Jharkhand: Anti Human Trafficking Status

In recent years, the state of Jharkhand has emerged as a vulnerable state for trafficking of women and children for forced labour and slavery. Thousands of children from Jharkhand are traded and trafficked by placement agencies to domestic homes in Delhi. The children and women remain in slavery and bonded labour like conditions. Several cases of sexual  slavery have also been reported from rescued victims from Jharkhand in Delhi. The placement agencies operate without fear of law and have mushroomed across Jharkhand. Most of these placement agencies are organised crime syndicates and they regularly indulge in trafficking of women and children. The business of placement agencies has been fuelled by huge demand of maids from eastern tribal states in the National Capital Region of Delhi. In the last three years, NGOs working in Delhi have reported rampant trafficking of women and children from Jharkhand.
Report: Human Trafficking
Red Light areas exist in the districts of Dhanbad, Bokaro and Hazaribag. The trafficking affected districts include Garwah, Sahibganj, Dumka, Pakur, West Singhbhum (Chaibasa), Ranchi, Palamu, Hazaribag, Dhanbad, Bokara, Girdih, Kodarma and Lohardagga. Most of the women trafficked from Jharkhand belong to Oran, Munda, Santhal (including endangered Pahariya ) and Gond tribes, out of which, maximum are from Oran and Munda.

Traffickers from Jharkhand operate from New Delhi in the guise of placement agencies which is a high earning business. The traffickers bring the victims to Delhi from where they are supplied to different places depending on the price the trafficker can get. Mostly these victims are being sent to domestic homes to work as slaves in Faridabad, Gurgaon, Noida and Delhi. Children as young as 11- 14 years are placed in homes and are made to work as domestic help for 14-16 hours a day. Some of the victims are sent to Haryana where there is a demand of brides for marriage. Jharkhand women and children have been also in high demand to work as bonded labour in Haryana and Punjab.

Abject poverty, illiteracy, ignorance, difficult access areas, shrinking land holding by the local populace, network of placement agencies were cited as the main reasons for large-scale migration from Jharkhand to other cities. The land is degraded to a great extent due to deforestation, mining activities and rampant industrialization. Though vast area of land is available, no technological inputs have been brought out to improvise the production in the region. Thus in majority of the regions, there is one crop pattern and mainly rain fed cultivation takes place. Lack of agricultural operations in a full-fledged manner is also leaving the landless labor high and dry. The only option available to them is migration. Thus during the non-agricultural seasons one can witness exodus from the villages in search of work in the neighboring states.

Jharkhand faces a huge problem of child labour. The state has been running the National Child Labour Project in Garwah, Sahibganj, Dumka, Pakur, West Singhbhum (Chaibasa), Gumla, Palamu, and Hazaribagh. As per the 2001 census, the number of child labour working stood at 4,07,200. As per the 2006 NSSO data, Jharkhand has 2,06,000 children working as child labour. The number of child labour who have been mainstreamed by the NCLP programmes till 2011 was 18,241.

The gaps between the "haves" and "have nots" are quite large in Jharkhand. Though in the books of law, the Zamindari system143  is abolished, they have now taken the new avatar of middlemen and contractors in the region. In the extreme torn regions of Palamu, Garhwa, Lohardaga, Chaibasa, Koderma and Hazaribag, the common people are subjected to ills of administration on the one hand, the contractors on the other hand and above them are extremists who virtually rule the region with their own Jan Lok Adalats144, extortion and the levy of taxes which is known in the local language as percentage system. The Gair Majaru lands are in the absolute possession of the landlords. The landlords own even trees of common property. Their control over the resources is absolute. With the abolition of the Zamindari system, the feudal landlords have taken to extortion of the people by becoming the contractors for all the development programs in the regions. The poor landless labourer is forced to work for their lifetime in the landlords' land and the only other option is migration in search of greener pastures.
As per the ATSEC Jharkhand Report in 2010, approximately 42,000 girls have been trafficked from Jharkhand to metropolitan cities. The victims who are working as domestic help in various urban households across the country are often made to work in pathetic conditions. In some cases they are even sexually exploited. About 70 percent of the total migrant women and girls are forced to join the flesh trade. A Rapid  Assessment of Domestic Workers in 8 districts (the most affected with problem of migration) was done by ATSEC Jharkhand and Research Plus Group, Ranchi. The findings of the study indicated that most of the trafficked victims are below 20 years and many of them are children. Many of them are in slavery like conditions and earn below minimum wages. The main destination for migration is Delhi145.

