Trafficked maids to order: The darker side of richer India
Conviction rates for typical offences related to trafficking - bonded labour, sexual exploitation, child labour and illegal confinement - are also low at around 20 percent. Cases can take up to two years to come to trial, by which time victims have
returned home and cannot afford to return to come to court. Police investigations can be shoddy due to a lack of training and awareness about the seriousness of the crime.
Under pressure from civil society groups as well as media reports of cases of women and children trafficked not just to be maids, but also for prostitution and industrial labour, authorities have paid more attention in recent years. In 2011, the government began setting up specialised anti-human trafficking units in police stations throughout the country.
There are now 225 units and another 110 due next year whose job it is to collect intelligence, maintain a database of offenders, investigate reports of missing persons and partner with charities in raids to rescue victims.
Parveen Kumari, director in charge of anti-trafficking at the ministry of home affairs, says so far, around 1,500 victims have been rescued from brick kilns, carpet weaving and embroidery factories, brothels, placement agencies and houses. "We realise trafficking is a bigger issue now with greater demand for labour in the cities and these teams will help," said Kumari. "The placement agencies are certainly under the radar."
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