An Unprecedented Win For Labour Trafficking Survivors In Karnataka

NBI Brick Kiln_A day after the Rescue.JPG

When Judgement Day Arrived

On March 10th, 2017, a landmark judgement was pronounced in the NBI Brick Kiln case that dates back to 2014.

Justice was served for thirteen survivors who previously worked as bonded labourers in a brick kiln. The brick kiln owner who had trafficked and abused the victims was found guilty of the bonded labour and trafficking crimes. The judicial decision sentenced the trafficker to ten years of rigorous imprisonment and imposed a penalty of ₹16,000 on him under the IPC 370 (Trafficking of Persons) and Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976.

Back in 2010, the brick kiln owner had lured the families on false promises of good wages and a better living. Deceived by the prospect of a better livelihood, the labourers had fallen into the trap of bondage that robbed them of their freedom, including the freedom to make choices about their own lives.

NBI Brick Kiln_Survivors depart from the facility.JPG

Shivamma and Shivaiah:

Shivaiah, the oldest survivor from the rescue operation conducted at the NBI Brick Kiln has gone through many gruelling experiences. Years later on a sultry afternoon, seated in the very room that they were sheltered in immediately after their rescue, Shivaiah reminisces his bold journey from a victim to a survivor. Seated beside him is Shivamma, his second daughter, a woman of an indomitable spirit.

Hailing from the small, rustic town of Harohalli, a household of five – Shivaiah, his wife and three daughters were a happy family. They had a small house, reared cows and lived a quiet life in their idyllic setting. Their three cows yielded twenty five litres of milk every day that the family sold for a living. The income was not adequate for a family of five and Shivaiah began making bricks at his own house. These bricks were also sold for money. Although, they were not rich, the family managed a simple but a content living.

Since Shivamma dropped out of school just three days of being enrolled at the local school at the age of five and never completed her schooling thereafter, her father send her to sell the milk from the cows in the neighbourhood and sometimes even work in the nearby fields that cultivated wheat. She grew up supporting her family. She was hard working and often toiled on the amber fields of wheat. During the time of harvesting the wheat, the three daughters together would grind the wheat grains on the millstone and extract the flour.

As a child, Shivamma had sowed papaya seeds on the little land around their house – that slowly flowered into a papaya tree that yielded luscious fruits. Coconut trees also grew on their small land. The produce was sold at the local market and the money earned was used to buy food. The family enjoyed delectable non vegetarian food and Shivamma would always look forward to buying meat with the money she earned by selling fruits. When she came of age, Shivamma married her first cousin, Venkatesh. They had children – a daughter and two sons.

Shivaiah found work during the seasonal employment and when labour was required during certain times of the year. He worked on alternate days during the time of seasonal employment. On days where he did not need to work, he took the whole family – now a growing one with son in laws and grandchildren – to watch movies, dramas and traditional theatre forms like Yakshagana. They also loved to visit town fairs and market festivals.

Nanjappa, the perpetrator who had trafficked them into misery and bondage was no stranger to them. Nanjappa lived in the same town and was of the same age as Shivamma. Shivaiah knew Nanjappa since the time he was a young boy and had seen him grow before his own eyes. Shivaiah had always encouraged Nanjappa to study well during his growing years.

After many botched startups, Nanjappa started a new business of brick making. Owing to their acquaintance, Nanjappa coaxed Shivaiah about joining his new business offering him lucrative earnings. Shivaiah and his wife readily agreed to work with Nanjappa. Around this time, Shivaiah had also taken a loan of ₹15,000 from Nanjappa. No sooner had they joined their new ‘job’, Shivamma and her husband also joined them along with their younger son thinking of a better income.

That was the fateful decision that changed the course of their lives dramatically – It was too late when they realized that the lives of three generations of the same family were now entwined in utter bondage with a single decision. A hopeful choice for a better life became the harrowing cause that plummeted their lives into dark ravines of oppression. They were made to work for more than twelve hours every day and forced to make 1000 bricks per day. A family was compensated a meagre amount of ₹1000 a week for their sustenance. Be it heavy rains or the scorching heat, they were not spared from work. If they were unwell, they were not allowed to rest. If they complained, they would be abused. If they tried to flee, they would be thrashed and threatened. They were told they were allowed to leave only upon repayment of the loan they had borrowed. The owner deluded them into believing that their current outstanding amount had escalated to ₹140,000 with the accrued interests. The owner did not allow Shivaiah to even perform the last rites of cremation when his own father died.

