India is the second most populous country in the world. Owing to this fact and because of the tremendously high poverty rate in the country; India also leads the world in human trafficking. In the country, around 100 million children are working in homes and factories across India and many of them are in situations that would be likened to slavery.
Moreover, for the year 2000 alone, it was estimated that 12. 07 percent or 13,157,000 of the 10 to 14 age group are economically active. This consists of 5,992,000 girls and 7,165,000 boys.Additionally, according to the National Labour Institute, 12.
6 million children out of the 203 million children from ages of 5 to 14 in India are employed full-time. One hundred sixteen million are in school while another 87 million are “do housework, work on family farms, work alongside their parents as paid agricultural labourers, work as domestic servants, or are otherwise employed”. The status of the other 74 million is unknown (Global March Against Child Labour, n. d.
) and it is that they are victims of child trafficking.According to Human Rights Watch, a total 40 million people in India are into bonded labour meaning they are working for someone until they pay off a debt. Off this 40 million people, 15 million are children. In some cases, the bondage is even passed from one generation to another if the debt if still unpaid upon the death of the initial person bonded.
Other reports indicate that more or less 50,000 children are trafficked into India for prostitution. In Mumbai, estimations indicate that around 90 percent of sex workers started off when they were still under 18 years of age.NGOs also state that 6,000 to 10,000 girls are being trafficked into India from Nepal annually. The same number is determined for girls being trafficked from Bangladesh (Global March Against Child Labour, n.
d. ). The International Labour Organization approximates that 15 percent of the prostitutes in India are children. With 2.
3 million prostitutes, this makes for 345,000 child prostitutes. On the other hand, no concrete data is available for the number of children that have been trafficked to be used for crime (Global March Against Child Labour, n. . ).
India is a prime destination for sex trade along with Thailand and the Philippines. These three countries comprise for a total 1. 3 million child sex workers. India is also the main destination for children aged below 16 who are trafficked in Southeast Asia along with Pakistan (Hughes, Sprocic, Mendelsohn & Chirgwin, n.
d. ). The prostitution in the country is operated and controlled largely by organized crime (Global March Against Child Labor, n. d.
) Women and children trafficked from Saudi Arabia are being sent to Middle Eastern nations daily.Girls that are put up for prostitution or domestic service in India, Pakistan and the Middle East are usually tortured, imprisoned and/or sexually abused. In Bombay, children 9 years and above are being sold for 60,000 rupess equivalent to 2,000 USD because of an unfounded belief that having sex with a virgin cures sexually transmitted infections. Indian brothels house 100,000 to 160,000 Nepalese women and girls.
They were brought to India as they were made to believe that marriage or a good job awaits them.Additionally, 5,000 to 7,000 Nepalese girls are transported into India every year for prostitution. Data indicates that that 2. 5 percent of prostitutes in India are from Nepal while 2.
7 percent are from Bangladesh. (Hughes, et. al, n. d.
). Many are being sent to prostitution as the families are fooled to send their children because of a promise of marriage or a good job. They are usually detained for days and are abused “until they learn to service up to 25 clients a day”. Others undergo training before being entering the trade.
Training may be a “constant exposure to pornographic films, tutorials in how to ‘please’ customers [and] repeated rapes” (Hughes, et. al, n. d. ).
Trafficking women from Nepal to India is fairly easy work because of a 1,740-mile open border. In fact, it is even less risky than transporting illegal drugs into the country. Traffickers can also easily bribe police officers in an instance that they are caught. The traffickers get the women from the isolated districts of Nepal where the illiteracy rate is high.
Such locations are Sindhupalchow, Makwanpur, Dhading and Khavre (Hughes, et. al, n. d. ).
Media Perspective The media refers to human trafficking as an overly heinous crime. On the other hand, some media entities believe that human trafficking has not been receiving adequate attention from the government. The media suggest that steps should be taken to halt human trafficking. Trafficking is dubbed as a very heinous crime because people make a profit out of the violation of another person’s rights (Mulford, 2006).
Trafficking is also a crime that has been given less attention compared to other horrors like suicide bombings and other acts of violence (Matysik, 2006). This is because other violent crimes are widely publicized like terrorists that want to strike fear into the hearts of people while human trafficking remains to be an underground business. One analysis indicates that the public has gained a distorted view of the issue since the media has been vent on exposing incidents of the trafficking of women and girls being forced into prostitution which fuels a moral panic.This diverts the public view out of other forms of human trafficking like forced labour (Fahy & McDevitt, 2006).
The United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking has also identified that these media stereotypes should be eliminated. Human trafficking, prostitution and smuggling should be confused with the one another. Marija Andelkovic, President of the anti-trafficking NGO ASTRA has something to say on the issue (UNGIFT, 2008). Media power should be used to press authorities and society in general to tackle the factors that drive human trafficking.
And the greatest contribution would be to write about human trafficking as a serious social problem which is very complex and has different aspects,” says Andelkovic. In that way, journalists will help fight crime. ” (UNGIFT, 2008) The media must also make an effort to protect the identities of victims of human trafficking if ever they are to interview one since much of human trafficking is controlled by organized crime and the victim could be in danger if his/her identity is exposed.Nonetheless, writing about human trafficking will not always require that a victim be interviewed.
The story can be framed in a variety of ways such that highlighting it as an organized crime or something that would urge the government to intensify efforts against it (UNGIFT, 2008). According to the Loquitur, the subject of human trafficking is finally getting the attention that it deserves. The awareness of the issue is increasing especially as different organizations have been battling with the issue.Influential celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey who hosts the talk show Oprah have also sparked public attention on the issue.
These have urged governments to act which includes drafting laws and setting up entrapment operations to catch human traffickers (Matysik, 2006). Recognizing human trafficking has been identified as an important issue and the Indian government has started to address the problem (Mulford, 2006) especially since the situation in India has now been identified by the media as “grim”.However, the actions by the Indian government to combat human trafficking has still has been deemed lacking. “In Mumbai, convictions for trafficking-related offences increased from three in 2003 to 11 thus far in 2004 but remain grossly unrepresentative in a city of over 18 million inhabitants” (Human trafficking situation, 2005).
UN. GIFT also supports that the media is an important tool in the fight against human trafficking. The UN. GIFT regional event in Vilnius gave focus on this aspect.