The phenomenon of human trafficking has increased significantly over the past two decades, both globally and in South Asian countries. India is a source; destination and transit country for men, women and children trafficked for the purpose of forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. Women and girl are trafficked within the country for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced marriage. Children are also subjected to forced labour as factory workers, domestic servants, beggars and agricultural workers. Due persistent inequalities worldwide, women are more vulnerable to this practice which is a consequence of structured gender inequality in the form of violence. Trafficking for sexual exploitation typically includes abuse within the commercial sex industry (US trafficking in person’s report 2009).
There are estimated to be over 9 lakh sex workers in India and among them 30% are believed to be children. Recent reports estimate that the number of girl children involved in prostitution is increasing at 8 to 10 percent per annum. The problem of girl child prostitution in India is more complicated than in other third world countries because of poverty, traditional practices, beliefs and gender discrimination in India. According to a study in Kamatipura, the average age of girls supplied to the brothels in the last two years has decreased from 14 and 16 years to 10 and 14 years. A girl between 10 and 12 years fetches the highest price. Clients mistakenly believe that children have fewer chances of contracting the diseases. Similarly, there is a myth that man can get rid of STDs if he sleeps with virgins (Dr. John E. Rode).
The definition of ‘trafficking in persons’ Article 3 of the UN Trafficking Protocol states: “Trafficking in persons” shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.
Definitions of the “sale of children” “child prostitution” and “child pornography”
(a) Sale of children means any act or transaction whereby a child is transferred by any person or group of persons to another for remuneration or any other consideration; (b) Child prostitution means the use of a child in sexual activities for remuneration or any other form of consideration; (c) Child pornography means any representation, by whatever means, of a child engaged in real or simulated explicit sexual activities or any representation of the sexual parts of a child for primarily sexual purposes( Article 2, Optional Protocol to the CRC on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography).
About 70000 sex workers cross over from Nepal to India every year. 6.6% of the girls are from families where the annual income is about Rs. 5000. They may be sold by their parents, deceived with the promises of marriage or job or kidnapped and sold to brothel owners. Between 40 to 50 percent are believed to be under 18 and some are even 9 or 10 years old (Dr. John E. Rode).
The vast majority of trafficked women and girls are poor family background; many are from landless families and most come from the Dalit or from other low caste communities. Purposes for human trafficking in India include forced sex work, marriage, domestic labour, bonded labour, agricultural labour, industrial labour, entertainment, begging, drug smuggling, paddling, organ transplants etc. (Sen. A. UNIFEM Report 2005).
Review of Literature:
The United Nations General Assembly, 1994 (Resolution 49/166) defined trafficking as-” The illicit and clandestine movements of persons across national borders, largely from developing countries with economies in transition, with the end goal of forcing women and girls into sexually or economically oppressive and exploitative situations for profit of recruiters, traffickers and syndicates as well as other illegal activities related to trafficking, such as forced domestic labour, false marriages, clandestine employment and false adoption.
Themes from stories about parents who did not love or care for their children covered themes of abandonment, isolation and sadness. The study contributes an approach that can improve professional practice with children and early outcomes showing importance of seeking children’s’ perspectives in decision making about welfare (Healther D Cruz et al 2010) .
Child trafficking across the globe has failed to receive adequate attention even though it takes place in large numbers and in various forms, for various purposes, some of them being absolutely gruesome. While data available on child trafficking is inadequate and scattered, it surely provides useful insights on the various forms and purposes of trafficking in children. An attempt has been made in this analysis to present them systematically and as explicitly as possible. Quoting some of the valuable sources, UNIFEM’s resource book on Trade in Human Misery, Trafficking in Women and Children, Asia Region points out “At least 25,000 children are engaged in prostitution in the major metropolitan cities: Bangalore, Calcutta, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Chennai (Government of India, 1991). Other sources quote that 500,000 girl children below 18 years are victims of trafficking in India (India Today Magazine1990) The Dallas, with an eye on the booming market among tourists, travelling businessmen and truck drivers who believe that sex with a young child may keep them safe from diseases, are forcing the community to send out their girl children, most of whom are between the age 10-14. “10 year old tribals forced into sex trade in Rajasthan”.(The Asian Age, 20 June, 1997. As reported in Jonaki, Vol.1, No.2. September, 1997)
This study aimed at qualitatively analyzing the Poverty of families of female who were trafficked and thus deprived of their rights. The study examined the parent’s psycho-social conditions that were produced before child welfare committee of Bangalore district, Karnataka. The primary data was collected through interview. Secondary data was by review of journals and books. The objective of the study is to study the relationship between poverty and girl child trafficking.
Result and Discussion:
The data (Table 01) reveals that the socio-demographic details of the victimized parents. The majority 47 (94) percentage of the victimized parents were between the age group of 45-55. In the study majority 74 (148) percentage of the victimized parents were female. And nearly 33 (66) percentages of the victimized parents were illiterate, the majority 81 (162) percentages of respondents were nuclear Family. In the study 38 (76) percentage of the victimized parents were wage laboure and their 48 (96) percentages of respondents were monthly income of the household was below 11.000.
Poverty and female trafficking
Many people living in poverty live in communities of extreme poverty where there are limited resources and few opportunities for employment. Criminals take advantage of these vulnerable people, offering them a way to escape the harsh realities of their lives. Traffickers may offer fraudulent job training or educational opportunities to the people who are desperate enough to try anything for a better life for themselves or for their families.
