TODAY -

Child Trafficking : Many rescued yet dozens of minor traceless since 2010
- Part 1 -

James Khangenbam *

Human Trafficking :  Many rescued yet dozens of minor traceless since 2010
Child Trafficking :: An illustration by Bunti Phurailatpam



The rescue of trafficked children was worthwhile as the kids must be playing football in green fields by now with no health issue and caring parents.

I came across a 12 year old child rescued from Tamil Nadu and brought to RIMS Psychiatric ward by CWC (Child Welfare Committee) Bishenpur way back in 2010. He stood naked before the doctors who were observing his skin thicken with overgrown chicken pox. Symptoms of malnutrition were vivid. He had acquired the health issue over a period of time and had overcome several traumas. He met such hardship in a wonder land with no love at a tender age depriving the joyful innocence of a normal childhood. To me, he stood as a testimony of deprived happiness in the trafficked destiny where children had to sleep with empty stomach and itchy skins and wake up for another unhappy day.

At any given point of time, the vulnerability of tender age should not be ignored, was the feeling I came across in my mind the moment I saw some other trafficked girls and boys laying on the hospital bed at the psychiatric ward of RIMS Lamphelpat. Upon enquiry, the CWC officials said that they will be taken back home after treatment by child psychologists and is a part of the rehabilitation programme.

However to our utmost dismay, 74 minor girls (7 - 12 years) from Manipur and Assam are traceless till date and the miserable life they would be leading are beyond our imagination. Way back in 2010, the Police personnel and Child Welfare Committee while interviewing 76 children rescued from Bedesta Blessing Home came to know about the missing kids.

Human Trafficking :  Many rescued yet dozens of minor traceless since 2010
Child Trafficking :: An illustration by Bunti Phurailatpam



According to DIG Kanyakumari, a native of Manipur named Paul brought 150 children from Manipur and Assam to Chennai in 2007. Boys numbering 76, were taken to a place on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram and then to Kanyakumari by a person called Saji and the remaining 74 girls were taken to Bangalore. Investigating officers informed that the girls were shifted to Bangalore before the raid. Rather 24 girls were traced to a home in Bangalore and the accused trafficker Saji was taken into custody at that time. But so far there is no report of rescuing the trafficked girls (news source: 13th Feb. 2010 Imphal Free Press, Sangai Express, Poknapham).

Trafficking Table 2010 source various local and national newspapers:-

Sl. No Rescued children & time Origins Trafficked area & Rescue team Remark
a) 93 kids
Jan, 2010
Manipur Rescued from a house in Sholinganallur by CWC Tirunelveli district, Tamil Nadu,
3 children were reportedly hidden in a cupboard
1 girl was sexually assaulted.
Police arrested 2 people from Manipur who brought the children to Chennai.
The arrested persons were identified as Rakesh and Herojit.
b) 76 kids
Jan 2010
Manipur & Assam Rescued by CWC Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu.
The children were kept in an unregistered Orphanage called Bedesta Blessing Home located at Kanyakumari.
53 from Manipur 23 from Assam.
Arun Ram from Time of India reports that, "the rescue of 76 malnourished children, from Manipur and Assam, from a home at Kuzhithurai in Kanyakumari district this week is only the tip of a vast network, which receives crores of rupees from churches and agencies abroad by showing a large number of children under their care"
c) 3 kids
Feb. 2010
Manipur
Lamkang tribe of Chandel
Rescued by combine team of CWC Tamil Nadu and CWC Manipur. Rescued from Tamil Nadu
d) 10 kids
Mar. 2010
Manpur CCpur Intercepted by Sekmai police while traveling in an inter-state bus heading for Guwahati.
According to police 9 children held from CCpur & 1 from Mizoram.
The 10 trafficked children have been handed over to the Child Line of Social Welfare department-Manipur, by Sekmai Police
3 of them were girls
e) 27 kids
Apr. 2010
Manipur
21 from Chandel district,
4 from CCpur
2 from Senapati
Rescued and brought back to Imphal from Chennai.
Tamil Nadu Government rescued the 27 children from different unregistered children Homes based in Chennai and Kanyakumari
The children were between 9 to 15 years
9 of them were girls.
f) 1 + 3 kids
Sep. 2010
Imphal West & Imphal East 1 rescued from a hotel in Paona Bazar.
3 rescued from ImphalAirport by Singjamei police
-
g) 11 girls above 18 yrs
Oct. 2010
6 girls held from Nagaland while the rest from Mizoram Goa police rescued them from a beauty parlour The girls alleged that the owner tried to force them into the flesh trade


