Human trafficking is the third largest profitable industry in the world. Child trafficking unlike many other issues is found in both developed and developing nations. Trafficked children are used for prostitution, forced into marriage, illegally adopted, used as cheap or unpaid labor, used for sport and organ harvesting. Some children are recruited into armed groups. Trafficking exposes children to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. According to UNICEF a child victim of trafficking is “any person under 18 who is recruited, transported, transferred, harbored or received for the purpose of exploitation, either within or outside a country”. Trafficking is one of the hardest crimes to track and investigate hence data is hard to obtain. The latest figures estimate that 1.2 million children are trafficked worldwide every year. Child prostitution has the highest supply of trafficked children.
India is a source, destination, and transit country for trafficking for many purposes such as commercial sexual exploitation. The majority of the trafficking is within the country but there are also a large number trafficked from Nepal and Bangladesh. Children are trafficked to Middle Eastern countries for sport such as camel racing. There are no national or regional estimates for the number of children trafficked every year. But 40% of prostitutes are children, and there is a growing demand for young girls in the industry.
NGOs estimate that 12,000 – 50,000 women and children are trafficked into the country annually from neighboring states in the sex trade. Thousands of girls are trafficked from Bangladesh and Nepal. 200,000 Nepalese girls under 16 years are in prostitution in India. An estimated 1,000 to 1,500 Indian children are smuggled out of the country every year to Saudi Arabia for begging during the Hajj. Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu have the largest number of people trafficked. Intra state/inter district trafficking is high in Rajasthan, Assam, Meghalaya, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. Delhi and Goa are the major receiver states. Trafficking from northeastern states is high but often overlooked. In 2008, 529 girls were trafficked from Assam alone.
There is a rising demand for live-in maids in urban areas. This has resulted in the trafficking of girls from villages in West Bengal, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh to live under extremely poor conditions first in “placement agencies” and later in the employers’ homes. Placement agents keep the girls in small unhygienic rooms packed together. They are often made to do the placement agent’s household work and subjected to sexual abuse. Smita a sixteen year old girl was taken from her village in Jharkhand and subjected to various forms of sexual abuse and exploitation at the hand of her employers including rape. When rescued her parents refused to take her back since she had been tainted by rape. Falling sex ratios in Haryana and Punjab has led to a need for trafficking of brides from villages in Orissa, Jharkhand, Bihar, Assam and West Bengal, who have been sold off by the parents. Jyoti, age fourteen, was sold and married to a 40-year old man of Rs 15,000 in order to produce a male heir.
- Child trafficking rampant in West Bengal (shaktivahini.wordpress.com)
- Raped, then sold off as a bride in a distant land (traffickingnews.wordpress.com)
- Woman gets 10 years in jail for trafficking, forcing girl into prostitution (shaktivahini.wordpress.com)
- The Sad Facts About Human Trafficking, Why does Modern-Day Slavery still exist? (dinadelune.wordpress.com)
- Rampant trafficking a menace for girls across india (ibnlive.in.com)