×
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Sex trafficking: Girl admitted to college to find recruits in Bengaluru

African nationals are falling into the trap. Girls from Uganda, Nigeria and Kenya come to Bengaluru to study, but they get involved with traffickers who trick them into handing over their IDs and threaten them to become part of the flesh trade.
Last Updated 02 April 2024, 22:12 IST

Sex trafficking is assuming new forms, activists working in rescue and rehabilitation say.

Young girls are often lured with promises of jobs or film roles, says Brinda Adige, who runs Global Concerns India, an NGO that fights trafficking.

In a recent case, a trafficked girl was admitted to a college so that she could recruit other girls.

“She was a beautiful girl. No one would suspect she was involved in trafficking. But the traffickers had intimidated her by threatening to harm her family,” she says.

A 19-year-old Brinda helped rescue recently was working in the home of an IT professional couple. Her ID cards and other documents had been taken away and she was not allowed to step out of the house except to dispose of garbage.

She was continually sexually abused by the husband, and the wife was aware of it. “It took six months to rescue her,” Brinda says.

African nationals are falling into the trap. Girls from Uganda, Nigeria and Kenya come to Bengaluru to study, but they get involved with traffickers who trick them into handing over their IDs and threaten them to become part of the flesh trade.

Anita Kanaiya of Freedom Project helped a girl go back to Kenya. She was caught in the net of some Nigerians who had taken her passport away. “She was taken to Goa from Bengaluru. But luckily she had a phone and we were able to rescue her,” she recalls.

Anita says the police are doing their bit. “Most recently, they busted a ring in a Thai massage parlour. It involved trafficked girls from African countries, Thailand and some eastern European countries,” she says.

Brinda alleges some powerful people are involved in these rings that makes it difficult to expose them. Two weeks ago, a trafficking ring was busted in an illegal orphanage in the city.

The advent of the Internet has made it harder to curb trafficking, activists told Metrolife. “It gets more complicated and nuanced with all these advancements,” says Priya Varadarajan of Durga India, a women’s rights NGO.

The victims are always accompanied by an escort, she adds. Many transactions take place online, on the dark web. “This developed over the pandemic years,” she explains.

Stumbling blocks 

Anita points out other complications make it difficult to root out this crime. The government’s anti-trafficking efforts are often lax. “My organisation is part of a government committee. But we have not met in a year,” Anita says.

Cases take three to four years to be heard in court and often, the activists and NGOs are harassed.

The UJJAWALA  project is a government scheme for the rehabilitation of victims. “It involves prevention, protection, rescue and rehabilitation. Ideally, these should be handled by different organisations. But what happens is that the government hands all these responsibilities to one organisation, which often does not have the wherewithal to handle all of it,” Brinda observes.

Cops’ reluctance

When victims or social workers approach the police to book cases under Section 370 of the IPC, the officers are reluctant. “It is a strong section that does not allow bail,” she tells Metrolife. Often, the culprits go scot free because the rescuers would have not followed protocol. “While rescuing a victim, the social worker has to form a squad which includes lady constables, a doctor, and representatives from the labour and social welfare departments. This is difficult to coordinate,” she explains. The government should activate its anti-human trafficking unit, activists urge.

“Officers who do not fit into other departments are inducted into these units. There is no incentive and they do not take any initiative. There must be a clause that allows NGOs to be included in the unit,” Brinda says.

She also recommends that the judiciary fast track such cases. Information about the trafficking modus operandi should be broadcast across towns, villages and cities. “It should become the government’s mission,” she says.

ADVERTISEMENT
(Published 02 April 2024, 22:12 IST)

Follow us on

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT