Shafiq R Khan


Recently, an article from The Guardian titled “Prison would have been better, about Sunitha Krishnan's NGO Prajwala and her reply to the same has made a new buzz in the social sector. Like everything else, people have the privilege to take sides with either party. Some think it is a global conspiracy against anti trafficking warriors and some think that Sunitha Krishnan is guilty of not managing her shelter well. It may be worthwhile to recall that many shelter homes have been in news for all the wrong reasons. Many organizations have been blamed for many crimes and cruelty against their inmates. From Muzaffarpur shelter home to Dhenkanal shelter home case, it has given us enough reason to believe that shelters and the whole protection mechanism has some unidentified problem which is being ignored by the NGO sector as well as the Government.
The article and the reply from Sunitha, both have enough reason to be believed. Both are equally right and we can’t blame anyone. The real problem lies in the perception of things. What Sunitha is doing in her shelter home is nothing but an implementation of the policy of the Government and the Sector and on the other hand, what The Guardian’s article talks about, is the right of an individual. So there is a simple ideological conflict between Protectionism v/s Liberalisation. The Journalist must have a detailed chat with the Activists to learn about the idea behind their work and their approach. 

Being the Founder of an NGO and an  Activist, I have no hesitation to accept that the sector is going through an ideological crisis and is undergoing a learning process. This is as a result of the advent of professionalism and corporatization of the social service organizations. NGOs and government sponsored welfare schemes implemented by NGOs have very little accountability which gives them an open sky to fly. Simplification of problems and protectionism are major challenges in the sector. The sad part is that the capitalist society which doesn’t even think of protectionism in context of trade and other economic debates, promotes protectionism for civic rights; and the funny part is that people who work for protection often identify themselves as Right Activists. Factually, both are totally opposite to each other.    

I have many personal experiences where I was advised to join the Academia by various donors because they thought I was complicating everything while presenting my cause before them. They want us to fix things in a log frame and work around it which actually leads to simplification.

When I was a young activist learning about the society, my mentor often criticised me saying that I'm simplifying the solution and he always insisted that every solution must be problematised to see other aspects of the solution. He often said that simplification is the enemy of a progressive society. He was right because no solution is permanent and long lasting. Every solution has its life and after some time it will become a problem. The NGO sector didn't learn this lesson.

The real challenge of anti trafficking NGOs is their approach. Most of the organisations work to protect women and children and none of them actually believe in liberation of the people in slavery. This is not only about NGOs or survivors of trafficking but it is also applicable in other areas. For instance, in a case where an autistic child was defamed and harassed by a private school, the child protection quasi judicial body child welfare committee preferred to ignore Medical recommendation believing that they are doing it in the best interest of the child. The Chairperson of the committee had a long experience in the social sector which gave him enough confidence and belief that he was right and his decision of ignoring medical advice as well as law and rules was right because he is revolutionary and only he can protect the child. Factually though, he is only harming the child and spoiling his life.

Protectionism is what Khap Panchayats do with an intention to protect their girls in the best interest of their lineage. Sometimes they kill love couples in the best interest of their family honor. They want to marry off their daughters and they want their daughters to be in safe conditions. They give bulk dowry to secure a respectable life for their daughters. But they don't ask them for their consent. Anti trafficking organizations are not different from them. Anti trafficking organizations offer a good life in their shelter home. Some staff members at times slap them for not brushing their teeth or for not taking bath or for refusing to dance. Anti trafficking organizations don't care about consent too. In 2011, I was planning a shelter home for survivors of trafficking and a meeting was called for it. One of the survivor leaders asked me if the shelter home would allow its inmates to have sex? Or if the shelter would allow visitors? Our answer was no and she condemned the idea of the shelter home which would imprison its inmates and wouldn't allow them to exercise their freedom. "Who decides that these girls don’t want to have sex?" She asked.

"A person has an equal right to be in love with anyone- man or woman. A person is free to choose their partner and make decisions which might lead them towards celebration or problem." These are a few ideas which indicate rights of a person and this very idea proves Khap Panchayats wrong and that no other person can decide anyone else’s fate. This is also applicable to NGOs. They can't decide anyone's fate. Their job is to provide assistance to the victim who made a decision and fell into a problem where no one was coming forward to support. Being an NGO, we have a  very limited role. Being a Government sponsored scheme, we only have the role of assisting survivors in enabling them to take decisions for their future. They might make a wrong decision so we can advise them but we can't dictate them. Without dignity and positive measures, there is nothing like the best interest of anyone. People in distress are not bad or alien to the society. They are entrepreneurs and change-makers who took an extraordinary step and fell into trouble because the State and the Society was not mature enough to allow them to break the status quo.  

The major problem of our sector is its angelic aura. We believe that everything that we do is pious and we do it with all conviction ignoring consent and what a survivor believes about freedom. NGOs have become implementing agencies and Activists have become a force that implement the law. We need to instead become a bridge between people, their aspirations and the state craft. Only a basic approach would help the NGO sector in gaining its credibility among the masses.   

But why only NGOs, Corporates and other agencies who believe in liberalisation in context of trade, should believe in liberalisation in context of civic liberties else they are not going to be able to sustain their idea in trade and economic affairs. Once corporates and policy influencers will start thinking about liberalization for all, NGOs will follow course for funds.

Nanhi is Dom, also known as Mirasi, she lives in Narnaund Tehsil of Hisar District of Haryana with her extended family. Dom and Mirasi are almost the same caste excepting their religious beliefs which divide them into Scheduled caste and other backward caste.

Nanhi is a Dom and Hindu but she also has some Muslim relative. The caste traditionally works to entertain and also work as genealogists of local land-lords. Their women often (hired as professional mourners) sing in happy moments and mourn upon instances of death, on behalf of landlords in exchange for food grains to survive. This is their traditional work which they continue to do, for lack of appropriate opportunities for livelihood.

Meanwhile, male members of the family are adopting different kinds of work to earn their livelihood. Nanhi’s husband Suresh is a sewing master and her elder son Sonu (25) is a barber, Deepak (22) is a motor mechanic and her younger son Anwar (21) has just completed his B.Sc and is exploring his career. Nanhi doesn’t have any girl child.

Her younger son has broken tradition by accruing a graduation degree. He alone has graduated as a Dom boy in the village. However local Dom girls do have some education and some of them are also working as teachers in private schools in different areas of Haryana. But it needs to be mentioned that none of the Dom girls are in a Governmental job. Nanhi says not a single Dom man or woman have any kind of government job in this village and even near by village, despite the fact that many girls and boys have a degree. Reservation cannot be actualised without political or social representation and Dom people don’t have any kind of social or political leader except one Sarpanch who won an election in 2005 in a village of Hisar.

Nanhi paid a heavy price for the education of her child, in early months of 2008. Her son was brutally beaten up by Jat (another caste) classmates as he was performing well in the class and becoming a ‘hero’. Nanhi stood up for her child and went to make complaints before the parents of the particular Jat classmate. They considered it a rebellious attitude and the Jat family attacked both Nanhi and her son Anwar. She and her son were stripped, beaten and paraded naked in the village to teach a lesson to all Dalits living in the village, particularly students from the Dalit community. After the incident, she was afraid for the safety and security of her family home as well as women of the family. She didn’t report this case but someone informed the police who then visited her for a statement and arrested a few people.

Soon after, villagers came to her home for arriving at a compromise and the Panchayat decided that if Nanhi would withdraw her statement, only then would the Panchayat allow her family to stay in the village and also protect their interest or else Panchayat would provide no guarantee. The “no guarantee” bit meant that her family would need to leave the village without being allowed to sell their properties and Jat people might do anything to them.

Some elders of the village came forward to convince her father-in-law Nanakchand that this was just a mistake of some hot-blooded young Jats and Nanhi should withdraw her statement. The family had no options left to choose from and the case was dismissed and her family stayed on in the village. The Panchayat allowed Nanhi and the women of the family to not be forced to visit the home of the perpetrators.

All wounds filled with time. After all they were landlords, their source of income. She and her family gradually started attending functions and events in all families. Nanhi and the whole family decided to just forget the horrifying incident and try to make progress which would encourage her children to choose new kinds of profession. Many of her nephews migrated to different states or districts with an aim to focus on development of the family rather than staying engaged in traditional singing and begging before landlords.

Nanhi believes that her decision was not bad as it saved the family from all kinds of trouble. Being a Dalit, she knows her limitation while being engaged in regular visits to landlords' homes during festivals, births, deaths or any other kind of celebration or mourning.

Dom women are allowed to help in daily course of domestic work in their house but for any personal use, they have to carry their own pots and dishes. Even in marriage parties, Dom are not allowed to eat or drink in the same dishes being used for landlords, despite the fact that the same crockery can be hired by a Dalit from crockery house for their functions. It is not actually about untouchability but it's a reinforcement of the hierarchy of landlords where they can’t allow Dom at the same time to have food in the same color of plate they use for eating.

Dom women usually have a good relationship with landlords as well as other community members but Nanhi also acknowledges that they don’t visit Valmikis because they are 'untouchable and eat pig', which is prohibited in their families. So neither Valmikis are allowed in Dom homes nor Doms visit Valmiki. They maintain a respectable distance. But Dom women often share a strong relationship with landlords as well as those from “higher castes" like Brahman Sainis and others. They don’t visit any Dalit community anywhere except Chamars. In some places Chamars have land and Govermental jobs and they often help other Dalits in getting benefits of schemes meant for scheduled castes.

Nanhi also knows the restriction of being a woman in society and in a family. Daughters are not allowed to go for work or to participate in local programs. Only daughters-in-law are allowed to go to work, that too only with consent of the husband. Men usually allow their wives except some men who may be earning well. Domestic violence is prevalent within the community but none are ever reported to the Court of law. Child marriage is also prevalent in the community.

Nanhi has many complaints that none of the Dom people ever got any land from the Government and even Dom women are not getting any pension because of dominant caste who often ignore their claims and they don’t have any vocal voice that can speak on behalf of the community. Dom people often live in less number so their unity and strength is unable to influence any decision. However, the community is trying to make attempts through educating their children but it has started only recently and it may reflect some change after about a decade.

Nanhi’s family doesn’t send their daughters to school after passing 10th class even though the school is in the middle of the village. Nanhi laughs “We don’t want them to 'protect' our daughters. If the school was outside the village, we would be more than happy to send our girls to schools. We strongly believe in our fellow villagers- They would never leave us unharmed."

