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Human trafficking continues to wreak havoc

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Swati Maliwal

By Nithin Sridhar

In a country that is rooted in the principles of dharma (righteousness), the incident of a 17-year- old Delhi girl who was allegedly lured to Jaipur on the pretext of helping her land a job but instead was sold and raped for two days, depicts a ground situation that is completely in contrast with the national ethos.

17-1426573913-women-rape123-600A majority of social crimes are targeted at women and children. Along with sexual harassment, dowry, and voyeurism that women have to face day in and day out, another serious issue that affects women as well as children is the issue of human trafficking.

The National Crime Records Bureau in its 2013 report records a total of 3,940 incidents of human trafficking across India that were reported with the police. In 2009, such reported incidents were 2,848. That is, an increase of 38.3% can be noted between 2009 and 2013. Out of those 3,940 cases, 1,224 cases were those of trafficking minor girls.

Human trafficking basically refers to transportation of a person from one place to another, followed by his/her exploitation and commercialization. Such a transportation may be done using force, inducement, or coercion and the trafficked person may be pushed into prostitution, domestic labor, bonded labor, or sold to foreign customers.

Goa Children’s Act, 2003 defines child trafficking as, “Child trafficking means the procurement, recruitment, transportation, transfer,harboring or receipt of children legally or illegally, within or across borders, by means of 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 giving orreceiving payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control overanother person, for monetary gain or otherwise.” Though this is a definition of child-trafficking, it can easily be applied to any form of trafficking.

In other words, human trafficking can be considered as a mother of crimes, as it involves elements of many other crimes like kidnapping, rape, prostitution, child labor, bonded labor etc.

Photo Credit: http://cops.usdoj.gov
Photo Credit: http://cops.usdoj.gov

Elaborating on this aspect of human trafficking, Dr PM Nair in his 2007 handbook on trafficking, writes: “Human trafficking is a crime of crimes. It is a basket of crimes. In this basket one can dig out the elements of abduction, kidnapping, illegal detainment, illegal confinement, criminal intimidation, hurt, grievous hurt, sexual assault, outraging modesty, rape, unnatural offences, selling and buying of human beings, servitude, criminal conspiracy, abetment etc. Therefore, multiple abuse and abusers located at different points of time and place together constitute the organized crime of trafficking. A host of human rights violations like denial of privacy, denial of justice, denial of access to justice, deprivation of basic rights and dignity etc. constitute other part of the exploitation. Therefore, there is no doubt that trafficking is an organized crime.

Human trafficking is a very heinous crime and a blatant violation of human rights. It brings out a human mentality that has fallen so low as to exploit another human being and in many cases they are just small children. Human trafficking must not be looked in isolation but instead it should be considered as a source of supply that fulfills the demand put forward by other social ills like child labor, prostitution, and bonded labor.

Prostitution is the single important reason why women and children are trafficked. A large number of trafficked children are sold to brothels, escort agencies, or abroad. The unscrupulous factory and mill owners who purchase children and women labors for their factories and mills are also to be held responsible.

Similarly, many rich people purchase domestic labors. A large number of women and children are trafficked to foreign countries for domestic labor as well as for sexual slavery. The minor girls are also trafficked to supply brides to certain states wherein there is a scarcity of women. All these various other crimes provide the demand that is fulfilled by human trafficking. Trafficked people are also employed by the mafia that controls begging.

Though the cases of human trafficking that are registered with the police are low, a US “Trafficking in Persons Report,” 2015 states that millions of women and children are victims of sex-trafficking in India. It says the prime destinations for female trafficking victims are Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, Gujarat, and the India-Nepal border.

In order to tackle this multi-dimensional organized crime of human trafficking, the measures that are adopted must be multi-dimensional as well. The US report recommends that India should stop penalizing the victims of trafficking and should increase the prosecution and conviction of perpetrators of all kinds of human trafficking including those of bonded labors. It further suggests that India should provide more manpower and resources to Anti-Human Trafficking Units. The state and central governments should effectively implement various protection programs for the victims and fast-track courts must be established to ensure speedy closure of the cases. The report also suggested the government to strictly penalize all official who are complicit in trafficking.

Other measures like spreading education and moral values will have long-term effect in reducing social ills. The government should also work with NGOs to prevent the trafficking at the source. Dr PM Nair suggests adoption of an integrated and comprehensive approach to deal with trafficking. He says trafficking should be dealt through persecution, protection, and prevention. With regard to prevention, he says the government should prevent trafficking not only at source but also at the place of demand as well as during transit. He states that those who are involved directly or indirectly in generating the demand i.e. customers, financers, abettors and others should all be prosecuted. He also adds that the government should take measures to prevent re-trafficking of the rescued victims.

Consequently, through a series of measures like proper monitoring, proper prosecution and others, India can go a long way in slowly reducing the rate of trafficking. It is a duty of every human to put best possible efforts towards weeding out this inhuman practice of trafficking from the society. 

