Sex trade, cheap labour behind spurt in human trafficking: experts

Kolkata, Jul 11 (IANS)

Human trafficking for purposes other than sex trade has been on the rise in the county. With the increase in the level of economic activities, the demand for cheap labour for industry and agriculture sector has resulted in the increase of the menace, experts say.

“People have a wrong notion that human trafficking is basically for sex trade. There are factors as well like cheap labour for industrial and agricultural sectors, domestic helps, beggars etc.,” said Urmi Basu, founder trustee of New Light.

The phenomenon is not peculiar only to India but also neighbouring countries like Nepal and Bangladesh.

“Though in Nepal, trafficking is mostly done for the sex trade, the demand for cheap labour has now started to contribute,” Basu said.

Children are being trafficked and are being used as labourers in the various industries as well as for begging, said Kiran Rupakheti, deputy secretary in the ministry of woman and child welfare, Nepal.

Nearly 70 NGOs from India and neighbouring countries, including Nepal and Bangladesh, working towards preventing human trafficking, had gathered for an initiative launched by the US consulate here to start a regional hub in West Bengal aimed at eradicating trafficking in South Asia.  

“We want to bring the issue of human trafficking to the mainstream. Our effort is to raise the awareness among the people and the government about the issue,” Dean Thomson, the US consul general in Kolkata, said.

Officials of the consulate explained that West Bengal and Kolkata were geographically and strategically chosen to set up the regional hub to prevent trafficking as it happens to be the source, destination and transit point for human trafficking.