Reports of human trafficking in India increased by 25 percent in 2015 compared to the previous year, with more than 40 percent of cases involving children being bought, sold and exploited as
modern day slaves, government crime data showed.
The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) said there were 6,877 cases related to human trafficking last year against 5,466 in 2014, with the highest number of cases reported in the northeast state of Assam, followed by the eastern state of West Bengal.
The data released on Tuesday (30) showed 43 percent of the 9,127 victims were below the age of 18. Crimes included inducing a minor girl with intent of sexual intercourse, buying or selling a minor girl for prostitution, and keeping a person as a slave.
Activists attributed the rise in reported cases to greater public awareness as well as increased police training, resulting in better enforcement of anti-human trafficking laws.
However they said the real number of cases could be much higher because many victims, especially those from poor, rural backgrounds, remain unaware of the crime.
“We all know the numbers are very high and we expect the numbers to increase over the years,” said Supreme Court lawyer Ravi Kant and founder of Shakti Vahini, a Delhi-based anti-human
“Increased cases means that law enforcement agencies are now treating the issue of human trafficking seriously.”
South Asia, with India at its centre, is one of the fastest-growing regions for human trafficking in the world.
Gangs sell thousands of victims into bonded labour every year or hire them out to exploitative bosses. Many women and girls are sold into brothels.
India, alone is home to 40 percent of the world’s estimated 45.8 million slaves, according to a 2016 global slavery index published by the Australia-based Walk Free Foundation.