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South Asian Countries Set Up Free Helpline to Counter Human Trafficking

U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime says South Asia is the second-largest and fastest-growing region for human trafficking

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South Asian countries, Wikimedia Commons
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NEW DELHI—South Asian countries will set up a toll-free helpline and online platform to fight human trafficking, which is growing on a massive scale in one of the world’s poorest and most populous regions.

While some activists are hopeful this will curb cross-border trafficking, others doubt that it will dent the problem.

File:3.2519 Nepalese-mother1.jpg
A desperate mother who traveled from her village in Nepal to Mumbai, India in search of her teenage daughter who was trafficked into an Indian brothel , Wikimedia Commons

Although there is no specific data on the number of women and children trafficked in the region, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime says South Asia is the second-largest and fastest-growing region for human trafficking.

The main victims of trafficking are girls and women.

This week, Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh underlined the need for regional solutions while attending a South Asia conference on protecting children.

After the conference, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and Nepal pledged to establish initiatives to trace missing children. They also plan to establish a uniform toll-free helpline and develop common standards for addressing sexual abuse, exploitation, and trafficking.

Turmoil raises risks

Turmoil in several of these countries has led to a surge in trafficking, according to Colin Gonsalves, head of the New Delhi activist group Human Rights Law Network.

“Nepal has had the earthquake, Bangladesh has had political strife. So this area is an area where families are being unsettled and displaced, poverty has increased, and so there are very large volumes of trafficking in this area, and more important there is no check at all,” he said.

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Forced labor in Nepal , Wikimedia Commons

There is high domestic trafficking in India also, where despite the impressive 7 percent-plus economic growth, huge income inequality means that millions of people are still extremely poor. At the same time, a surge in demand in the country’s booming cities results in many children and women working as prostitutes, laborers and poorly paid domestic employees.

Many of the victims are brought from Nepal and Bangladesh into India.

Related Article: Human Trafficking a borderless organized crime Rajnath Singh

‘Dismal situation’

A prominent Indian anti-trafficking activist, Rishi Kant, is optimistic that the South Asian initiative will curb cross-border trafficking.

“If we have [a] support system in other countries like Nepal and Bangladesh — because we have a lot of children from those countries coming to India, especially girl children — if those countries’ law enforcement agencies and the civil society jointly participate in passing information promptly and immediately, I think this will go a long way in rescuing the children,” Kant said.

However, Gonsalves and other activists blame the governments and law enforcement agencies for only paying lip service to a very serious crime, and say trafficking rings continue to function with impunity.

“If you ask overall in South Asia, ‘Has there been any progress toward curbing trafficking?’ [The answer is] only cosmetic stuff, but no systemic attempt to stop trafficking. It’s a very dismal situation,” Gonsalves said.

(Inputs from VOA)

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  • Pritam Go Green

    Feels so bad on hearing this type of shameful news. This is a social evil which needs to be eradicated asap. Why this is happening only in south Asia. South Asian countries should take a deeper look into this matter.

Next Story

Survey Shows That Only 2 Per Cent Women Play Lead Roles in Tech Teams

For the survey, HackerEarth surveyed over 1000 women from 35 countries holding technology positions in various organisations

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More evidence that most men have NO IDEA how women think
Only 2 per cent women promoted to lead tech teams: Survey. pixabay

Despite an increase in the number of women excelling in the tech world, women still remain highly underrepresented with just 2 per cent being promoted to leadership roles, a survey revealed on Monday.

The survey titled “Women in Technology 2018: Breaking Gender Barriers” conducted by HackerEarth, an innovation management and talent assessment company, explored the state of women technologists across the globe and the challenges faced by them in the workplace.

It shows that only one-third of all tech teams comprised of women, demonstrating a stark disparity in the number of women employed by tech organisations.

Despite 86 per cent of the study respondents having a formal degree in computer science, most experienced a stagger in their career growth, and only 2 per cent could make it to the top roles.

“While the number of women graduating in CS has been on a steady rise, when it comes to career growth, the numbers are staggeringly low,” Vivek Prakash, CTO and Co-Founder, HackerEarth, said in a statement.

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Representational image. Pixabay

“Implementing policies to support women in the workplace and providing them with training and resources will help reduce the high attrition rates we have observed amongst women technologists,” Prakash added.

In a bid to seek work with emerging technologies, flexibility as well as better pay, more than 50 per cent women developers were found to move to a new job.

Importantly, 50 per cent of the women technologists believed that “gendered wordings” in job adverts discouraged them from applying for technical positions.

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Solutions such as blind recruitments, building family-oriented policies, and upskilling opportunities will help women excel in their careers and reduce gender disparity in every organisation, the survey suggested.

For the survey, HackerEarth surveyed over 1000 women from 35 countries holding technology positions in various organisations. (IANS)