By: Adam Dubin
Pace International Law Review, Senior Associate
India suffers from high levels of human trafficking, particularly so with regard to the trafficking of women and young girls. The United States Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report 2010 lists India as a second tier watch list country, meaning that it fails to comply with minimum standards put forward by the United States to address protection, prevention and prosecution in relation to combating trafficking.
Recent news articles in India have reported that trafficking in India has taken on a new and more evil form. Young, prepubescent girls, some as young as six months old, are being kidnapped from throughout India and are then brought to two villages in Rajasthan, where they are injected with cattle hormones to hasten the onset of puberty. The girls are then sold to brothels throughout India and the Middle East.
The hormone injected into these females is called Oxytocin, a growth hormone used by farmers to make vegetables grow faster or given to cattle to increase milk production. According to one medical expert, the effect of this drug on children is not only limited to the more rapid onset of puberty, but also more susceptible of feelings of sexual arousal and feelings of trust and love in situations that normally would not provoke such emotions.
Police intervention has been almost nonexistent and village elders have played a primary role in supporting the kidnapping and prostitution of children and women. One elder interviewed by a local newspaper told the reporter “Prostitution is a tradition in our community.” Despite the openness of the prostitution ring, however, police have failed to take any action to combat it. A local police spokesperson told a newspaper that, as of mid-May 2010, no reports had been filed with the police.
India has laws in place to deal with human trafficking, but the poor implementation of the laws renders them ineffective. Apart from the Indian Penal Code, the primary laws targeted specifically to combat trafficking include the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act and the Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act. However, high levels of police corruption, including the accepting of bribes and sex from traffickers, and in many cases police complicity in the businesses, prevents any real gains in the fight against trafficking.