For the second consecutive year, an official US report yesterday has placed India on Tier 2 list of countries, whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act`s (TVPA), but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards. The report was released by the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.
India, the report said, is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. The forced labour of millions of its citizens constitutes India`s largest trafficking problem.
Men, women, and children in debt bondage are forced to work in industries such as brick kilns, rice mills, agriculture, and embroidery factories, the report said.
A common characteristic of bonded labour is the use of physical and sexual violence as coercive tools. Ninety per cent of trafficking in India is internal, and those from India`s most disadvantaged social strata, including the lowest castes, are most vulnerable, it said.
"There were new reports about the continued forced labour of children in hybrid cottonseed plots in Gujarat, and reports that forced labour may be present in the Sumangali scheme in Tamil Nadu, in which employers pay young women a lump sum to be used for a dowry at the end of a three-year term," the report said.
An increasing number of job placement agencies lure adults and children for forced labour or sex trafficking under false promises of employment. Indian boys from Bihar were increasingly subjected to forced labour in embroidery factories in Nepal, it added.
Noting that women and girls are trafficked within the country for the purposes of forced prostitution, the report says religious pilgrimage centers and cities popular for tourism continue to be vulnerable to child sex tourism.
The report also mentions a US court`s default judgment of USD 1.5 million in favour of an Indian domestic worker who sued a former Indian consular officer who had employed her while assigned to duty in the United States; no appeal was filed.
"The domestic worker accused the Indian diplomat of forcing her to work without adequate compensation for three years and subjecting her to physical and mental abuse," it said.
The State Department recommended India to develop a comprehensive anti-trafficking law or amend anti-trafficking legislation to be in line with the 2000 UN TIP Protocol, with adequate penalties prescribed by the UN Transnational Organized Crime Convention; and increase prosecutions and convictions on all forms of trafficking, including bonded labor.