Washington, DC – The annual Trafficking in Persons Report for 2018, released by the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the presence of Ivanka Trump, the daughter and advisor of US President Donald Trump, urged India to increase prosecutions and convictions for all forms of trafficking, including forced and bonded labour, and of officials allegedly complicit in it.
“There remains a great deal of work left to do. The world should know that we will not stop until human trafficking is a thing of the past,” Pompeo said at the launch ceremony at the US State Department.
The report identified forced labour in sectors such as construction, steel, garment and textile industries, wire manufacturing for underground cables, biscuit factories, pickling, floriculture, fish farms and ship breaking. “Workers within India who mine for sand are potentially vulnerable to human trafficking. Thousands of unregulated work placement agencies reportedly lure adults and children under false promises of employment into sex trafficking or forced labour, including domestic servitude,” the report said. “India is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking,” said the report, adding, “Experts estimate millions of women and children are victims of sex trafficking in India. Traffickers use false promises of employment or arrange sham marriages within India or Gulf states and subject women and girls to sex trafficking.”
“In addition to traditional red light districts, women and children increasingly endure sex trafficking in small hotels, vehicles, huts, and private residences. Traffickers increasingly use websites, mobile applications,” the report said. “Many women and girls, predominantly from Nepal and Bangladesh, from Europe, Central Asia, Africa, and Asia, including Rohingya and other minority populations from Burma, are subjected to sex trafficking in India,” the report noted.
“Official complicity in human trafficking occurred at varying levels of government,” said the report, adding, “Some corrupt law enforcement officers protect suspected traffickers and brothel owners from law enforcement efforts; take bribes from sex trafficking establishments and sexual services from victims, and tip off sex and labor traffickers to impede rescue efforts.”
“The government of India does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government demonstrated increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period, therefore India remained on Tier 2,” the department said. Since 2011, India has remained on this report’s Tier 2 under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) of the US.