Hindustan Times / Indo-Asian News Service // January 9, 2006
Delhi leads in the number of women and children being trafficked and a majority of the victims were brought for commercial sexual exploitation below the age of 16, says a study.
The first-ever survey, titled "Trafficking of Women and Children in India", was brought out by the Delhi-based Institute of Social Sciences (ISS). It was conducted in 12 states across India over a two-and-a-half-year period with interviews from over 4,000 respondents, including 160 traffickers, 412 brothel owners, 582 clients and 929 victims of commercial sex exploitation (CSE). The study shows that human trafficking is a borderless crime and maps the trafficking patterns, which brings to light the high rates of inter-district trafficking in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. Delhi and Goa are on top in the inter-state trafficking rate while Andhra Pradesh tops the list of the "source" states. Scanned police records for 1999-2002 reveal that 31 per cent of the victims rescued from brothels in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata were from Nepal with a high incidence of Bangladeshi victims in Kolkata. It also emerges from the study that the situation is worse in areas that are underdeveloped with trans-border trafficking patterns in the northeast being a serious issue. Pangsa and Dimapur in Nagaland, and More in Manipur are major transit and demand centres. Women and children from Assam and Bangladesh were trafficked to Myanmar and other countries in South East Asia through the Golden Triangle via More.
Of the 510 interviewed children trafficked for non-sex purposes, 14.7 per cent were in the 6-10 age group, 21 per cent in the 11-12 age group, 27.6 per cent in the 13-14 age group and the rest in the above 15 years category. The study establishes that trafficking is a low risk and high profit venture with the failure of the law in arresting exploitation in brothels. Of the 412 brothel owners interviewed, 34.5 per cent have never faced any police action during the preceding year, while 53.4 per cent of them avoided arrest by bribing police officials and 29.1 per cent of the respondents revealed that police officials had a share in their income. The study revealed a new trend of sex tourism going up with the growing importance of tourism. The factors responsible for the growing phenomenon of child sex tourism include the anonymity of tourists, easy access to trafficked children and lack of interest shown by law enforcement agencies.