreign women, mostly from Central Asia and Bangladesh, were rescued from debt bondage within Hyderabad; labor trafficking, including bonded labor, reportedly continues in Odisha.

While asserting that the Government of India does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; the US report also pats India for “making significant efforts” to do so. Citing experts, the report says that there has been increased acknowledgement of India’s trafficking problem by government officials and increased efforts to combat it. The Government of India collaborated with international organizations, NGOs, and state governments in its efforts to train police, judges, and lawyers on the handling of trafficking cases. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) reported that every district across India conducted training for prosecutors and judges on trafficking.

A group of boys wait to be processed after a police raid on garment factories in New Delhi, India. Anti-Trafficking Police and NGOs helped remove 26 children from the factories, but it is feared that many more were not rescued. (Source: Trafficking in Persons Report – 2014)

However despite these efforts, the US Report goes on to state that the protection of trafficking victims and the prosecution of their suspected exploiters were uneven among states and municipalities. While some courts in some states have secured serious penalties for convicted traffickers, continued complicity of government officials enabled traffickers to exploit additional men, women, and children.

The Report goes on to recommend that India should prosecute officials allegedly complicit in trafficking, and convict and punish those found guilty; continue to sensitize law enforcement officials to human trafficking issues and educate them about changes to the law; cease the penalization of victims of human trafficking; integrate anti-trafficking procedures into natural disaster planning and training; establish additional AntiHuman Trafficking Units (AHTUs) in source areas; encourage AHTUs to address all forms of trafficking, including forced labor of adults and children; hire additional female police officers to work with trafficking victims; coordinate standard operating procedures (SOPs) among police and child welfare departments for the rescue, repatriation, and rehabilitation of trafficked children; prosecute suspected traffickers and punish those found guilty with sentences commensurate with those of other serious crimes; increase funding for shelters, regular training of staff working with victims, and the creation of a quality control board; through continued coordination with stakeholders, increase prevention efforts and services provided to victims of forced and bonded labor; increase prosecutions of all forms of trafficking, including bonded labor, respecting due process, and report on these law enforcement efforts; improve protections for trafficking victims who testify against their suspected traffickers; develop and implement SOPs to harmonize victim identification and repatriation, and prosecution of suspected traffickers when trafficking crimes cross state lines; provide funding for additional states to establish fast-track courts that respect due process and deal with all forms of human trafficking; promptly disburse government funding for anti-trafficking shelter homes and develop monitoring mechanisms to ensure quality of care; require state governments to comply with the October 2012 Supreme Court judgment to accurately report on the number of bonded labor victims; and fund more public awareness campaigns in informal settlements, schools, and colleges. Prosecution The Government of India did not provide adequate antitrafficking law enforcement data; observers noted a lack of progress based on low rates of convictions, with most offenders receiving fines in lieu of imprisonment. Section 370 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) criminalizes government officials’ involvement in human trafficking, prescribing sentences up to life imprisonment. It also prohibits most forms of sex trafficking and prescribes sufficiently stringent penalties ranging from seven years’ to life imprisonment. These penalties are commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape.

It is also been highlighted in the Report that Section 370 does not provide that the prostitution of a child under the age of 18 is an act of human trafficking in the absence of coercive means, the standard of the 2000 United Nations Protocol to Prevent,. Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons (TIP Protocol), though the prostitution of minors is criminalized under other statutes. An April 2013 change in the criminal law, Section 166A of the IPC, holds police responsible for delays in registering a First Information Report (FIR) after a victim makes a complaint. Punishment for inaction ranges from six months to two years’ imprisonment. India also prohibits many forms of forced labor through the Bonded Labor System Abolition Act (BLSA), the Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, the Juvenile Justice Act, and other provisions of the IPC; however, these provisions were unevenly enforced, and their prescribed penalties are not sufficiently stringent. India prohibits most forms of sex trafficking under the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act (ITPA) and various provisions of the IPC. However, the ITPA also criminalizes other offenses, including prostitution, and is often used to prosecute sex trafficking victims.