The foot soldiers of human rights movement

In 2008, I joined an organization to lead a project (which is Pan India Government scheme for protecting child rights and it is also known for its work on Child protection including Child marriages and trafficking.) This project was initiated as private effort which became a government scheme as it had shown its major impact in the field of child protection.
After joining this project I met my colleagues who were working as field workers and have assignment to visit field and directly deal with children in need. I found them unwilling and looking depressed. I suggested them that if they don’t want to work with this project they should do some interesting which they find connected to them as they were energetic youths. They were silent and said they will try to overcome and work with passion. After a brief orientation I wonder to learn that they are working for  Rs 1500/month salary which was 50% of minimum wage prescribed by Government for unskilled workers and with a basic educational qualification and training they were eligible to be semi skilled workers whos minimum wage at that time were Rs. 4200
My team members were native of different rural areas who were migrated to get this job and living in rented shelter. It was really painful to see that they were arranging almost everything food, shelter and cloths because they always need to maintain their cloths (as prescribed by organization). Two of them were responsible for night duty in the office, and the organization obliged them by convincing them that as they are staying in office they not need to pay rent anywhere. For using the office they became responsible for doing office assistance. Some time they were doing cleaning and washing. They were also responsible for cleaning the office car.

Imagine, they were recruited for providing assistance to children in need and they have a long list of work with a pay which was less than 50% of minimum wage. (in that government project those field workers were mentioned as volunteer or part time worker with a long list of task).
Para-counselor was getting Rs 2500 while the minimum wage for skilled worker was 5500 and I was getting Rs 9000 it was more than minimum wage. 
So why they were working in such a exploiter environment because they was no option available there. Majority of those field workers were enrolled in BSW (Bachlor of social work) in IGNOU and they wanted to make their career in social sector and they hoped that one day they can get a handsome salary.
One of my team members once said “we claim to protect the children and their rights but who will come to protect our children” the other team member replied “the same project” and we laughed loudly.
I raised this concern before my seniors and the nodal agency we were reporting to. And it was a shock to learn that the whole project was shaped in such situation our organization was not doing any wrong according to project. There was no enough money to provide its staff.
I tried to manage in my capacity but with in a year I decided to leave for some reason. In 2010 they reviewed their budget and they provided some more money into it but still that was less than minimum wage.
In 2012, I attended a meeting organized by a well know international agency working against poverty and injustice worldwide. They are also known to work against Modern day slavery. In that meeting their partners were presenting their achievement and other strategies. During that presentation I learnt that one of their projects provides Rs 1300 to their field workers in Delhi. Who works in Slum areas with right based approach. The director of that partner NGO was saying that this budget is even not sufficient for the traveling of those field workers. I asked her if her organization is giving some more money to them She refused by saying we have very few projects and almost all projects are alike so there is no extra budget to give them.
So why they are working answer is same with hope that one day the budget of the project will be increased and they will get full salary.  
So Government to International agencies, the foot soldier of any project have almost same pathetic situation to survive, they claimed to be protector of human rights but they can’t protect themselves.
It is well established fact that most of national international organizations hire some human recourse provider agency to place office staff and other workers just to avoid laborer law. This is not applicable for skilled workers but the unskilled workers; they know that they can’t directly exploit skilled workers so they hire peon, drivers and other field workers on payroll of some Human resource agency. Rest their skilled workers work without any restricted work hours because they are doing social work and fighting for social justice.      

Goodwill should be “not charity, but a chance” for people in need.

Parliament of India had passed landmark legislation in 1986 namely "the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act" to dilute the Judgment of Supreme Court of India in the matter of Mohd. Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano Begum (1985 SCR (3) 844). The law diluted a secular judgment of the Supreme Court and, in reality, denied even utterly destitute Muslim divorcees the right to alimony from their former husbands. However, the newly enacted Act clearly says that the magistrate would order the Waqf created under section 9 of Wakf Act, 1954 to pay a nominal maintenance to the divorcee women.
It is well know fact that the judgment of Supreme court was (in favor of Shahbano Begum who was 62 at the time) widely criticized by Muslim community, and Government was forced to introduce this law. Scholars and socio-political leaders considered it as a conservative response towards a secular and progressive judgment, and they criticized the government for vowing Muslim conservatism by introducing this law. But in reality, socio-political leaders of Muslim community were not against the woman in question, they were worried about the institutions created by the community and they argued that Muslim community already had institutions to deal with the situation and the support of divorcee as well as widows. They were also worried about protection of institution of marriage and family law for the Muslims. Unfortunately, their arguments were not propagated among masses and they became a villain for all. The Act "the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act" addressed their demand and said that the women will get benefited from already existing Waqf institutions.
The word waqf is derived from Arabic Waqafa, which means to detain, to stop, legally; the word means to describe an Islamic institution by which corpus of a property is detained or stopped from transfer of it rights by way of inheritance, sale or any deed, and it products may be given as sadqa (charity) for some pious use. The first creation of waqf was by Umar the second caliph of Islam in 644 after suggestion of Prophet Mohammad. UK poor laws 1834 was inspired from the waqf institutions and later the UK Poor law 1834 became a format for modern philanthropy. 
In a sentence, Muslim society had always been engaged in organized philanthropy not short-term and emotional charity. However, nowadays a majority of the Muslim faith inspired organizations are engaged in emotional charity.
Usually, Muslim faith inspired organizations receive Zakat, fitra, ushr, Sehan-e-Imam and many more which are religiously obligatory for Muslim people from different socio-economic level. They also receive some Islamic charity donations like Sadqa, atiya and khairat which are not obligatory but one is expected to donate tends to be a short-term, emotional, immediate response, focused primarily on rescue and relief.
Traditionally, these donations were used in supporting local people in need, maintenance of a madarsa, library, magazines, marriage of poor girls, scholarships for students and maintenance of different monuments/community buildings, and to support divorcee or widow women as well as unable men and children. But when modern institutions came into existence, a large number of these types of donation went to those faith inspired modern charitable organizations, which used to offer Ramzan kit for Iftar and sehri to the poor people and to some extent for providing timely help in natural or human made disaster or emergency support. It is hard to find such organization who contributes in social development or fighting the social evils affecting the community or people in general.
So why faith inspired organizations are focusing on instant charity? rather than creating some sustainable charity mechanism for people in need which is already part of their tradition.
Let us see with some of my first hand experience  
Last year, I was campaigning in a village of Assam and we were making them aware of Bride trafficking. A group of young men who were fed-up after watching some of video interviews of trafficking survivors advised me to propagate obligatory Burqa for all girls. And when I asked them how a woman who usually wears 2.5 meter by dividing a standard length of saree, can afford a Burqa? And how can a Burqa protect them from an abductor or trafficker. They said our women should offer Namaz and live like a dignified woman, Allah will protect them.
In another village I was told that nothing can be possible without consent of Allah and he is punishing us for our own deed, they suggested me to offer Namaz and pray for Muslims as well as humanity.