On August 13th, 2014, when 13 labourers including Shivaiah’s family was rescued from captivity, they had spent almost five years in uncertainty, confinement and anguish. Worn out by the toil and drained of all hopes of escape, they could not believe that their release by the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit, the District Administration and the local police assisted by International Justice Mission was truly happening!

On March 10th, 2017, the news of the conviction in this case came as an unexpected surprise. They were so filled with emotion. “If Nanjappa yoked us in bondage for five years, then God has recompensed him a double penalty of ten years for his misdeeds!”, said Shivaiah.

Today, they understand that Bonded Labour is a crime and that human beings cannot be held hostages and be coerced to work with little or no pay. Shivaiah regrets the decision that shattered many lives. He says, “My wife and I are old. We would die soon. Our sorrow was (for) our children and we grieved even more about our grandchildren who were thrown into bondage because of my decision. I could not bear to see them deprived of a future.”

Shivamma exclaims, “My son rang up from his village saying that our photos had come in the newspapers. He told us how Nanjappa had been sentenced to ten years in prison for exploiting us. I am happy to see him punished.”

The family now works in different daily wage jobs. Today, they celebrate their freedom. From ‘beings caged birds to mounting on those wings of freedom’, their message to many others who are possibly in bondage at this hour is – “Be bold, stand up for your rights.”

The stories of the survivors that survived the ordeal—the stories of all survivors—are living, breathing reminders of why governments must live up to their responsibility to combat this serious crime in all its forms.

NBI Brick Kiln _Enquiry.JPG

The Trial’s Significance

The verdict is the very first of its kind in Karnataka where a perpetrator has been convicted under IPC 370 for a bonded labour trafficking crime.

A watershed case in the fight against bonded labour and a significant development in the history of the criminal justice system, the ruling in this case has not only doled out dire ramifications to the perpetrator but also proved beyond doubt that justice is possible for the poor.

The dispensation of justice in this case with the shortest possible time has been a remarkable evidence that the doors at the courts of justice would definitely heed to the constant knocks on it!

Courts of Justice: Protecting Human Rights

The Honourable Judge Mohammed Mujahid Ulla of the Additional Sessions Court, Ramangara deemed it significant to extract relevant observations of the Supreme Court of India in his judgement on this case:

*In (1984) 3 Supreme Court Cases 161 Bandhua Mukti Morcha vs Union of India, …it is observed that “They are nonbeings, exiles of Civilization, living a life worse than that of animals, for the animals are at least free to roam about as they like and they can plunder or grab food whenever they are hungry but these outcastes of society are held in bondage, robbed of their freedom and they are consigned to an existence where they have to live either in hovels or under the open sky and be satisfied with whatever little unwholesome food they can manage to get, inadequate though it be to fill their hungry stomachs.”

Notwithstanding its high incidence in Karnataka, yet bonded labour is a well organized crime so abstract and covert in its existence that makes it difficult to trace or detect. The vulnerable become a source of cheap labour and demand driven commodities for scheming opportunists who would not think twice about trampling lives underfoot into deep bondage for their vested interests. Stripped of their dignity of life and labour, these labourers were grossly deprived of an adequate means of livelihood.

*… it is observed that; “Now it is obvious that the poor and the disadvantaged cannot possibly produce relevant material before the court in support of their case and equally where an action is brought on their behalf by a citizen acting pro bone publico, it would be almost impossible for him to gather the relevant material and place it before the Court.”

The Court in this case, weighted heavily the victim testimony, and affirmed that variations in details of testimony are permissible where there is sufficient corroborating evidence of the essence of the case.

*In (1982) 3 Supreme Court Cases 235, People Union for Democratic Rights vs Union of India; “It is obvious that ordinarily no one would willingly supply labour or service to another for less than one’s minimum wage, when he knows that under the law he is entitled to get minimum wage for the labour or service provided by him. It may therefore be legitimately presumed that when a person provides labour or service to another against receipt of remuneration which is less than the minimum wage, he is acting under the force of some compulsion which drives him to work through he is paid less than what he is entitled under law to receive.”

The advance taken by the labourers in times of desperate need underlay conditions precipitating these lives into ruthless bondage. What happens to their lives after bondage? Restoration is a long, arduous journey and the question that arises is whether reparation in any form could really appreciate or compensate the loss and suffering survivors experience and sometimes continue to live with.



