WHY Human Trafficking in India Continues
Rupa Devi and her two minor daughters have been missing from their native village in Katihar district of Bihar for over 26 months now. Her brother-in-law Gangalal, accompanied by some neighbours, rushed to the Barari Police Station to lodge a First Information Report. The police, however, dismissed their case and refused to file an FIR. Unfortunately, this is not just a shocking aberration, but the norm — the Supreme Court, in Lalita Kumari versus Government of Uttar Pradesh and Others, took cognizance of the fact that a large number of serious offences are not registered by the police
India has the highest number of people living under slavery according to the third Global Slavery Index. 90% human trafficking in India happens between the states, mostly from the poorer eastern states to richer states in the north and west of the country. Just looking at cases of missing children in 2016, Katihar ranks the highest with 81 missing children of whom 51 are underage girls. But the irony is that these figures only reflect the number of cases registered by the police. Given that the police, as this case reveals, refuses to register cases with impunity, the situation does not seem very hopeful. According to official figures, 135,356 women and 61,444 children remain untraced across the country. Caught between systemic apathy and neglect, familial indifference and societal stigma, they are destined, like Rupa Devi and her daughters, to remain faceless figures in statistics.