And not only people living in villages who are usually considered ‘illiterate’ or ‘uneducated’, the elite Muslim Intelligentsia, who is worried about rising communalism and hatred against Islam as well as Muslim society—they offer translated Quran to their ‘haters’ as a solution. They also preach Individual Islamic practices and believe that Allah will protect them if they will follow their path. But they did not want to understand the social aspect of the religion of Islam and Muslim society. One may consider this radical or orthodoxy but being part of them I strongly believe that the Muslim community has now almost lost its spirit and goes under gross desperation in a neo-liberalized world.
Yes, overemphasis on theological aspects and ignoring the community as a social group is only the problem from which Muslim needs to overcome.

The community needs to train and support the social activists, researchers, film makers, media and others who can help them in institutionalization of their causes. Just like faith inspired social movements ‘Nation of Islam’ and Martine Luther King Jr. led civil rights movements in America played a major role behind Institutionalization of the causes of Blacks. Presently, Neo-Buddhism is helping Dalits and tribal communities of India to reclaim their history and organizing their causes.  
Muslim faith inspired organization can play a major role in Institutionalization of  the causes of ample number of prisoners from oppressed communities, trafficking victims, increasing number of street children and homeless adults and many more problem directly affect not only the community but the whole society and the nation. They need to create mechanism to promote entrepreneurship and income generation programmes for people.