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Top US Women Diplomats Speak Out on Sexual Harassment

Women from all sectors are coming out to speak against sexual harassment cases, this time U.S women diplomats lashed out against such incidents

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FILE - Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, who served as the US Ambassador in Malta, addresses participants during a gay pride parade organized by the Malta Gay Rights Movement in Sliema, outside Valletta, June 30, 2012.

As U.S. lawmakers grapple with allegations of sexual harassment in their ranks, some senior American diplomats are speaking out about their struggles over the years.

Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, who was U.S. ambassador to Malta from 2012-2016, told her story about serving at the State Department and the White House.

“There was one occasion in the department when a boss touched me and I told him if he did it again, I’d knock the s— out of him. He did not repeat it, but he did try to get me to curtail from the position,” Abercrombie-Winstanley told the Foreign Service Journal, a publication by the American Foreign Service Association.

The former U.S. envoy recalled another incident in which she said she was harassed by a senior lawmaker while serving on the White House National Security Council.

“Initially, I parried the advance from a senior member of Congress, but when he continued to call me, I reported to the NSC’s executive secretary that it was happening, and told him that if I had to do violence to repel it, I would,” Abercombie-Winstanley said.

“I was letting him know beforehand, I said, because I did not expect to lose my job as a result,” she added. “After a moment of shocked silence, he said ‘Thanks for letting me know.’ And the member stopped calling me.”

She later told VOA these occasions are an “extremely small part of my professional journey” and declined to either comment further on details or identify the congressman.

‘Zero-tolerance’ policy

In a letter electronically distributed to all American diplomats around the world earlier this year, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the department upholds a “zero-tolerance” policy regarding discriminatory and sexual harassment.

“Effective harassment prevention efforts must start with and involve the highest level possible,” Tillerson said in his policy statement.

For years, secretaries of state release their statements on diversity and harassment in the workplace at the beginning of their tenure and review annually thereafter. They usually highlight two anti-harassment policies: one prohibiting sexual harassment, the other banning discrimination.

U.S. Ambassador Laura Dogu. (U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua website)

Male-dominated circles

Still, female ambassadors said they must learn to adjust and handle the challenges involved in working in mainly male-dominated diplomatic circles.

“I am frequently the only woman in meetings outside the office with the host country, and when I have control over the guest list, I insist that we include at least 30 percent women, if not more,” U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua Laura Dogu said in the Foreign Service Journal article.

Like Ambassador Dogu, former Ambassador to Mongolia Jennifer Zimdahl Galt said she has been the only woman or one of the only women in the room at virtually every meeting throughout her career. The key to working in such an environment, she said, is to be well-prepared and a good listener.

FILE – U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia Jennifer Zimdahl Galt and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry past a traditional honor guard upon arrival at Chinggis Khaan International Airport in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, June 5, 2016.

“So you can speak authoritatively and there is no question that you are on top of your brief. It’s also important to dress professionally, which in my book means wearing a suit at all times,” said Galt, who was appointed as principle deputy assistant secretary for educational and cultural affairs earlier this month.

She also said, “Being sure to listen carefully to what others have to say so that you’re not repeating, but rather amplifying and adding value with your remarks.”

Building minority leadership

In a speech to student programs and fellowship participants in August, Tillerson said he had directed relevant committees to develop “minority leadership” at the State Department.

“Every time we have an opening for an ambassador position, at least one of the candidates must be a minority candidate. Now they may not be ready, but we will know where the talent pool is,” Tillerson said.

Seen as part of these efforts, Irwin Steven Goldstein will begin his new position next week (December 4) as the first openly gay undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs.

In Senate testimony, Goldstein thanked his spouse for supporting his career of developing and executing communications strategies that connect diverse audiences. (VOA)

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Bride Sale in India: Buy A Wife Policy

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Human Trafficking
Bride Slavery in India: Abhishek Suresh

Bride Sale: Story of transformation of Indian Bride into Slave Bride

Samridhi Nain

Bride Sale in India seems to be trending in Haryana, a state with the lowest sex ratio, even marriage continues to be a way of exploitation as Indian brides for marriage are purchased at cattle rate and trafficked into the states of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Punjab.
These ‘brides’ are imported from poverty-stricken states like Jharkhand, Bihar, Orrisa, West Bengal & Assam, where the traffickers either take advantage of the family’s poverty or abduct the young girls varying anywhere between the ages of 15 and 30, according to 2013 National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
The bride sale practice has been completely normal in the northern states due to the acute shortage of girls because of practices like sex selection and female foeticide. But if the reports are to be believed then even if not a single case of female foeticide takes place in Haryana, it would still take 50 years to get the numbers back to normal from India’s sex ratio today. However, the problem remains as locals & Khap leaders keep refusing to accept the facts at hand. Some believe it is the education of women that is the root problem because they want to marry a man who is also well-educated, whereas some believe that there has always been a shortage of girls but before where one woman would take care of five brothers, now, it requires five separate women to do the same.
As Haryana keeps preferring the male child and that male child grows up to prefer a bride, the best solution available at hand remains of these women who are bought at a price varying on their age, beauty & virginity and once bought, they are turned into a slave bride. Once married, these women can be resold as they are not viewed as a respected member but a commodity as they are not considered to be entitled to any inheritance by the family.
Human Trafficking to Bride Sale
Stencil of Missing Girls Project, Wikimedia Commons
A field study, covering 92 villages of Mahendragarh, Sirsa, Karnal, Sonipat & Mewat districts had been conducted on the impact of the sex ratio on marriage which covered over 10,000 households and found that 9,000 married women were bought from other states. The study was conducted by NGO Drishti Stree Adhyayan Prabodhan Kendra but the families kept denying of any exchange of money for the bride.
In 2016, the ministry of women and child development came up with India’s first comprehensive anti-trafficking laws under ‘Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection & Rehabilitation) Bill, 2016 but the bill faces many challenges and is believed to not achieve its objectives of preventing trafficking & providing protection & rehabilitation to trafficked victims. Activists also believe that the bill will be able to do very little to stop the bride sale.
With such haunting demographics at hand, the hope still remains that sooner or later, the government might realize the need for stringent implementation of the rules & regulations to stop the violation of these young women at the hands of sex traffickers and quell this ‘Buy A Bride’ policy.
-Samridhi is a student of Philosophy Hons. at the University of Delhi.

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Vidya Talks about her upcoming Movie Tumhari Sulu and Shares her views on Sexual Harassment

Vidya Balan opens up about her views on Sexual Harassment.

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Vidya Balan
Vidya Balan. ians
  • We should name and shame those who sexually harass others, actress Vidya Balan said on Friday.

After Big B, actress Vidya Balan speaks against women harassment 

“I think people who have suffered this only know what exactly does it feel like when you’re really in an uncomfortable situation. When someone just rubs or touches you with his hand, sometimes I get really angry. So I think in that sense, there are a lot of degrees in sexual harassment.

“I am very glad that people are talking about it now. Women are talking about it and they should talk about it because it is not their fault. We should name and shame those who are sexually harassing others, undoubtedly,” she told media persons here during a promotional programme for her upcoming “Tumhari Sulu”.

After the Harvey Weinstein controversy led to the disclosure of sexual harassment cases in Hollywood, prominent actors such as Irrfan Khan and Richa Chadha have opened up about the casting couch in the Hindi film industry.

Vidya, along with entire “Tumhari Sulu” team including Neha Dhupia and RJ Malishka, was attending the launch of PVR Big Screen PXL here.

The upcoming slice of life drama recently released a rehashed version of “Mr.India” song “Hawa Hawai”, which originally featured Sridevi.

Vidya said that Sridevi liked the song. “After watching the song, Sridevi told me, she found me very cute in the song and she found the song lovely, especially the way we did it… (was) very happy with it. I don’t want to say much, but it would be better if you ask her because I can only tell you this much.”

She also said that the response to the movie has been great but she finds it difficult to talk about compliments which she got from the fraternity.

“I always had a problem with this thing.. I am little hesitant to express someone’s words. Someone sent me a message or told me personally… hopefully quite a few people will turn up at the screening, it would be better if you asked them but so far the response has been good,” she said.

The “Tumhari Sulu” teaser and the trailer has set the tone right for the film and with back to back song releases, the movie is getting much talked about.

“‘Hawa Hawai’ has got a fantastic response and so has the ‘Ban Ja Tu Meri Rani’ song. And today we have released one more song, ‘Manva Likes To Fly’. I love that song because all of us want to fly on wings of our hearts. So far the response has been fabulous.

“There is a lot of excitement for the film because we got a fabulous response for the teaser and then we got an even better response for the trailer. And now you watch the film which is even better. We’re excited and promoting the film like anything and still, we are not tired at all.”

Vidya also said that she relates a lot to her “Tumhari Sulu” character, since, as an actress, she can’t participate in radio contests.

“I can’t call to participate in radio contests because people know me and they would never give me a gift. Sometimes I do feel like calling as I’d have really interesting and mad answers, so yeah, at times I do feel like calling and participating in the contests.”

About the event, Vidya Balan said: “I am a PVR Loyalist; I watch most of my films at PVR. There sound and picture quality is fabulous, it is even better now than what it is normally. I am sure it will be an extremely pleasurable experience for anyone watching films here.”

“Tumhari Sulu” starring Vidya Balan is directed by Suresh Triveni and produced under the banners of T-Series and Ellipsis Entertainment releases worldwide on November 17.(IANS)