Dealing with trafficking - Kaidul

Dealing with trafficking

India has become a hub of child trafficking and this has to be dealt with strictly

It is India’s fate that she is surrounded by several small and poor nations that have met with both natural and man-made disasters on a nearly annual basis.

India has become a hub of child trafficking and this has to be dealt with strictly

It is India’s fate that she is surrounded by several small and poor nations that have met with both natural and man-made disasters on a nearly annual basis. And every time a disaster strikes, be it the earthquake in Nepal or the Rohingya exodus from Rakhine, inevitably India, as the large neighbour, gets dragged in. However, whether we like it or not, India also has a slightly dubious role here as well, because everytime there is a crisis in India’s neighbourhood, huge numbers of children, mainly girls, are brought into India and trafficked into prostitution. It is not as if India has great protections for her own children as the seemingly rampant and unstoppable number of sexual assaults on children even in a large metropolis like Delhi proves and it must be admitted that many of our children live in poverty-stricken areas where a girl can be bought or sold for a few thousands of rupees.

But the children brought in from elsewhere in our neighbourhood are particularly vulnerable. The sad fact is that while many of these girls, some barely teenagers, are quite visible in the red-light areas in large cities with Sonagachi in Kolkata being particularly notorious in this regard given its proximity to Bangladesh and Myanmar, we as a society have chosen to be blind. Blind to girls being bought and sold on the roadsides of our cities. For all the screaming and shouting and also the candlelight vigils we have for victims of sexual assault, particularly from the middle and upper classes, we only highlight our remarkable hypocrisy by not paying attention to the crime of trafficking.

There are a few non-governmental organisations doing good work in rescuing some of these girls but it can be said with a level of confidence that the state enables child trafficking by not cracking down on corruption at border controls and not acting against police forces that allow these girls to be exploited. Even if rescued, with little or no family support in India and little state-sponsored rehabilitation, some of these girls are forced back into prostitution just to be able to eat, offering their bodies for less money than it costs to buy a cup of coffee at multinational café outlet. And it isn’t just the red-light areas, the spread of the internet has made the trafficking and sexual exploitation of young girls worse.

The question of what can and should be done is a difficult one to answer. The laws to protect children already exist and the POSCO Act is extremely stringent. But the wheels of justice in India need an urgent greasing because they move particularly slowly. Convictions of those who traffic children should be speeded up and the Government should really go after those whose corruption and irresponsibility has converted trafficking into an epidemic. Crucially, India also needs to step up its rehabilitation efforts for these children, many of them severely traumatised and a majority of whom lead short and sad lives dying of disease usually in penury. But more than just the state it is also contingent on Indians, particularly the privileged among us, to realise the scale of the problem and what it says of us as a society when we turn a blind eye to it. Supporting organisations, both governmental and non-governmental, that work in this space is our civic duty. We cannot continue to be wilfully blind to such suffering, because then we are part of the problem and not part of a solution.

Leave a Reply

Advertisment ad adsense adlogger