Due to the shortage of brides in villages and towns of Haryana and Punjab, woman are trafficked from distant states like Assam, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar and Odisha. From the state of Jharkhand, the girls are brought to Delhi and Punjab mainly for the purpose of prostitution and daily labour. A small percentage of the total migrating women from Jharkhand are also sold into coerced marriage. Another aspect of girls being brought to Delhi from Jharkhand, Bihar, and Odisha is for domestic work. A great number of these women are brought and then sold to the brothels and send to other places. The others are sexually exploited as sex slaves and forced into prostitution in the form of unorganized and movable brothels. The trafficking from West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar is mainly through train routes and only a small percentage is through other means146.

Trafficking of children for the carpet industry in Uttar Pradesh is also very high. Majority of the children working in the carpet sector, be it in Uttar Pradesh (UP) or in Jharkhand are migrant child labourers from Palamau and Garwa district in Jharkhand. These districts are the prime catchment area for child labourers especially Garhwa. In any village in the district there is hardly a home where child labour does not exist. Estimates are that there are 11,000 in Garhwa alone who are child labourers within the carpet industry. There are two kinds of child labour in this sector, child labour involving forced migration of children to UP where they stay and work with their masters, and child labour whereby children work in the looms in their own villages. These children lead a life of bondage and slavery. Parents pledge their children for petty loans of Rs.300 500 (USD 9) to the middlemen. The children are packed off to dark, dingy prisons under the guise of loom houses, where they are expected to live and work. Some fortunate ones do manage to escape but their freedom is usually temporary. Most parents do not welcome the return of the prodigal son if he is empty-handed and he is soon forced back to work. Although  carpet-weaving employment exists in their villages, the wage rates in Garwa, Jharkhand are much lower than in neighbouring U.P. However, the work conditions are so miserable that many children run away before their advance contract has been fulfilled, so they never actually earn a regular wage. The main factors responsible for the migration of children are the advance payment systems and the active role of the agents or middleman. Occupational health hazards such as asthma, lung diseases caused by dust and fibres, tuberculosis, skin allergies, poisoning by dyes, scabies, back pain, hip pain, limb pain and severe strain in the fingers are common. Cuts and injuries while using sharp knives and tools are a regular occurrence.

Missing Children

As per the National Crime Records Bureau, the state of Jharkhand has not been reporting figures related to missing children and missing persons since 2009. In the absence of data on missing children and rampant trafficking of victims being reported from Jharkhand, it is very difficult to assess  the real situation of trafficking of children and women.

State Government Initiatives 

Though the State Advisory Committee on trafficking was set up, the same has not been functioning. The Jharkhand State has formulated a state action plan to combat human trafficking but this has not been implemented so far.

The Jharkhand Police have set up 25 Special Juvenile Police Units in all districts of the state. Sixteen ‘protection homes’ under Integrated  Child Protection  Scheme  have been designated. Inspite of receiving a grant under ICPS, the state of Jharkhand has not set  up any of the Child Protection Units at the  district level. Twenty four CWCs have been  established but they continue to work without any infrastructure. Some of the CWCs have reported non payment of salaries. The documentation level of CWC and ‘protection homes’ is very dismal. The government has not  initiated standard  minimum care  and protection  for  victims.  Despite  the  huge amount of trafficking reported in the region, this  continues to be treated as a migration problem and not as organised crime.

In a recent case of trafficking of a 13 year old child in Delhi, the NCPCR visited Ranchi and Gumla district to take a view of the government run initiatives. The Commission among other things  has  recommended establishment of Children’s Homes at Ranchi and Gumla, capacity building and strengthening of CWCs and registration of all child care institutions under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000. The NCPCR also stated that Jharkhand should accelerate the implementation of Integrated Child Protection Scheme. The Department of Social Welfare has been asked to evolve the mechanism to work in coordination with the Anti-Human Trafficking Units (AHTUs) and NGOs on the issue of trafficking and missing children. The Jharkhand Government has agreed for a routine survey undertaken by the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) to include a separate column on missing children. The role of NGOs as handholding could be vital in spreading the awareness among parents and community, undertake preventive rescue, rescue from the railway station, destination point and ensure implementation of schemes like SABLA for their rehabilitation to prevent re-trafficking. The  Commission also recommended to ensure that the railway authority coordinates in curbing the trafficking of children at the source point while boarding the trains. There is a need to impart training to the ‘village chowkidars’ to act as the ‘first information officer’ to report about the missing children from their respective villages and to set up emergency helpline numbers to be circulated and displayed prominently at all the major points depicting the names of persons to be contacted in case of suspected trafficking. The State Government has also been requested to designate a senior officer of the rank of  DRC in Resident Commissioner’s office in important metro centers to ensure speedy coordination and facilitate rescue & restoration process of the identified trafficked children. Also the NCPCR recommended that the community should be sensitized on the issue of trafficking through wall writings/ cultural activities /road shows, etc. and to ensure that the details of identified traffickers are displayed prominently at all prominent places including the village Chaupals, police stations, bus depots, railway stations, etc147.

