Human trafficking, particularly trafficking of women and girls has been a grave concern today. Media reports or various studies indicate that it is increasing at a fast pace and agencies responsible to stop the heinous act is not in position to do so.
Today, it is high time to think about the reasons why South Asian women and girls fall prey to trafficking and what should be the possible recourse?
According to UN reports, girls and women from South Asia and South East Asia are in dire need of finding opportunities to work and earn for their families. In most of the cases, the women are promised well-paid jobs in other countries and they easily step into the trap of criminals who lure them with many of their evil designs. When they cross the border of their countries, they are forced to do any kind of work from household chores to prostitution.
The South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) holds that trafficking in the region is more or less of a specific character, and that combating trafficking should be an urgent task for the governments of the region. At the same time it views trafficking mainly in the context of prostitution. Hence, it is necessary that trafficking should be viewed inclusively while at the same time remaining sensitive to its economic, political, cultural as well as regional and global context. Only such conceptualisation can help in paving the way for its eventual control.
Within the South Asian region, women trafficking is increasing rapidly. For instance, the Nepalese government has revealed that there were 200,000 Nepali women working in brothels in India in the year 2013. Bangladesh government also has announced that 'a few thousand women and girls have been trafficked to South Asian countries for labour, prostitution and other purposes. A UN report, referring to trafficking of women in 2013 in the region, mentions about the presence of 'a significant number of women and children from Myanmar in Karachi, Pakistan', all of whom were trafficked by gangs operating systematically for long.
Against this backdrop, the pertinent question is: what are the reasons behind it? Like other growing markets, such as drug and weapon, women trafficking is also a growing business. It is run by powerful gangs. Girls and women are trafficked for a variety of purposes. In the South Asian region, women and girls are deprived of all sorts of facilities including education. As a result of myriad deprivations, many women become desperate to explore prospects of earning abroad. Secondly, unscrupulous sections among the manpower exporting agencies have a role to play in luring women to go abroad in search of secure and well paid jobs. The opening up of vast labour markets in many countries has been directly or indirectly instrumental in the rise of female trafficking. It is sometimes found that women trafficking is run with the involvement of the police. This, one need not emphasise, is the worst aspect in female trafficking.
All these are happening because there is lacuna in legal reforms required for arresting the problem. In order to combat the growing menace of women trafficking, the governments in the region must enact strong laws and enforce those in right earnest.