Why India Inc. should evaluate their CSR priorities

Corporate sustainability is derived from the concept of ‘sustainable development’ as defined by the Brundtland Commission--. ‘development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’. It has been around as a term since the 1960s but it actually came into prominence only in the last decade, when great multinationals began to adopt the phrase, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to demonstrate their seriousness for delivering a positive social impact on the communities in which they are operating.
Internationally, it has been observed that most of the companies tempers with the data to show their fake success in social responsibility efforts. In 2011, more than 4,000 corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports and company surveys were examined by a team at Leeds University. They found that the companies’ reports related to the CSR contain "irrelevant data, unsubstantiated claims, gaps in data and inaccurate figures", the finding certainly cast serious doubts over the burgeoning sector.
The irony is that the companies are using CSR for beautifying or humanizing their business without making a sensible change. In most of the cases companies, who directly exploit the environment and natural resources offer direct services like schools or health facilities or different sorts of training for working class.
They are exploiting their workers and offering trainings for unskilled laborers to make them possible slave-workers.
It is a well known fact that companies often offer training for unskilled laborers to bypass labor laws and deny rights of their own workers making them vulnerable to slavery. It can be understood with an example:  A company has opened a factory inside Delhi’s Tihar Jail, and it will provide inmates employable skills at the time of their release. The project is part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme on-job training and it was started just after a series of protest and strikes in their factories in Manesar area of NCT. This project is going to ensure no unions, no factory inspectors, no strikes, electricity at no cost and commercial space at Rs 10 per sq ft. no cost for security and other systems because Prison authorities are responsible for the discipline, meals and accommodation of its worker inmates. The companies get a captive, uninterrupted labour supply. Prison wages are much lower than the wages paid outside, and once trained, a worker can't leave and join a competitor.
It is almost obvious that the that the companies cannot be expected to be responsible for improving anyone’s life without a fee, their  primary goal is to make profits. Although, the companies may get immediate benefit by misusing their CSR for promoting their business, but in a larger perspective, it will, not only hurt corporate sustainability but also have a negative impact on their business.
In my decade long experience of working on social crimes, I have found that poverty and social crimes, separately as well as combined have negative impact on business.
In region of (Haryana-Uttar Pradesh-Rajasthan) I observed, that adolescent girls are not allowed to use lipstick or some other cosmetics. Only because the communities believe that ‘those cosmetic products have capacity to get erotic response from men’ and use of these products leads them towards attraction which culminates into physical relation, so it should be used only by a married woman. I do not want to be judgmental about the use of cosmetics by women, and rather prefer to keep myself aloof of the debate of its merits or demerits. But a large section of adolescent girls are forced not to use the cosmetic products, which is not only a form of honour-based social crimes but a big deficit for the cosmetic industry!
Photo courtesy :- wnsf 
During the March Against Bride Trafficking 2012, I met some waitresses working in road side dhabas in a district of Assam (on the borders of Bangladesh) where one plate rice was for Rs.35 and for machh (fish) you need to pay Rs.20 extra. So your food costs a minimum of Rs.55 for one time, and these women were working in a slave like condition for Rs.150/month and one time food with a shelter (a typical Assamies hut), I was curious about their life-style and asked them how they were living in that condition and how they spent their salaries. Most of them were abandoned from some brothel and migrated (might have been trafficked) from Bangladesh, and after the age of 40 they came to roadside dhaba for a livelihood and shelter. They were spending almost 50% of their salary in buying soap, detergent powder or other cosmetics which were not only duplicate but also costlier than the original products. I found that one of the ladies had bought a toilet soap named LIFEDOY with MRP Rs.7, a duplicate of LIFEBOUY which has an MRP Rs.5. It is painful that how a person with such a low income is paying higher price for low quality toilet soap, which perhaps did not go under a normal quality check.
In the same region a man beheaded his daughter for chatting with a boy on mobile phone she had befriended with. The man killed his daughter since he thought that chatting with an unknown man is a crime for which the girl deserved death! A mobile phone was responsible for their friendship and became a reason for her death. This mindset has dominance in the area to the extent that some caste panchayats and ethnic groups imposes ban on the use of mobile phone.
In the first case, a number of girls are being forced away from cosmetics product because of cultural issues and traditional ethos. In the second, a woman who is free to buy a cosmetic product has a limited income and no access to original products. In third one, technology is being held responsible for causing ‘moral damage’ in youths and thus, could be blamed for a murder.
These incidents clearly indicates that how social crimes directly effect the business sector however, it may not be visible at present since the big Indian bazaar is still expanding, yet it should be kept in mind that it is not only the purchase power which defines a ‘consumer’ but the ‘willingness’ to buy a product is equally important. Since social crime and cultural dilemma which is interdependent and becoming more rigid with the growing middle class—thanks to the growing cities into its nearby villages, who has started imitating perceived notions of honour; it can easily be understood that bans on different technologies, cosmetics and accessories would be more rigid if left untouched.
Social crimes and cultural rigidity are regularly in news and worst than ever, is neither on priority of India inc. nor of the civil society, because civil society or NGOs are completely donor driven. The feminist movement and other women rights movement is hanging around middle and upper class of urban areas.  Neo technical solutions are being suggested to prevent the crimes which are directly related to urban and middle class women, but this cannot provide any solution to the plights of a number of vulnerable rural people who have no access to these technologies. Neither it is going on out of ignorance or spontaneous profit making enthusiasm nor has it a lean impact on society. A million of people are directly affected by the development and are left alone. Some organized social crimes like trafficking or forced migration do help development sector by providing slave like laborors directly or indirectly as domestic laborors, sex slaves and even now as bridal slaves. On the other hand, it further helps the so called development by removing ‘human-hurdles’ from the areas of natural resources making exploitation of the resources easy.
And I dare to say that the corporate sector, actually, silently supports the menace of trafficking since most of source area of trafficking are known for its natural resources.
According to UN (WGHR) 2012, 60 to 65 million people are estimated to have been displaced in India since Independence, the highest number of people uprooted for development projects. "Of these displaced, over 40% are tribals and another 40% consist of dalits and other rural poor,"
That means every year around one million people are forced displaced by the development project and only around 20-25% of those internally displaced are ever resettled in India, as the vast majority of those forcibly evicted from their habitat are not recognized as internally displaced people which falls in to trafficking.
Corporatist and governments are doing this for short term benefits which are not only against the concept/ethic of corporate sustainability but a threat to overall system.
Exploitation of resources at top speed is not only effecting people and its health but also a threat to overall ecology which is truly against the concept of business sustainability.
However, development is necessary and migration is a part of any development. Several studies indicate that migration later resulted in good life of the migrant  but it affects emotional and psychological health and this leads towards frustration and rigidity.
The rising extremism, cruelty, preference of male child, violence against women/children and intolerance on the basis of caste, creed and religion are actually result of ignoring the social development. Escalating economic gulf and naked social security are pushing one to earn more and more at any cost, and the high pressure to prove oneself tends him to commit crime against comparatively weak (powerless) in the society, these can be women, children, a particular community or group blaming them for reasons of his failure.
India never witnessed any inclusive civic movement which could prepare a ground for a smooth socio-economic change. The India Inc. should be serious about immediate relief for the ‘victims’ of ‘development’ and sustainability of ecology as well as corporate sector. India inc. also needs to pave the way for a social movements to prevent ‘heinous’ social crimes which are byproduct of development and becoming threat for the overall sector. Perhaps, instead of calling it “social responsibility”, we ought to name it, “corporate sustainability”.
Sketch: Shadan khan

