CHANDIGARH: Minor girls from Nepal are now being trafficked to the Gulf via Delhi, while girls from Thailand who visit India on a tourist visa end up working in 'massage parlours' in Gujarat as part of the flesh trade.
All these latest trends were discussed at a one-day meeting on strengthening the response to human trafficking in India organised by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime here on Friday. The deliberations brought together stakeholders from Chandigarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Rajasthan.
In the meeting, participants exchanged insights on state-specific issues, including the latest trends and patterns of trafficking, good practices, responses and mechanisms to prevent and counter trafficking at the state level, as well as the key challenges and opportunities within states.
Revealing emerging trends in the western and northern states, Ashish Bhatia, DGP (CID and Railways), Gujarat, said, "For the last two to three years, girls from Thailand are arriving in Gujarat on a tourist visa and working in spas in various places in the state. Many are actually involved in the flesh trade. In 2018, 19 cases were registered under the Immoral Trafficking Act and in 2017, eight such cases were registered. If they are caught, they are deported."
"A new trend we have witnessed is that minor girls from Nepal are sent to Gulf countries via Delhi. Often, we are unable to register a case as there is no complaint. Also, fake Aadhaar cards are made here to show that the minor girls are adults," said Virender Kumar, Inspector with Anti Human Trafficking Unit, Crime Branch of Delhi Police.
Dr Hanif Qureshi, Inspector General of Police (Law and Order), Haryana said, "There is trafficking of brides to Haryana from other parts of the country as majority of them are minors and come from poor families in Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha and other states. In the past, we have registered many cases."
Rohit Malpani, Superintendent of Police of Baddi in Himachal Pradesh, said, "Trafficking and selling of girls for marriage is prevalent in Sirmour. But there is no legal status or social sanction for this kind of marriage which is usually exploited to use the girls as sex slaves as well as for labour."
"The police must adopt a victim-centric approach in dealing with these cases. It is critical to establish mini anti-human trafficking units in all police stations. We have come across cases that indicate clear links between drug peddling and human trafficking. Many tourists are attracted by the easy availability of marijuana, and the situation is becoming alarming as the peddlers, who also include foreigners, are even targeting school children,’’ he added.