A recent report by the US State Department has said that 90 per cent of the human trafficking in India is internal and those from the most disadvantaged sections, including the lower castes are the most vulnerable.
According to the ‘Trafficking in Persons Report 2013’, there are growing instances of women and girls from the North-Eastern states and Odisha being sold or coerced into forced marriages in the states with skewed gender ratio like Haryana and Punjab.
India is a source, destination and transit point for men, women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. And it also quoted a few NGOs, which believe that the scale of human trafficking is on the rise in their respective areas. The forced labour of an estimated 20 to 65 million citizens has been listed as a major area of concern in the efforts to tackle the scourge. Men, women, and children in debt bondage are forced to work in industries such as brick kilns, rice mills, agriculture, and embroidery factories, according to the report.
A common characteristic of bonded labour is the use of physical and sexual violence as coercive means. And the report attributed the rise in internal human trafficking to increased mobility, rapid urbanisation and a growth in a number of industries that use forced labour such as construction, textiles, cable, biscuit factories and floriculture.
Also, an increasing number of job placement agencies lure adults and children for sex trafficking or forced labour, including domestic servitude, with the promise of jobs. Activists estimate that 20 per cent of domestic workers, who are rescued from Delhi homes complain of sexual abuse.
In addition to this, children are subjected to forced labour in factories, as domestic servants, beggars and agricultural workers in rural UP, the report said.