Friday, February 05, 2010

Human trafficking in India Part I: Caste and Human Trafficking

Highly developed IT industry, nuclear weapons, and a fast developing economy with rich culture and resources are what one thinks of when he or she thinks of India in the 21st century. Also, when reading articles on Bollywood stars traveling to Africa to fight against human trafficking, readers are led to think that the victims are never Indian themselves, but instead are those who are trafficked from its neighboring countries. Furthermore, the democracy in India is well established enough that Indians, including the Bollywood stars, have a great understanding of a person’s fundamental human rights.

Scholars have pointed out to corruption, bureaucracy, and high illiteracy rates as three main factors causing human trafficking in India. However, unless one is familiar with the Indian culture and the society, one would have a hard time recognizing the connection between human trafficking and the three causes behind such atrocities in India. In fact, the causal relationship between human trafficking and the three factors is possible soley because the Caste System in the country allows Indians to accept such issues - which human trafficking - as part of the tradition or custom. Further, the Caste System allows many Indians to believe that human trafficking of low Caste class members is a fact of life, rather than a flawed tradition.

According to The Dalit Freedom Network, Dalit people are the lowest class in the Indian Castes system. The population of Dalit contains nearly 67% of the entire Indian population, which amounts to 250 million Indian citizens. [2] Though the Indian constitution outlawed the mistreatment of Dalits solely based on their social status, it has not officially abolished the Caste System from the society as a whole. Therefore, in practice, Dalit people's status in the lowest Caste's class continues to control their lives with a rare chance of climbing up the social ladder.

As Castes affect every aspects of a person’s life in India, Dalits have faced all sorts of discrimination against them. In the past, the society expected them to “use separate water taps, temples and graveyards in the cities." [3] Their Caste class status also affected their chances of getting a job or finding a place to live. Moreover, Dalit students were told to arrive earlier to clean the classroom for other students.

They were also expected to sit in the back of the classroom. [4]
Some people say that such extreme forms of discrimination mentioned above no longer exist. However, Caste discrimination is severe enough for Indians to justify modern-day slavery. Even if they try to work hard to rise above the poverty line, their social status perpetuates the maintenance of their life styles under the poverty lines.

1 comment:

  1. India is a developing country and it has progressed a lot.In modern culture there is no place for caste based system.Even those considered as a backward class have progressed a lot in todays world.