New Delhi: Jharkhand is counted as one of the states most vulnerable for trafficking of women and children according to a report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. Much of the trafficking is done by placement agencies that are actually organised crime syndicates, the report said.
It is more like a business with common people having their shares. The problem, civil society groups say, has become worse as trafficking rings have forged inter-state links to get around enhanced vigil by state governments. One ploy used by traffickers is to take girls from Jharkhand to far-off places like Assam, where they are less likely to attract the attention of police, before sending them to metros like Delhi.
Another report by the Action against Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation of Children (ASTEC) in 2010 said about 42,000 girls had been trafficked from Jharkhand to metropolitan cities.
As quoted by Hindustan Times, most of girls serve as bonded labour who are not allowed to interact with anyone except their employers. The less fortunate ones are made to work as sex slaves or become surrogate mothers and organ donors.
Revelations by some rescued girls have blown the lid off the flourishing human trafficking racket in Jharkhand's tribal hinterlands, a hotbed of modern day slavery where family members, neighbours, local politicians and even NGOs are involved in well-organised rings.
Reports say that, over 5 lakh women and children are trafficked every year in India.
Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi's Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) has identified Rangia railway station in Assam as a transit point for trafficked children from eastern states. Around 58 girls, 18 of them from Lohardaga, were rescued from Doboka in Assam in September last year.
Girls from Gumla, Lohardaga, Khunti and Simdega are also taken to Chattisgarh or Orissa and handed over to agents who send them to other destinations.
The BBA also found that agents in Punjab, Haryana and the National Capital Region are working together.
“These agents in eastern and northern states are functioning in a joint racket under the same syndicate based in New Delhi,” said Rakesh Sengar, director of victim assistance in BBA.
Many NGOs claimed that there are several villages without any teenagers, especially girls. Either they have migrated for jobs or have been trafficked.
The remotest of villages in eastern India that are worst hit by poverty and hunger. In the districts of Gumla, Simdega and Khunti, animals are said to be costly than children and poverty forces people to worry for their cattle more than their missing children.
Such is the apathy that thousands of girls from the three districts have gone missing over the past three decades but their families and the administration have been unable to locate them.
Many victims are sold to trafficking rings by their relatives. Despite the presence of tough laws, trafficking of children has continued unabated from Jharkhand. The BBA says it rescued almost 80,000 children across India, of whom 15% to 20% were from Jharkhand and Bihar.