US report highlights trafficking in India

June 28th, 2011 - 10:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, June 28 (IANS) India is a source, destination and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labour and sexual trafficking, the US State Department has said.

The annual report on Trafficking in Persons said: “The forced labour of millions of its citizens constitutes India’s largest trafficking problem; men, women, and children in debt bondage forced to work in industries.”

It added: “A common characteristic of bonded labour is the use of physical and, in many instances, sexual violence - including rape - as coercive tools, in addition to debt, to maintain these victims’ labour.

“Ninety percent of trafficking in India is internal, and those from India’s most disadvantaged social economic strata including the lowest castes are particularly vulnerable to forced or bonded labour and sex trafficking.”

The report noted that children were also subjected to forced labour as factory workers, domestic servants, beggars and agricultural workers.

It added that women and girls were “trafficked within the country for the purposes of forced prostitution”.

“Religious pilgrimage centres and cities popular for tourism continue to be vulnerable to child sex tourism.

“Indian nationals engage in child sex tourism within the country and, to a lesser extent, in other countries.

“Sex trafficking in some large cities continued to move from red light areas to road side small hotels, and private apartments.

“Women and girls from Nepal and Bangladesh are also subjected to sex trafficking in India.”

The report said the Indian government’s efforts do “not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so”.

It noted that India made uneven progress in its efforts to protect victims of human trafficking.

“Indian law enforcement and immigration officials continued to lack formal procedures for pro-actively identifying victims of trafficking among vulnerable populations, such as children at work sites, females in prostitution, or members from the disadvantaged social economic strata in rural industries.”

The report said that the central and state governments conducted several initiatives to raise awareness about sex trafficking, especially during the run-up to last year’s Commonwealth Games.

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