 Anti Human Trafficking Units

Compared to the State Government initiatives, the AHTUs set up by the Ministry of Home Affairs in Jharkhand have been proactively working on various anti trafficking initiatives. The Unit has already held several refresher courses on human trafficking for the police and other stakeholders. The State AHTU has also organised a prosecutor regional consultation and the state level prosecutors have also been trained. The AHTU Jharkhand has initiated partnerships with various organizations in Delhi and Kolkata for getting support for conducting raids for recovery of victims of human trafficking. The advisories sent by the Ministry of Home Affairs on human trafficking and Missing Children has been widely distributed to all district police chiefs. The AHTU has also established linkage with the State Commission of Women to provide support to trafficked victims. The AHTU has in collaboration with UNICEF brought out a district level directory of all institutional mechanisms existing in the state for child protection. The same has been widely distributed to all police stations and special Juvenile Police Officers in Jharkhand.


No of Anti Human Trafficking Units (Districts)
No of District Child Protection Units
No of Child Protection Homes
No of Special Juvenile Police Units
No of Child Welfare Committee
No of Homes under Ujjawala P & R Schemes
No of Shelter Homes under Swadhar Scheme

A state level network of organizations working on anti trafficking has been initiated in Jharkhand called the “Voices against trafficking”. This network consisting of 70 organizations has conducted a state level anti trafficking campaign across Jharkhand in December 2011. The Secretariat of the Voices against Trafficking is presently with “Jharkhand Mahila Samakhya”. The network has also coordinated with National level NGOs in Delhi for rescue of trafficked victims.

The Government of Jharkhand, aware of the rampant trafficking of women and children has set up a Women and Child Helpline in delhi by providing assistance to NGO Bharatiya Kisan Sangh. A total of 155 victims have been provided support out of which 143 have been repatriated till August 2012.

Yuwa is a Jharkhand based NGO using girls' football to promote health, education, and improved livelihoods. Yuwa provides a platform for young women to gain confidence to make a change in their world. Teamwork is a powerful force to prevent trafficking by focusing on the three primary causes of a young woman's vulnerability: little opportunity, gender inequality, and lack of confidence. Founded in January 2009 with 15 girls in one village, Yuwa now has over 200 girls in 10 villages practicing three hours a day, six days a week. In less  than a year, 13 of Yuwa's girls lifted the state team's national ranking from 20th place to 4th. With her newfound confidence comes a sense of self-worth which sparks her interest in her own education and health. The organization has been successfully using football as a means to bring empowerment among girls and adolescent so that they don’t fall in the clutches of human traffickers.

143A zamindar or zemindar in the Indian subcontinent was an aristocrat, typically hereditary, who held enormous tracts of land and held control over his peasants, from whom the zamindars reserved the right to collect tax (often for military purposes). Over time, they took princely and royal titles such as Maharaja (Great King), Raja (King), Nawab (Lord), Mirza (Prince), reddy (ruler), Chowdhury (Lord), and many others.
144Lok Adalat is a system of alternative dispute resolution developed in India. It roughly means "People’s court".
145"Childhood on fire" ATSEC Jharkhand -2010, Report by Bharatiya Kisan Sangh Ranchi (ATSEC Jharkhand)
146http://shaktivahini.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/situational_report_shakti_vahini.pdf,  accesses on 24 December 2012

147Inter alia the NCPCR has also recommended:
1. Activate the institutions prescribed under ICPS within next three months;
2. State Government to map all the Child Care Institutions (CCIs) in the State and ensure their registration NGO-run Homes U/S 34(3) of Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Act, 2000, and also ensure a robust mechanism of monitoring and inspection and regular submission of Inspection reports to ensure protection of children against any child right violations, deprivations or subject to any kind of physical or sexual abuse;
3. While mapping the out-of-school children under SSA, an extra column may be inserted as “Missing Children”, which is expected to be of immense help in tracking the missing / trafficked children;
4. The network of NGOs to be utilized extensively and in close coordination with the District administration and State Government in advocacy and awareness programme on anti-trafficking and curb child labour;
5. Training requirements of anti-human trafficking units (AHTUs) and special juvenile police units (SJPUs) be extensively taken up for sensitizing the Police officials on the issues concerning to child rights; and
6. Ensure inclusion of the child right issues and the child jurisprudence in the curriculum of Police Training Module in the Police Academy & Police Training College.
148Ministry of Women and Child, Government of India – September 2012

(Extract from India Country Assessment Report on Human Trafficking)
Courtesy: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2013
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