Indian-Japanese joint venture, Furukawa Electric (MFE), that supplies harnesses for the Maruti Suzuki’s Alto car, has opened a factory inside Delhi’s Tihar Jail. The project, is part of MFE's corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme on-job training, and it will provide inmates employable skills at the time of their release.

wait, don't hope for good its a typical business
this project was started after workers movements against Maruti Suzuki and other companies in the Manesar area of NCT of Delhi. project is going to ensure no unions, no factory inspectors, no strikes, electricity at cost, and commercial space at Rs 10 per sq ft. no cost for security and other systems because Prison authorities are responsible for the discipline, meals and accommodation of its worker inmates. 
The companies get a captive, uninterrupted labour supply. Prison wages are much lower than wages paid outside, and once trained, a worker can't leave and join a competitor. ��
so as a tax payer you are sponsoring, in a way, for their production cost 

It means if someone needs some kind of training or regular job s/he may has one option of committing some crime to join training or job in prison.
Information and communication technology intertwined almost every section and aspects of our society in a way or other. Be it an individual, for personal expression/relation or for corporate and social enterprise--for marketing, governance, gathering, movement and political ambitions. It has also affected right based movements as well as tradition groups such as ethnic or religious groups, which obviously have its own negative and positive dimensions.

Nowadays, information & communications technologies are on target of some groups for causing ‘moral damage’ in youths, especially girls by exposing them to pornography or by making them an easy prey in way or the other. Different incidents have been cited, where internet friendship and use of mobile phones were instrumental in the perceived ‘social crimes’. Increasing numbers of cases of misuse of ICT urged some caste panchayats and ethnic groups to impose ban on use of technologies by young generation, which has been criticized by civil societies as a patriarchal reaction. Obviously, ban on using mobile or jeans is a patriarchal notion for controlling female self in the community.

Photo courtesy : Empower People 

In a time where a number of social service and government organizations are providing ICT services and awareness programs for citizens, human traffickers too find it to be a comparatively safe mode for luring girls into their trap. They are using it on a very basic ICT environment and their targets have often been school going girls.  

Rumali’s father is a laborer, who used to visit faraway Assam villages with his wife and son. Meanwhile, Rumali stayed at her home in Guwahati for her schooling. Her father gave her a mobile for communication in absence of the family. She got a call from an unknown number and caller was sweet to her. As an adolescent she fell in love with the caller who later identified himself as Rahul Bhuniyya (a fake name). He lured her for a face-to-face meeting, he came in a car and in the very meeting he proposed her for marriage with a condition that he can only marry her once they leave the place since his parents wouldn’t accept her as his bride due to her humble background.  Later when she eloped to Delhi with him, the man tried to sell her into the bride trafficking market. She managed to raise an alarm from his captivity and called our organization.
In another case, in April 2013, two Kolkata schoolgirls were rescued from the red light area of Gaya and handed over to their parents. The girls were of class 7, had a providential escape from being pushed into the flesh trade. The girls of Hooghly had befriended two youths - Pintu and Nasim - on facebook.

A girl approached me for help, who was forcibly working as sex-worker because of her MMS which she shot with her boyfriend. Her mobile got lost and soon after she was approached by an unknown man who gave her stills from that video and forced her to have sex with him and since then he was using her as a sex-worker by offering her for money to his friends as well. Irony of the whole story was that her boyfriend was not aware of anything. The accused of the case was later arrested by police and the case is under court proceedings.

In Berpeta of Assam we have witnessed 3 cases of attempt trafficking in one high school within a year, which could only be averted due to the awareness of the locals but unfortunately last month one of the girls committed suicide when she felt shame of being a target of the trafficker. She was lured to have a romantic meeting with the trafficker. She went with another girl who was her classmate and the trafficker tried to abduct both of them in a vehicle. The girls started shouting for help and the vehicle met with an accident which saved them. The trafficker was handed over to the police by locals who later got released by the police for a bribe, one of above mentioned girl committed suicide after the episode.

Trafficking in persons is developing new modules and forms, traffickers are becoming smart and techno-savy to improve their business and security.  Mobile based applications like Whatsapp and Telegram is being used for offering sex services and other kind of logistical support for prostitution and trafficking. Interestingly, part of the new development is that the pimps and traffickers now prefer literate girls, who can be trained in using these new technologies. Foot-soldiers of the trafficking-rings are now targeting school going girls in poverty stricken or developing areas by using technologies like mobile or social networking websites. 

The smarter ways of the traffickers somehow are inviting smarter solution for the problem. Certainly, I am not suggesting any ban on the use of technologies rather it would be wiser to be aware with the new strategies and modules of the criminals. It will be more fruitful if the problem could be placed for debate in public domain, especially in civil societies. It is suggested that the approach should be three dimensional-- Social, Technical and the legal.
I called her to inquire about a property case which she had filed in local court with the help of our organization, after death of her ‘husband’ Razaq.
She said that she is not interested in that case or any property because it was not first time when she was abandoned by some family, it is her fate so she decided to marry once again and now living with an old man in Palwal. She said that this man is good and she showed her hope to be in family forever. She invited me to visit her home as a brother but also warned that I will visit her new in-laws home personally and alone. She wanted me to make a call after reaching Palwal only then she can guide me to her new home, she did not her address. She assured me that her number will always be reachable. And if she changes her number she will inform me for sure.

After some time when we were in a meeting of paro/molki commune, my colleague Salim Khan called her to enquire about her wellbeing. He found her in trouble; she said that the buyer was beating her. She also told that the man gave an amount of Rs 14,000 to the men who suggested her to get married with the old man. She wanted to be rescued at any cost but she had no clue about her own address. Salim suggested her to ask locals of the address, and assured her that he would call her in a while after informing me. And when he called her back, the phone was not reachable. It was either switched off or out of coverage area. This is not a new thing when a girl disappeared from our sight but this case is really painful because she was one of our dynamic emerging community leaders.
I am writing about a 40 years old woman Mariyam who was trafficked from Assam at the age of 16 when her Husband died and she was forced to accompany with a man to Delhi in search of some livelihood alternatives. She left her son in the hands of her mother and came to Rajasthan, where the man first sold her to an old man and after that she was sold upto 9 times before we met her in Barakali Chowck of Mewat. The then owner or husband (late) Razak had purchased her for Rs. 10,000/- the man was handicapped and he wanted a woman who can earn a livelihood for the family and also take care of him. We visited her owner’s home, who allowed her to participate in our meetings and requested for some financial support for the family. Our local team arranged a job in local Madarsa, where she cooked for students.

After two years of her association with our local team, the man Razaq died in December 2013 of cardiac attack and the very day his nephew disowned Mariyam by saying that she had never been a legitimate wife of Razak and therefore she owes no claim on Razaq’s property or home. The family, with the support of the villagers, were not willing to accommodate her in the house. She was forced out of the house. She somehow picked up documents of the properties with her. A band of Razak’s family members and locals attacked the house where she was hiding and after the intervention of our local team she came managed to lodge the complaint in a local court.
And then she made a hut on a government property nearby her land and home. She was regularly appearing in the court on hearing days.  Some of the locals were supporting her with our team and other paro/molki girls.
Suddenly, she stopped contacting our local team and informed me that she is no longer interested in that property because she has married to someone. And now she was again in the troubles.
Mariam is one of these thousands of ‘unrecognized’ women slaves who are not only facing sexual or mental abuse but also bond to work without any wage. 

I would suggest you to simply ignore this, it is not a scholarly or informative article its piece of frustration 

I woke up when a foreign reporter wanted me to respond about BJP leader OP dhankar’s controversial statement. Actually I was away from TV and news papers and even internet. My friend was handling my social networking accounts so I was really unaware of the whole episode, so she shared the details that OP dhankar, the leader of BJP said that if BJP comes to power in Haryana they will arrange for marriages of Haryanvi youths to Bihari girls. Shri Dhankar also mentioned that a Bihari BJP politician Sushil kumar Modi is a good friend of him and he can manage all the marriages. And then I gave her a balanced response that he is doing his bit of politics but the scheme may encourage the problem of trafficking and would certainly legitimize already booming trafficking business in the area.

I was really excited to know about responses from civil society and other political parties and woke up and started searching on internet, to my surprise chief of women wing of Congress party condemned it by saying, ‘the statement is somehow supporting trafficking and it will contribute in increase of bride trafficking’,  that clearly means that the Congress leader was aware of the issue of trafficking in the name of marriage yet she never spoke before even when her own party leader and the then minister of women and child development Ms. Krishna Tirath made an statement in parliament that ‘there is no forced marriage and no one is trafficking brides  its inter culture inter region marriages’ (Rajya sabha-15.12.2012 question number 2630 raised by Baishnab parida) and when I came to know about her claim I wrote a detailed mail with many video links where testimonials of bride trafficking victims are available, but the minister never responded to my mail nor her office. And then I wrote some mails to many politicians including congress and BJP leaders and as usual no one ever replied.  
We, atleast I am, not surprised that BJP’s farmer leader’s remark because I witnessed a lot of people normalising or justifying the vice of bride trafficking including civil society organizations, academic institutions as well as mainstream media, so what we can expect from a politician of a right wing orthodox political party?  One must remember here that this politician is very close to our prime minister and he can influence policy level decisions.
The irony of bride trafficking is only that everyone always tries to justify it by every mean. Academic researchers, government or civil society institutions, media or even well know social activists, everyone always see this (bride trafficking) as a result of imbalanced sex ratio and always ignore the pity of bride trafficking victims/survivors. By this argument they always focus on and show their concerns for economic or cultural changes in Haryanvi or Punjabi society but not on the pitiable conditions of those survivors. Researchers and media persons always interview the victims in front of their buyers (holders) , and in this situation girls always show a rosy picture of whole suffering because the victim always consider them (the interviewers) as exploiter like others who buy her or traffic her.

To show the real situation to a Journalist friend CarlGierstorfer I had arranged an Interview with one and the same girl in two different places. First was in the house where she was living and another one was in the house of my local activist and we found drastic difference in her statement. In her own home she said that people were cooperative and she had no food to eat in her native village but here she could eat and live on her own (you will find the same bioline everywhere) but when she reaches our place she showed her anger and said that she was not more than cattle. People abuse her and tease her only because she is a purchased woman.  Many of these girls, who spoke to Journalists or any foreigner (people from out of the village) of their plight were sent (read sold) to another place. I have a lot of names in my mind who were re-sold only because we could not help them in time.

As a result of female foeticide the trade of bride trafficking is becoming a socially approved inter-region marriage, it is nothing but an anti-human thought, which attempts to normalize the criminal practices and trade because the middle class and main stream society has keen interest in whole trafficking phenomenon they always need traffickers, who can provide them a full time cheap cost domestic labourer and some time with one time investment. Most of the people on top positions of media and other research institutions come from these states, who are also enthusiastic of bringing change in their society but unfortunately, this cause never caught their attention and knowingly or unknowingly they try to normalize the issue.    

I really don’t know but there are hundreds of organizations operating from Delhi and NCR who work for women security, safety and participation but they never tried to speak about this heinous crime and they never tried to start their work in these areas which possess highly patriarchal mindset. And most of the heinous crimes against women come into light from this region only: Honour killing, female foeticide, caste or identity based gang rapes, older women hunting or little sophisticated surgical hymen repair. Even if one considers the bride trafficking to be a normal marriage, the worst situation of local women is not beyond imagination. They truly deserve priority, but people always talk on TV programmes without any concrete knowledge of the field, what can one expect of their work on the ground. When workers like me approach them for support they always convince you that there are many other issues on which one should work, as donors would never support any project in economically prosperous state.  

Since 2006 when I decided to start the work against Bride trafficking with singular focus on it, I found myself alone in this difficult path. Government, NGOs, foreign donors and civil society never supported us or started any initiative in the field.
 In the meantime, people always create a myth that they are importing these girls only because they don’t have girls to marry and others are sending their girls for their greed of money or because of poverty but no one ever said that natural disasters and human made disasters are also responsible for trafficking of these girls. The mainstream society always painted that the parents of these girls sell their own daughters, which is truly demonization of the powerless. People should know that the rescue operations conducted for bride trafficking victims are only done in response to complaints made by parents of these girls.  
It is really funny to know that state of Haryana have only three women shelter homes with a capacity of 150 women for all 22 districts but at the same time Government have a total 250 animal shelters for 125 development Blocks. You can easily imagine who the priorities are.     
The region have a long history of importing girls, and that is not only related to sex abuse and exploitation but also associated with bonded labourership which ultimately can be seen as an attempt to create a neo-Dalit community. I have no hesitation in saying that the society of ours, which always kept slaves in the name of social fabric and religious values is now trying to create a new slave community. 
The Girls who are being imported are called Paro (stolen) Molki (purchased) Jugad (arrangement) which clearly reflects their social status and children born from these girls also carries that abusive social status. They don’t have any right in inheritance, they don’t have access to local common properties and in most of case they cannot marry a local girl.
Therefore, the statement of a politician is simply reflection of his basic understanding of his society. If a session court judge, in her judgement can say that “Human trafficking rising due to female foeticide”, what one can expect from a politician who is eyeing on the votes of the masses. Rape of a dalit or minority community girl is not an issue of outrage or panic since the responsible actors of society have taken to normalising this menace.
We the Indian society are truly a biased and hypothetical elitist community and we believe in class based selective conciseness of any cause.
Now we should think and pitch our agenda before the newly formed Government which may listen to us to understand the whole issue and they might open more shelters and other facilities for human beings, they may work to prevent social crimes and every form of violence against women by enabling local government and people’s participation.

Lets hope for Good days   
Bride trafficking victims are also bonded laborers.

me with a couple:
The man brings her for livelihood 
Recently, I saw an Advertisement on TV and many other newspapers where Indian Government claimed that India is now bonded laborship free country, I don’t like to distrust our government maybe there is no bonded labors in our country but there are million of girls who are being sold for few buck and billion of people who are working in pitiable conditions and intolerable wages, these are not invisible and easily found in Delhi as well as its suburb, a form of typical bonded labororship or slavery is bride trafficking where girls are being imported as bride to work in paddy fields and as a capable unskilled worker for the
Panchayti Raj institutions have important and leading roll in Devlopment of Haryana. It was carved out of the state of Punjab in 1966 in name of tribes (casts) of agricultural orientation.

Haryana is primarily an agrarian state. And panchayats have a major role in life cycle of Haryana people, concept of Panchayats and community mobilization is quite old phenomenon in haryana.
Taj-ul-Maasir (588 A.H. 1192 AD) refers these institutions like khap panchayat.

In samvat 1252 (1195 AD) a meeting of Sarva Khap Panchayat (Federal clan council of the Jats and other kindred people of Upper Doab, Haryana and neighbourng areas) was held in a forest between the villages of Bhoju and Banera under the chairmanship of Rao Vijay Rao of the village, Sisauli. And this meeting decided among others to raise a big militia “to defend the Sarva Khap area against a suspected attack by Muhammad Ghori and to protect the area from loot and plunder. (Kanha Ram (Hindi Ms.) in possession of Chaudhary Qabul Singh of Shoram Muzaffarnagar])
There is another reference of a panchayat

Marriage is perhaps the epitome of an incomplete contract. Its terms can never be fully specified ex-ante or enforced ex –post. A vast body of literature has thus highlighted the role of post-marital bargaining in determining intrahousehold allocations.
 In traditional societies , where women’s  formal   legal rights are often weak and divorce  is highly stigmatized  , bargaining power can shift  radically in favor of the man  once the women commits herself to marriage .   This fact should have implications for the form of the marriage ‘contract’; in particular, its ex- ante provisions should reflect the interests of the wife & her family in deterring or mitigating ex-post malfeasance on the part of the husband.

Previous PostOlder Posts Home