A child undergoing trauma for a long period during childhood, the time when they absorb knowledge to their unpainted canvas like the water to dry cottons absorb hardness in life and becomes numb. The natural spontaneity of creative thoughts and ideas to a child were side-lined by sufferings which is unproductive but has choking effects and the desire for freedom with no means and might to a helpless child becomes the only hope.

Rehabilitation with proper education, nutrition and care was the immediate thoughts among many people and CBOs when the trafficked children were brought to the State. Stigma and discrimination the children and their parents might face from the locality or people known to them are another big issue. There was a commitment call from the CWC in proper rehabilitation of the rescued children.

Tamenglong CBOs and student bodies organised a grand reception of the 52 rescued Zeliangrong Sudents from Tamenglong along with their parents and announced that they will punish any person who help in trafficking children from the region (2010).

All Manipur Christian Organization (AMCO) and El Shaddai, an NGO conducted a consultation meet on child trafficking. One hundred pastors from across the State took part. President of AMCO Rev Prim Vaiphei expressed that some self-styled Church functionaries are involved in human trafficking cases.

Following reports of rescuing 76 children from Assam and Manipur, being rescued from "homes" run by missionaries in Tamil Nadu, the Supreme Court in the first week of April ordered a probe into a possible trafficking racket involving tribal children. On September 1st the Supreme Court passed an order that imposes a ban on sending out children below the age of 12 years or those in primary schools to other states to pursue education.

The main factor behind parents sending off their ward to other state is for better education at free of cost as promised by the traffickers who are mostly missionaries. Arun Ram from Time of India reports that, "the rescue of 76 mal-nourished children, from Manipur and Assam, from a home at Kuzhithurai in Kanyakumari district this week is only the tip of a vast network, which receives crores of rupees from churches and agencies abroad by showing a large number of children under their care".

The Court also directed Ministry of DoNER looking after the development affairs of the north east region to assess requirement in terms of educational infrastructure such as construction of school buildings, hostels and children's homes in consultations with the states of Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya and submit a report to the Ministry of Human Resources Development for support.

Some few organisations who have been working in prevention of trafficking in the north east region are GOLD, EKTA, SOS Children Village and Snehalaya of Guwahati. Impulse NGO Shillong, Public monitoring committee, Tamenglong district, Fenry Reamei, Tamenglong based NGO, and Coalition on Children's Right to Protection, Manipur, Child Line and other government agencies and local bodies of the North Eastern States.

North East Support Centre and Helpline together with Pratigya - Anti-Human Trafficking Initiative of Operation Mercy India Foundation and other human rights agencies dealing with human trafficking took up certain initiatives in their efforts in combat the menace.

The kind of work these private organisations and volunteers had contributed are putting alerts on movement of large number of children in the railway Stations, awareness campaigns on trafficking, and organisation like Guwahati based GOLD trains volunteers on how to identify the traffickers. Besides Indian Red Cross Society took up their own methods in combating child trafficking.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) did a commendable work in studying the ground realities of the trafficking cases and the Supreme court entrusted them for the same mission after which the verdict on imposition of banning children who are 12 years and below inpursuingstudy outside their respective States of North East India was passed.

The Commission also convene meetings of the North-Eastern States and the destination States in working out a coordination plan for State to State mechanisms. G Satyabati, Director of Social Welfare Department officially announced that Anganwadi workers will be roped in a door to door survey to identify trafficked children who are yet to be rescued in the year 2010 but so far there has been no reports from the same department nor Anganwadi workers are seen surveying houses for the same cause.

A reliable source says that there are still thousands of children from Manipur trapped in illegal homes operating in the Country. The source also disclosed that he has seen them with his own eyes.

To be continued.....
(extracts of newspapers can be had from the writer)



* James Khangenbam is a frequent contributor to e-pao.net
The writer is Imphal Correspondent of Kakching based IMAGE TV and can be contacted at jameslaphoi(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on July 31, 2012



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