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Human Trafficking in Karnataka: 656 cases registered, 2,353 people arrested from 2013 till date

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

By NewsGram Staff Writer

The Karnataka police have set up anti-human trafficking squads in nine districts to check human trafficking.

While responding to a question in Legislative Council, Karnataka Home minister K J George said that anti-human trafficking squads have been formed in districts of Bangalore Urban, Mysore, Dharwad, Belagavi, Dakshina Kannada, Raichur, Vijayapura, Davanagere, and Kalaburagi according a report published in Vijayavaani newspaper, a Kannada daily.

Photo Credit: www.pardaphash.com
Photo Credit: www.pardaphash.com

The minister further said that a total of 656 cases of human trafficking have been registered from 2013 till date and 2,354 people have been arrested in these cases. In 2015 alone, 151 cases have been registered and a total of 423 people have been rescued that includes 30 men, 252 women and 141 children.

The question about human trafficking was raised by BJP’s Vimala Gowda, who raised concerns about practices like “Gujjar ki Shaadi”, wherein young girls are sold off to agents in the pretext of marriage and later these agents sell these girls into prostitution hubs.

According to this report, 27 women and children go missing or get kidnapped every day in the state. Out of 14,361 missing people between January 2014 and May 2015, only 11,283 people have been traced or have returned home.

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“Chinese Human Traffickers Operating Illegal Matchmaking in Pakistan”, Says Pakistan Media

The revelation prompted the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad to respond Saturday, saying the businesses are strictly prohibited under Chinese law

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FILE - A young Pakistani girl who escaped a forced marriage speaks to a reporter in the country's northwest. VOA

Pakistani media are reporting that Chinese human traffickers are operating illegal matchmaking centers in Pakistan, where they allegedly trap women from economically burdened families in fake marriages before transporting them and forcing them into prostitution or even selling their organs in China.

The revelation prompted the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad to respond Saturday, saying the businesses are strictly prohibited under Chinese law and vowing to crackdown in cooperation with Pakistani authorities on the illegal practice of profiting through cross-border matchmaking.

The number of Chinese visiting neighboring Pakistan has dramatically increased since the launch of the bilateral multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) five years ago. The flagship pilot project of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has brought an unprecedented $19 billion in much-need Chinese investment to Pakistan.

News reports about phony marriages between Chinese men and Pakistani women regularly appear in local media, prompting lawmakers to debate the issue and demand that officials look into the unlawful practice.

TV report

The Chinese Embassy’s reaction apparently came a day after a top private Pakistani television station aired images Friday of several Chinese men with six local women in different rooms, including two teenage girls, at an illegal matchmaking center in the eastern city of Lahore.

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FILE – A Pakistani cyclist passes in front of a wedding hall in Peshawar. VOA

The ARY News channel crew showed up unannounced at the facility along with local police and interviewed the foreigners, their local facilitators and the alleged Pakistani wives of the Chinese men. When asked, the station said, members of the alleged gang of Chinese human traffickers failed to produce local marriage certificates or documents showing the men had converted to Islam before marrying Pakistani Muslim women, which is mandatory under local laws.

The Pakistani victims explained that in return for their marrying Chinese men, their families would get about $300 per month and a Chinese visa for male family members. The local facilitators told the TV channel they would lure families into an agreement by saying their would-be Chinese son-in-law was seeking Pakistani citizenship so he could invest in the country as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project.

“We remind both Chinese and Pakistani citizens to remain vigilant and not to be cheated. … We hope that the public does not believe in misleading information and works together to safeguard China-Pakistan friendship,” the Chinese Embassy said in its statement.

It noted that both countries are firmly opposed to human trafficking and sales of human organs and rejected as “misleading and groundless” reports about sales of human organs in China.

Cooperation on crackdown

“China is cooperating with Pakistani law enforcement agencies to crack down on illegal matchmaking centers,” the embassy said, adding that both Chinese and Pakistani youths were victims of the illegal agents.

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FILE – Pakistani brides attend a mass marriage ceremony in Karachi. VOA

While briefing Pakistani lawmakers at one of the recent meetings, senior government officials reportedly said Islamabad was in close contact with Beijing about fake marriages and action was being taken to counter the practice. A spokesman for the Interior Ministry, Tariq Sardar, was quoted as telling the meeting that “some private marriage bureaus were involved in these marriages” and “most of the complaints were being received from Lahore as well as the Pakistani city of Abbottabad.”

Pakistan and China are extremely sensitive to any critical reporting on their relationship. Officials on both sides also discourage skepticism and criticism of the CPEC as well as BRI investments as Western propaganda. Beijing and China defend the CPEC as a highly productive initiative, saying it has created tens of thousands of local jobs and resolved a decade-long crippling power crisis in Pakistan.

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The United States contends China’s BRI projects are of dubious economic value and contain national security elements favoring Beijing. Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington was trying to warn countries about the risks. (VOA)