Poverty is one of several factors that make individuals vulnerable to trafficking. While trafficking victims come from a range of backgrounds, including from economically privileged families, trafficking is linked inextricably with people with a lack of resources, notably job opportunities. Living in poverty is a harsh reality to escape from and people become desperate enough to enter into fraudulent employment schemes or be deceived into prostitution. Traffickers target people who have few economic opportunities and those struggling to meet basic needs.
With over 35% of the world’s population living on less than $2.00 a day, 2.5 billion children, women and men are at risk for human trafficking.2 Poor parents, promised that their child will be educated, fed and treated well, may send their child, sometimes in exchange for money, with a person the parents trust. Parents may feel forced to sell one child so that the others may eat. At times, a child may be sold out of payment for a parent’s debt (bonded placement,) particularly in societies where it is socially acceptable for children to work. In the United States, vulnerable people may be recruited from homeless shelters.3 Most victims of trafficking are women and girls. In those economically troubled countries where women hold low social status, families may sell a girl child in order to have money to feed the rest of the family. Other women and girls are lured into trafficking out of a desire for a better life for themselves, and in some cultures, to pay a dowry.
In the United States, pimps will recruit young, vulnerable women in shopping malls, at high school events or in clubs. The trafficker will befriend a woman, creating emotional, and drug or alcohol dependencies to trap them. Trafficking for sex or labor is a profitable industry. The trafficker is often part of an organized crime ring.
According to the United States government, traffickers may make up to $9.5 billion a year in the sex trafficking business. 5 Ending trafficking requires addressing the demand for sex and cheap labour, which contributes to the enormous profit for the trafficker. It entails ending the poverty that makes human beings vulnerable to trafficking. Becoming educated on the root causes of poverty, including the effects of our trade agreements on workers living in other countries and the human cost behind our cheap consumer goods, will help us understand what we can do to decrease global poverty and thus the trafficking of human beings.
Female Trafficking impact on Parents:
Many of these children grow up with a social stigma and are often shunned and isolated from the community. Seen as shameful and a burden, it is not uncommon for children of sexual violence, especially during a period of national conflict or war, to be abandoned by their mothers. Children born of sexual violence during the Rwandan genocide are described as “children of bad memories” or “devil’s children” (Warner, 2012). While there are many mothers struggling not to “project [hate and anger] onto their children” (Warner, 2012), several are still coming to terms with accepting that the children are their own. Testimonies from Rwandan women who were sexually assaulted and gave birth to a child tell of relief when the child does not resemble the father and mother, emotional conflict if the child does, and a “divided love” that favors the legitimate children over the children born of violence (Foundation Rwanda, 2012)
The families, consequently, face a great degree of Burden and distress. Daily life of a family can be disturbed in many aspects by the unexpected incidence. Traditionally, the family has been serving as a major support system for the mentally ill. Moreover, prior to the contact with the professional help, the family decides the need and nature of psychiatric treatment required for the affected member. Very often, due to the misconceptions and apprehensions about trafficking may accrue to the victim; the family is reluctant to make use of the services available.
The data ( table-2) reveals that DASS and quality of life of the sex traffixked female victims parents psycho social conditions such as depression (54 Respondents) Stress (62), Anxiety (57), Social Support (52), Quality of life (50) experienced by most of the respondents. Physically mentally they were in very bad conditions; emotionally they were tortured in the form of solving problem of victims.
Many of the research studies and papers have mentioned that trafficked victims likely to be more with India, but the above study tried exploring that all other psycho social problems of the parents of sex trafficked female victims problems of parents are also at higher level but those conditions may not be easily noticeable and parents of victims will not easily disclose these matters with others, since the study consisted the respondents who were already into process under NGOs , they were bit disclosure., this will make them feel suppressed followed by psycho social ill health, The parents of the trafficked victim children face crisis situation. The incidences develop feeling of guilt and distress among the parents. The emotional toll may take the clinical form of anxiety, stress or depression. The filtering of social image, shattered dreams, shock by the incident, confusion in accepting back the child, difference in the opinions among themselves, Etc may result in anxiety, feeling of helplessness, overwhelmed emotions among the parents.
Magnitude of the Problem
Worldwide, 40-70% of all female are victims of human trafficking. Around the world at least one woman in every 66 minutes has been trafficking and using for coerced sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime. In this parents are suffering considerable high rate of problems where they are neglected and in dark place to find out the ways to come out of this problem. In no country in the world are women safe from this type of violence. Out of ten counties surveyed in a 2005 study by the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 50 percent of women in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Peru and Tanzania reported having been subjected to physical or sexual violence with figures reaching staggering 71 percent in rural Ethiopia.
Social Work Intervention:
Female trafficking is a violation of the human rights of the female who is trafficked. It is also a crime. However, trafficking involves a series of distinct acts – recruiting a child, moving the child from one place to another, exploiting the child – that are sometimes carried out in two or more countries, making it difficult for law enforcement officials to gather evidence. Family Poverty is the one of the main causes of female trafficking there are many poverty alleviation programmes in completely eradicating poverty but, still trafficking is increasing. Female can experience many different violations of their rights and suffer both physically and psychologically. Poverty is the most obvious factor that leads to a spread in trafficking of women. However various other cultural and socio-economic factors sustain this abhorrent practice as well.
Research Scholar, Department of Social Work, JSS Research Centre, Mysore University, Mysore, Karnataka
Assistant Professor, Department of Social Work, JSS College of Arts, Commerce and Science, Mysore, Karnataka
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