India, world hub in human trafficking
“Human trafficking and gender discrimination in India are becoming rampant. They need to be checked. Trafficking includes men, women and children who are forced into commercial sex work and sexual exploitation, forced and exploitative labour, marriage and forced marriage, adoption, organ transplantation, begging and mafia-controlled begging and drug peddling,” said Madhu Chandra, a New Delhi-based Christian social activist, research scholar and regional secretary for the All India Christian Council (AICC).
Women and children from lower castes and Dalits are the most affected, and are victims of violence and discrimination in their own villages.
Sex tourism involving underage girls remains a highly profitable business, a billion-a-year industry in 2009, with a 30 percent increase from previous years. Mumbai is the leading market.
A fair-skinned minor—as young as eight—can fetch about US$ 2,500 a night, whilst a dusky-skinned child is sold for about US$ 2,000 per night.
Victims are denied food and water if they do not perform with the clients, and beatings are a regular part of a child prostitute’s life.
The situation reveals how fragile India is as a nation. “Civil society and the authorities have to find appropriate ways to respond to the issue,” said Fr Gregory Monterio, a social worker for the Calcutta Archdiocese.