ASIA/INDIA - Caritas alarm: Child trafficking in northeast India

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Dispur (Agenzia Fides) - The Indian State of Assam has been the hub of human trafficking in the country; politics must act urgently to stop the trafficking involving in particular children: is the alarm launched to Fides by Caritas India, which releases the worrying figures of the phenomenon. In Assam there are 22% of cases of victims of trafficking across India. Data has been released by a National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) survey and is related to the year 2015. There is a huge increase in child abuse and children's rights violations. In 2015, 250% of cases of child trafficking were recorded in the northeastern States, mainly in Assam. Of the 1,539 human trafficking cases registered in 2015, 1,494 came from Assam. The total number of cases reported in 2014 was 435, while in 2013 there were 186. In the State of Assam there is also the highest number of trafficking regarding minors, 317 victims, 38% of the national figure. And these data, Caritas notes, can only be considered the "tip of the iceberg", as many cases remain unresolved and the phenomenon has large proportions.
In recent years, police have made several arrests linked to human trafficking. Frequent natural and human disasters, unemployment, migration and human trafficking, child rights violations, conflicts, are all rapidly emerging problems in the northeastern region. The States in the North East, (Assam, Manipur, Mizoram and Arunachal) are authentic hubs for the trafficking phenomenon. According to a recent survey by the Assam's Crime Investigation Department, since 2012, the children missing in Assam have been at least 4,754, and 2,753 of them are girls.
Child labor and sexual exploitation are the main factors for child trafficking. The study highlighted that only in the last year, at least 129 girls were forced to prostitute themselves by traffickers. As reported to Fides, during the recent flooding, in the post-disaster monitoring, Caritas India found that flooding has caused a desperate migration of family members while children have been attracted by traffickers.
On September 27, Caritas India held a meeting in Guwahati with some selected partners working from Assam who work in Silchar, Tezpur, Dibrugarh, Arunachal Pradesh and Guwahati, along with the NGO "Impulse" of Meghalaya to understand the problem in the State of Assam and Arunachal. By sharing experience and information gathered through other organizations on the phenomenon, Caritas India and its partners have identified a starting point for potential intervention in favor of children in areas such as illiteracy, exploitation of child labor, sexual exploitation as well as migration of young girls and boys.
As Caritas India explains to Fides, in the northeastern region of India, women and children trafficking takes place within the same states and also across the borders of Myanmar, Bangladesh and Nepal due to various economic and social reasons. Among them, according to NGOs involved in the field, poverty and unemployment emerge, changes in the traditional economy, militarization and armed conflict, urbanization, immigration, displacement, closeness to the international border and the influx of security personnel, businessmen. (PN/AP) (Agenzia Fides, 10/10/2017)