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Media Round Table on Bonded Labour & Human Trafficking at Lucknow

A Media Round table event was organized on 9-December-2016 at UP Press Club, Lucknow, by UP CSO Forum, IJM, JVI and PVCHR. The objectives of the program were to sensitize the media and journalists on Human Trafficking and Bonded Labour, and advocate for more coverage and thus initiate a mass awareness on the issues.up-media-round-table-dec-2016

A total of 50 participants attended the event, including 44 people form media houses, UP CSO Forum and some CSOs from Lucknow. The discussion at the event included status of Bonded Labour in UP and efforts of the Government and CSOs on the issues. CSOs shared the problems faced by them while conducting interventions for bonded labour and human trafficking. The media houses present have assured an increase coverage, and have requested for stories from CSOs.

The formation of UP CSO forum on Bonded Labour and Human Trafficking, and finalization of Media Event are outcomes of a CSO consultation held at Varanasi on 16-Sep-2016.

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11 trafficked children rescued from Bindi workshop in Delhi

On 25-Oct-2016, 11 minor boys were rescued from forced child labour in bindi workshops in Seelampur, Delhi. The children, aged 12-17 years, were trafficked from flood affected villages in Araria and Purnea districts of Bihar and forced to work under confinement, without pay at. An FIR has been filed against 3 accused under relevant sections of IPC, Bonded Labour Act, Child Labour Act and Juvenile Justice Act.

The rescue was led by SDM Seelampur, in coordination with Labour Department, Delhi Police, EFFICOR and JVI.



The children’s working hours ranged from 12-14 hours each day, far exceeding the 8-hour work day mandated for adult labourers. For these long hours, these child labouers were paid nothing, except a pittance of Rs. 50-100 per month. The children ate and lived in the same rooms tiny rooms where they worked. One of the workshops, which was a dirty room merely 10x 15 ft. in size, employed and housed 5 children. The children were working within the confinement of the workshops and not allowed to step out. The only breaks from work they received, were half-days on Fridays to visit the mosque. 4 children of Purnea had received Rs. 1500-4000 as advance from their employers before starting work.

Mohd. Kadir (pseudonym), a 17-year-old, dropped out of school after class 5 to help the family pay off a debt of Rs. 6 lakhs following his father’s accident a year ago. The amount has been borrowed a usurious rate of 5% per month from a friend of his employer and brother in law.

11-year-old Mohd. Yunus (pseudonym), the youngest among the survivors, informed that a local Primary School teacher in his village in Araria, from whom he got his Adhaar card made, provides identity cards to people for Rs. 200 each. Sarfaraz a 17-year-old, also got his Voter ID card from this teacher, where age is declared as 20-years Such a system is widely practiced by agents to enable easy trafficking of labourers and children.

All 11 children rescued, come from flood affected areas, and belong to extremely poor households. Like most families in these areas, the survivors are also debt ridden with a minimum of Rs. 50,000 per family. After repatriation to Bihar, the children will be added to the Child Labour Tracking System through the CWC of their respective districts, entitling them to several benefit benefits including a compensation of Rs. 25000 for rehabilitation. The children have expressed their eagerness to join school again and look forward to a hopeful life ahead.

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Rehabilitation is a Basic Right of Rescued Bonded Labourers


Rescued bonded labourers at a Freedom Training

October 10, Tamil Nadu: Rehabilitation of the rescued bonded labourers is vital for the sustainable development of the freed bonded labourers. Hence we undertake various activities under the rehabilitation aspect such as: obtaining release certificates, supporting with protection letters, providing medical assistance, emergency help to the victims including food, temporary shelter, initiating government assistance through completing initial assessment form, psycho-social counseling to recover from trauma/ strain/ stress, organizing freedom training, obtaining entitlement rights like free house, voter card, aadhar card, ration card, rural employment guarantee card, developing family development form, school admission, support for technical education, community certificates, formation of self-help groups, accessing welfare schemes, uniting family, integrating with other government schemes and empowering community.

We undertake rehabilitation program as basic rights of the rescued bonded labourers and it is obligation of the government. In this way we have conducted freedom training for the rescued bonded labourers.

Similarly a Vigilance Committee meeting was organised at Sivagangai District Collectorate to discuss the new Central Sector Support Scheme for the rescued bonded labourers. Victims, social workers, government officers including District Collector, SP, Welfare Officers and others attended.

During the meeting we presented paper on the rehabilitation aspects and talked about the right to livelihood and right to life is basic constitutional provisions for all the people that includes rescued bonded labourers. The government extended very well for the rescued people including ration cards, rural employment cards and providing other services.

