Exploitation of women by human traffickers: India ranks alongside Libya, Myanmar as a dangerous country

By Our Representative
Thomson Reuters Foundation, which recently ranked India the “most dangerous” country for women to live, has placed the country alongside Libya and Myanmar as also the “world's most dangerous countries for women exploited by human traffickers and forced to wed, work and sell sex.”
The study says, “Women and girls in India face the biggest threat from traffickers because they are still widely considered to be sexual objects and second-class citizens”.
Based on a survey of 548 women’s rights experts across the globe, it adds, “About two-thirds of the 15,000 trafficking cases registered by India in 2016 involved female victims”, and of these “nearly half were under 18 -- with most sold into sex work or domestic servitude.”
The study quotes Triveni Acharya of the Indian anti-trafficking charity Rescue Foundation as saying that "trafficking is a global issue, but of all the victims I have seen, I have found those from southeast Asia, mainly India, the most vulnerable."
"Girls continue to be seen as a burden on parents, inferior to boys," she adds, explaining how many rural girls are lured by traffickers who promise jobs or marriages in major cities.
Pointing out that “Nigeria and Russia come joint fourth”, the study says, gives the examples of “detention centres in Libya”, “curses cast by priests in Nigeria”, “porous borders in Myanmar”, “visa abuses around the World Cup in Russia” to say how girls and women were “increasingly being targeted and trapped by traffickers using a variety of tactics.”
The study says, quoting the United Nations and rights group Walk Free Foundation, “Women and girls account for seven in 10 victims of an industry estimated to affect 40 million people worldwide and generate illegal annual profits of $150 billion for traffickers.”
Even as pointing out that “India is the world's most dangerous country for women”, the study says, this is mainly “due to the high risk of sexual violence and being forced into slave labour”.
It adds, “Experts said India moving to the top of poll showed not enough was being done to tackle the danger women faced, more than five years after the rape and murder of a student on a bus in Delhi made violence against women a national priority.”
Noting that the “world's fastest growing economy and leader in space and technology is shamed for violence committed against women", the study says, even “government data shows reported cases of crime against women rose by 83 percent between 2007 and 2016, when there were four cases of rape reported every hour.”
At the same time, the study ranked New Delhi, the world’s second most populous city with an estimated 26.5 million people, “as the worst megacity for sexual violence and harassment of women alongside Brazil’s Sao Paulo.”
The said, “The Indian capital, known as the ‘rape capital’ of India, was fourth worst of the cities in the overall poll and ranked as fourth worst when respondents were asked if women had access to economic resources such as education, land, and financial services such as bank accounts.”
The poll of 548 people was conducted online, by phone and in person between March 26 and May 4, spread across Europe, Africa, the Americas, South East Asia, South Asia and the Pacific.
Respondents included aid professionals, academics, healthcare staff, non-government organisation workers, policy-makers, development specialists and social commentators.
The poll was a repeat of a survey in 2011 that found experts saw Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, India, and Somalia as the most dangerous countries for women.

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