US puts India on trafficking watch list for 7th year

By Arun Kumar, IANS
Monday, June 14, 2010

WASHINGTON - The United States has placed India on its second worst category on human trafficking for the seventh consecutive year, saying the latter has done significant work on sex trafficking, but not enough to check labour trafficking.

“The government of India does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking,” said the US State Department in its 10th annual Trafficking in Persons Report released Monday.

“However, it is making significant efforts to do so, particularly with regard to the law enforcement response to sex trafficking,” acknowledged the report released by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“Despite these efforts, the Indian government has not demonstrated sufficient progress in its law enforcement, protection, or prevention efforts to address labour trafficking, particularly bonded labour; therefore India is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for the seventh consecutive year.”

The report places 13 countries including Burma, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia on its worst “Tier 3″ countries list not doing anything to fight the “phenomenon of modern slavery” as Clinton put it.

India is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to trafficking, specifically forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation, the State Department said.

Citing a late 2009 Indian home ministry assessment, the report said: “The forced labour within the country of millions of citizens constitutes India’s largest trafficking problem; men, women, and children in debt bondage are forced to work in industries such as brick kilns, rice mills, agriculture, and embroidery factories.”

Ninety percent of trafficking in India is internal, it said, and those from India’s most disadvantaged social economic strata are particularly vulnerable to forced or bonded labour and sex trafficking.

Children are also subjected to forced labour as factory workers, domestic servants, beggars, and agricultural workers. Forced domestic work is a problem in Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Orissa.

Women and girls are trafficked within the country for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation, the report said.

Major cities and towns with tourist attractions continue to be hubs of child sex tourism, and this phenomenon also takes place in religious pilgrim centres such as Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh, Guruvayoor in Kerala and Puri in Orissa.

There are also victims of labour trafficking among the hundreds of thousands of Indians who migrate willingly every year to the Middle East and, to a lesser extent, Europe and the United States, for work as domestic servants and low-skilled labourers, it said.

Filed under: Immigration, World

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