Demonetization hits child trafficking industry hard

The recent demonetization measures in the country has had a positive impact on child trafficking. According to various child right NGOs, there has been a dip in the number of girls being trafficked from various states to Delhi, just after the Prime Minister made Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes illegal.

There are around 5,000 functional placement agencies in Delhi which supplies maid-servants to various families in the capital. A number of these servants are under age, and around 45-50 per cent of these girls are brought in to the Capital from states like Jharkhand, Assam and West Bengal.

Sources say the transactions conducted at the time of trafficking was in cash. This cash used to get distributed between traffickers, source agent, and the sub-agent. But now after the recent demonetization measures, the middlemen (sub-agents) are finding it more difficult to get their money which has resulted in a dip in child trafficking.

Child NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) recently visited a few placement agencies, where they said they found that there are little to no under-age maid-servants available with these agencies.

“Earlier, these agencies used to have a large number of girls and then sell it to the people (hiring person) as per their needs. From trained servants to untrained, they used to categorize the girls,” said Rakesh Sengar an activist associated with the BBA.

“When our team recently visited a few placement agencies and posed as customers, we got to know that they don’t have many girls now. The people at the agencies said the business was down these days and we would have to choose between the two-three girls they have,” he added.

The child rights agency said that they had also seen a dip in the number of girls coming to railways stations from Assam, West Bengal and Jharkhand. As per its data, if 50 girls were found in any station earlier, now they had seen only a single girl who had been trafficked.

Rishi Kant, activist from the NGO Shakti Vahini, which focuses on core issues related to children, women and Right to Information, said that he had also seen a drop in child trafficking, but added that it was too early to attribute it to the note ban.

A report by the NGO Global March Against Child Labour entitled ‘Economics Behind Forced Labour Trafficking’ found that illegally run placement agencies in India earn Rs 13,000 to Rs 41,000 crores per year by exploiting an estimated 7 to 17 million domestic child labourers. While these women and children are being paid a pittance of Rs 1,000 to Rs 4,000 per month as remuneration, the agencies receive commission between Rs 20,000 to Rs 50,000 per child.

Mostly, these victims are being sent to houses 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.

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