Government officials’ complicity in human trafficking remained prevalent and the Indian government made few efforts to bring them to justice; victims were sometimes arrested or targeted for investigation for reporting abuse. In May 2013, Hyderabad police arrested a government official for allegedly operating a brothel. In June 2013, 17 police officers, including two superintendents, were suspended in Kerala for their involvement in a sex trafficking ring run through two airports; several of the officers were arrested and their cases remained pending at the close of the reporting period. Despite cooperating with police, the victim who reported this case was arrested and charged with passport fraud. In June 2013, authorities arrested two police officers for running a brothel. In July 2013, disciplinary action was taken against three Kerala police officers for facilitating the transport of trafficking victims to Dubai. In August 2013, two New Delhi police officers were arrested for running an alleged prostitution and extortion racket. In November 2013, a Member of Parliament and his wife were arrested for the alleged torture and murder of their domestic servant. An Indian consular officer at the New York consulate was indicted in December 2013 for visa fraud related to her alleged exploitation of an Indian domestic worker. NGOs reported other cases of corrupt officials returning rescued and escaped bonded laborers back to their exploiters; government officials attempting to dissuade bonded labor victims from pressing charges, stating that there would be negative repercussions from superiors if reported; and the involvement in bonded labor of regional politicians who used influence to block prosecutions. Police also reportedly accepted bribes in the form of money and sexual services in exchange for ignoring or failing to pursue trafficking charges, sexually abused trafficking victims, tipped suspected traffickers off to raids, released suspected traffickers after their arrests, and helped suspected traffickers destroy evidence.

trafficking 5Under the US law a 2008 amendment to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) provides that any country that has been ranked Tier 2 Watch List for two consecutive years and that would otherwise be ranked Tier 2 Watch List for the next year will instead be ranked Tier 3 in that third year. This automatic downgrade provision came into effect for the first time in the 2013 Report. The Secretary of State is authorized to waive the automatic downgrade based on credible evidence that a waiver is justified because the government has a written plan that, if implemented, would constitute making significant efforts to comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is devoting sufficient resources to implement the plan. The Secretary can only issue this waiver for two consecutive years. After the third year, a country must either go up to Tier 2 or down to Tier 3. Governments subject to the automatic downgrade provision are noted as such in the country narratives.

Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards of TVPA, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.

Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards AND:
a) The absolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is very significant or is significantly increasing;
b) There is a failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons from the previous year; or
c) The determination that a country is making significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with minimum standards was based on commitments by the country to take additional future steps over the next year.

Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so

Child Soldiers

The Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008 (CSPA) was signed into law on December 23, 2008 (Title IV of Pub. L. 110-457), and took effect on June 21, 2009. The CSPA requires publication in the annual TIP Report of a list of foreign governments identified during the previous year as having governmental armed forces or government-supported armed groups that recruit and use child soldiers, as defined in the Act. These determinations cover the reporting period beginning April 1, 2013 and ending March 31, 2014.

For the purpose of the CSPA, and generally consistent with the provisions of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, the term “child soldier” means:
(i) any person under 18 years of age who takes a direct part in hostilities as a member of governmental armed forces;
(ii) any person under 18 years of age who has been compulsorily recruited into governmental armed forces;
(iii) any person under 15 years of age who has been voluntarily recruited into governmental armed forces; or
(iv) any person under 18 years of age who has been recruited or used in hostilities by armed forces distinct from the armed forces of a state.

The term “child soldier” includes any person described in clauses (ii), (iii), or (iv) who is serving in any capacity, including in a support role such as a “cook, porter, messenger, medic, guard, or sex slave.”

Sex Trafficking

When an adult engages in a commercial sex act, such as prostitution, as the result of force, threats of force, fraud,coercion or any combination of such means, that person is a victim of trafficking. Under such circumstances, perpetrators involved in recruiting, harboring, enticing, transporting, providing, obtaining, or maintaining a person for that purpose are guilty of sex trafficking of an adult. Sex trafficking also may occur within debt bondage, as individuals are forced to continue in prostitution through the use of unlawful “debt,” purportedly incurred through their transportation, recruitment, or even their crude “sale”—which exploiters insist they must pay off before they can be free. An adult’s consent to participate in prostitution is not legally determinative: if one is thereafter held in service through psychological manipulation or physical force, he or she is a trafficking victim and should receive benefits outlined in the Palermo Protocol and applicable domestic laws.

Human trafficking is a complex crime that many communities are still trying to understand, and using outdated terms or incorrect definitions only weakens understanding of the issue. Become familiar with the trafficking definitions of international law, found in the Palermo Protocol to the United Nations Transnational Organized Crime Convention, as well as other related terms that are commonly used.

When media report on only one type of human trafficking, the public is left with only part of the story. Human trafficking includes sex trafficking, child sex trafficking, forced labor, bonded labor, involuntary domestic servitude, and debt bondage. Strengthen the public’s understanding of human trafficking and the full scope of the crime. -Trafficking in Persons Report-2014