Chandraprabha Saikiani Centre for Women's Studies

Tezpur University

Project updates

What is trafficking?

Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery where people profit from the control and exploitation of others. Although slavery is commonly thought to be a thing of the past, human trafficking still exists today throughout the globe and traffickers use force, or coercion to control other people for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex or forcing them to provide labor services against their will. Traffickers use violence, threats, deception, debt bondage and other manipulative tactics to trap victims in horrific situation in India.

All trafficking victims share one essential experience – the loss of freedom. And it is pathetic that often child under the age of 18 are the main victims of this social evil. Trafficking of children is a form of human trafficking. Child trafficking can be defined as recruitment or transportation or transfer or harboring or receipt against the child rights for the purpose of exploitation. The International Labor Organization estimates that 1.2 million children are trafficked each year. Child trafficking has been internationally recognized as a major human right violation which is exists in every constituency of the planet. Yet; it is only within the past decade that the pervasiveness and ramification of this practice have risen to international prominence, due to a dramatic increase in social research and public relations.

Significance of the study

Trafficking is considered to be one of the heinous crimes against humanity. It is one of the largest growing industries of organized crime in the world. Human Trafficking is the process of recruitment, transport, harboring or the receipt of persons for the purposes of slavery or for prostitution. It is generally seen that women are always victimized in any sort of crime. Women are affected in trafficking more than men. They are largely trafficked to be induced in prostitution industry and forced labor. They are kept in very poor conditions with very little food or sometimes without food. It is generally seen that inter-state borders are always prime with such trafficking activities. It is important to find the root cause of trafficking to prevent it from further inflation.

Trafficking in context of Sonitpur District

Sonitpur is the second largest district of Assam. There are more than fifty tea gardens in the state. Tea estate girls are easy prey for traffickers. For, hundreds of teenagers, mostly girls, hailing from the tea gardens of Sonitpur district in Assam, have never come back. Marked as one of the epicentres of human trafficking; tea estates like Nahorani and Tinkhuria have emerged as hotbeds where dreams of hundreds of starry-eyed young girls were nipped in the bud, year after year. In most cases the trafficker or middlemen speak their language (Sadri) and mostly take advantage of the absence of the victims’ parents during the day time when they are at their workplace (tea garden).Some of the traffickers are even known to their victims. (From the data collected from field) The family members of the victim often hesitate to approach the police ‘out of fear’, the locals say. It is due to this ever-widening police-public chasm that a good number of missing cases are not reported and hence the traffickers enjoy a dream run in the vulnerable areas

A joint study on trafficking of women and children, conducted by UNICEF and the Assam government, has found that the number of girls forced into sexual exploitation is higher than those pushed into bonded labour. Assam Police record reflects that the number of girls trafficked for sexual exploitation is much higher than those for cheap or forced labour. Rescue efforts are going on and the culprits also get arrested from time to time. But the conviction percentage is so abysmally low that it hardly works as a deterrent for the traffickers. Poverty and lack of awareness contribute to the menace, no concrete action plan on the part of the police or those at the helm of affairs, has aggravated the problem.

The selected site of the project: The extension activities of the Project
The selected sites