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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.

File:Tehrathum cash crop cardamom.JPG
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.

  • 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

Vivo opens online store in India

The Vivo innovative range will be available in 10,000 postal service areas (pin codes) across the country, the company said.

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Vivo to open E-stores in India to increase its market. Wikimedia Commons
Vivo to open E-stores in India to increase its market. Wikimedia Commons
  • Vivo is opening online stores in India in order to expand its market.
  • With new E-stores, the smartphones will be available to customers all over India.
  • The company is also thinking of launching an E-store app to make it convenient for people.

In a bid to expand its online presence, Chinese smartphone maker Vivo on Monday launched its E-store in India that will deliver products and services across the country.

“With the new E-store, Vivo’s innovative range of smartphones will be available to our customers across the country with special launch offers,” Kenny Zeng, Chief Marketing Officer, Vivo India, said in a statement.

Vivo will sell its phones through E-stores in India now.
Vivo will sell its phones through E-stores in India now.

The Vivo innovative range will be available in 10,000 postal service areas (pin codes) across the country, the company said.

The handset maker also announced its “Launch Carnival” under which, it is offering benefits on smartphones from January 16-18.

Buyers will get discount coupons worth up to Rs 2,000 on select smartphones, 12-month zero-cost EMI and one-time screen replacement in Vivo V7 and V7+ smartphones, the company said.

The company is also planning to launch its E-store application with features such as Augmented Reality (AR) support with the live chat option to help customers make purchase decisions. IANS