Awaz Ho Buland: Human Trafficking in East India


In this episode of Awaz Ho Buland, we examine the problem of human trafficking in prominent eastern states of India like West Bengal, Orissa, Jharkhand and Bihar. According to a National Crime Records Bureau data, 8205 cases of human trafficking were reported, of which nearly 60% came from South Parganas district in West Bengal. Both North and South Parganas are close to the Bay of Bengal where cyclonic storms are common. Large scale devastation leaves the people homeless and economically weaker. This makes it easier to fall into human trafficking traps.

One of the survivors that our Community Correspondent Soriya Banu spoke to narrated her ordeal. "They (her employers) used to inject me with something to stop my growth. My mother was also not allowed to meet me. Police rescued me three years later," said a minor girl who was trafficked into domestic work. 

Minor girls are trafficked to bigger cities and forced to work as caregivers, servants, prostitutes, bar dancers etc. Minor boys are made to work at construction sites and are paid much less than adult labourers. Data shows the pandemic has thrown more people into the human trafficking trap. 141 cases of child marriage have been reported in West Bengal since the lockdown. 

Harihar Nagbansi from the tea gardens of Alipurduar reports about a young local boy who left home saying he is going to Hyderabad to work as a driver. But no one has heard of him for the past four years.

Another case is that of a woman who is forced to beg for her children and herself. "My husband went missing 12 years ago and never came back. Two years ago, my eldest son also went missing. I have no guardian and am forced to beg,"

Sometimes police refuse to file and FIR as the victims willingly went with the traffickers in search of better prospects. So technically it is a case of fraud. However, in the case of minors going missing, the Supreme Court has ordered that police will have to file an FIR.

See all episodes of Awaz Ho Buland here.

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