//INDIA: West Bengal police suspected to be protecting child traffickers

INDIA: West Bengal police suspected to be protecting child traffickers

24 oct 2011

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from MASUM, a human rights organisation working in West Bengal, concerning the case of 15-year-old girl, who was trafficked to Bangalore from the Indo-Bangladesh border. In this unfortunate case, the victim girl from Padmapukur village, was first married to one Mr. Abdulla Mondal son of Fakir Ahmed Mondal and subsequently fell prey to child traffickers. The girl is still not rescued and from the information which the father have, his daughter is held somewhere in Bangalore. The police despite having received complaints with details including the name of the suspects, as in many other cases (AHRC-UAC-214-2011), have taken no action. The minimum age for a girl to marry in India is 18 years.

CASE NARRATIVE:

The victim in the case is Ms. Sayera Khatun (name changed), aged about 15 years, having her home at Padmapukur village under the jurisdiction of Baduria Police Station, North 24 Parganas district in West Bengal. One Mr Abdulla Mondal, son of Fakir Ahmed Mondal in the village married the victim before she was trafficked on 30 May 2011, when she came to her father’s house.

MASUM’s fact-finding reveals that the incident took place near the bordering area of Bangladesh within the jurisdiction of Baduria Police Station, North 24 Parganas district, West Bengal. The victim’s father alleges that Mr Mahasin Sarder alias Khokan, son of Mr Abdul Hossain Sarder and Mr Monirul Mondal, son of Mr Moslem Mondal are involved in the trafficking of his daughter. Both the perpetrators are the residents of Gokulpur village under the jurisdiction of Swarupnagar Police Station.

The victim’s father went to the Baduria Police Station to lodge a complaint against the alleged traffickers. The family members of the victim approached several times to the said police station with the specific allegations of kidnapping and child trafficking. However, the police refused to register any case against the alleged traffickers.

It is reported that then the victim’s father submitted a written complaint before the Superintendent of Police, North 24 Parganas district. And as a result the officers at Baduria Police Station registered a case no. 288 dated 15 August 2011 under Sections 363/366 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 against the aforesaid suspects. The victim’s father alleged in the complaint that he had received information that the suspects have sold his daughter to the flesh traders in Bangalore.

The victim’s father received one phone call from a telephone number +91 80 50552154 after his daughter was trafficked. In the conversation the victim informed her father that she was sold at Bangalore to flesh traders and requested her father to rescue her immediately. All these information was provided to the Baduria police. However, the police have done nothing so far other than registering the case. Even after the police registering the case, the officers did not attempt to arrest the accused persons. Five months has gone by but the victim is yet to be rescued.

The family does not know what more to do. They are extremely poor and legally illiterate.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

India is a party to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography. India has ratified the Protocol on 16 August 2005. India is also a party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which it has acceded on 11 December 1992. On 12 Dec 2002, India has signed the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

In its Concluding Observations on India, the Child Rights Committee vide recommendations dated 26 February 2004 (CRC/C/15/Add.228) has requested the Government of India to: (1) setup mechanisms so that child trafficking is effectively prevented; (2) to take measures so that the rights of the child are respected, protected and promoted; (3) to take all necessary measures for the implementation of the National Plan of Action for the Girl Child and encourages the enforcement of protective laws; (4) Set up child-sensitive mechanisms to receive complaints against law enforcement officials regarding ill-treatment during arrest, questioning and police custody and in detention centres; (5) Investigate and prosecute complaints in a child-sensitive manner; (6) Strengthen its efforts to train the law enforcement personnel on the human rights of children; (7) Take all necessary steps to implement the Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929; (8) Extend the scope of the to all forms of trafficking of children and ensure that all trafficked children are always treated as victims; (9) Conduct a comprehensive study to assess the causes, nature and extent of trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children; (10) Provide sufficient human, financial and technical resources for the implementation of the National Plan of Action; (11) Adopt multidisciplinary and multisectoral approaches and take measures to prevent and combat sexual exploitation and trafficking of children, including an awareness-raising campaign and educational programmes, particularly for parents; (12) Ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice; (13) Strengthen its policies to facilitate the reunification of child victims of trafficking with their families and provide adequate care and reintegration programmes for children who have been sexually exploited and/or trafficked, in accordance with the Declaration and Agenda for Action and the Global Commitment adopted at the 1996 and 2001 World Congresses against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children.

All the above recommendations have been negated in this case. The direct responsibility of it falls upon the local police, who have failed to act upon the complaint.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write to the authorities listed below asking for their urgent intervention in this case.

The AHRC is also writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children calling for an intervention in this case.