Saturday, March 15, 2008

Child Trafficking in India

Another look at the role of supposed "aunts" and "uncles" as recruiters for traffickers.

Previously: Sex trafficking in the Middle East

From Express India:

Looking at 10-year-old Smita (name changed), playing and laughing with the staff at Childline in Gurgaon, it is hard to believe she is a victim of trafficking. While the Gurgaon police have registered a case of missing child, Smita’s story is indicative of a larger problem.

She was brought to Gurgaon over a month ago, along with other children and people from Siligudi — on the border of Assam and Bengal. “My aunt is really nice. She often brings a lot of people from our village and gets them jobs in the city so that they can make money,” says Smita. She is completely unaware of the fact that she is being exploited: “I had to come because after my father and brother died last year, I had to help my mother make money. And it is easier to get jobs in the city than in our village.”

Childline workers are convinced there is a big human trafficking racket waiting to be unearthed in the suburb. At the moment, they are focussed on trying to locate the “aunt” who brought Smita to Gurgaon. “In my five years of working with trafficked children, I have so often heard of these aunts and uncles, who are nothing more than middlemen bringing cheap labour into the city in return for a commission,” says Anil Mishra, a Childline officer.

Smita was brought to the suburb along with her mother and older brother, whom she has not met for the last two and a half weeks. “My mother and brother got a job soon after we arrived and since then they have not come to visit me. My aunt kept me back to train me better in household chores and promised if I learnt fast I would soon be able to get a job for myself,” says Smita.

Read the full article

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