Following the meeting, various officers along with NASC team made visit to brick-kilns and wood cutting units and made inspection on the working conditions of the labourers.

*This story was contributed by the National Adivasi Solidarity Council (NASC).

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47 Bonded Labourers Rescued from Brick Kilns


Rescued bonded labourers holding their Release Certificates

September 23, Tamil Nadu: The NASC team rescued over 47 bonded labourers from the brick-kilns of Pudur. These bonded labourers were working in the brick-kilns situated in Pudur village in the Vellore district and all of them are from the Irula Tribe community. Some of them are from within Vellore District, some from Kanchipuram district and few from Krishnagiri district of Tamilnadu State.

They obtained an advance (loan) of between Rs. 10,000 to Rs.70,000 and were working as bonded labourers for the same owner for 5 – 15 years. There were 47 victims: 12 men, 13 women, 16 boys, and 6 girls.

These labourers faced physical violence and verbal abuse and were never allowed outside and issues such as non-payment of minimum wages (weekly Rs.300 only), lack of freedom of movement, lack of freedom of employment and all were forced to live within the premises of the owners’ property (normally within the brick-kiln worksite), and never allowed to go as family to outside (either husband or wife or child always has to be under the control of the owner or his agent).

They have been planning to come out for last three years but do not know how to contact and to whom to seek help and it was very hard time in their life for the last five years. Later, they met the members of the National Adivasi Solidarity Council (NASC) and got information on the Bonded Labour System Abolition Act. Later the NASC team gathered more information and problems that these people face and verified whether the details were true or not. And then, they approached the Revenue Divisonal Officer (RDO) who is the Vellore Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Mr. Ajay Srinivasan of the District Government of Vellore and explained the subject.

With the help of RDO and his team’s full cooperation this rescue was successfully undertaken along with police protection on 23rd September 2016. The District Collector and various officers are helping in issuing the release certificates, providing rehabilitation and NASC team is organizing and supporting to the victims including transportation, food, medical help and other needs.

NASC is now working on an action plan for better rehabilitation, legal aid, and follow-up work along with the support of the RDO of Vellore District, Tamil Nadu.

*This story was contributed by the National Adivasi Solidarity Council (NASC).

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Odisha Woman Rescued after 3 years of Domestic Servitude

A 42-year-old woman from Odisha was rescued on 20-Sept-16 from a house in Delhi after three years of work in confinement, without pay or leaves.  An FIR against the accused employer has been registered under sections 16,17,19 of Bonded Labour Act.

A team led by an SDM, and comprising of Labour Department, Delhi Police, Women’s helpline (DCW), Chetanalaya and JVI, conducted the rescue and brought the victim to freedom, following information from IJM.

The victim, Maya*, belongs to a poor family in Sundergrh district of Odisha. Three years ago, she came to Delhi in search of work, leaving her husband and two children behind. Through a placement agent, Maya was placed at a house in South West Delhi, where she worked for three years, until her rescue.  The accused employer is working at the Delhi Airport, and his wife is a teacher in a well-known school.

Maya was promised Rs. 3500 per month, which she never received for her entire tenure. Instead, the employer paid the due wages to the placement agent, a practice widely common in Delhi. Since her arrival at the house, Maya has never been allowed to take a leave, or return to her village.

Maya has now received her Release Certificate and an interim rehabilitation amount of Rs. 5000, as per the Central Sector Scheme for Rehabilitation of Bonded Labourer 2016. The SDM also ordered the accused to pay ~Rs. 3 Lakhs as back wages to the victim, as per Minimum Wages Act.

On 29-Sept-16, Maya’s husband was granted her custody by the court and she is now at her home in Odisha, happily reunited with her children.


* Pseudonym used to protect the victim’s identity.

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‘Labour Exploitation & Slavery in India’: Panel Discussion


On August 31, 2016, National Foundation for India hosted a panel discussion on ‘Labour Exploitation and Slavery in India: The Role of Media, Government, and Civil Society.’ Kishalay Bhattacharjee, former resident editor NDTV and executive director of Reachout Foundation, moderated the event. The hall in India Habitat Centre was filled with around 160 state level journalists, national media, journalism students, and CSOs, who came to hear senior journalists and other key stakeholders discuss the issue. Here is an overview of their compelling and timely conversation.

Media perspective of bonded labour:

“Cruelties, deaths, sexual exploitation – everything that is immediately newsworthy will get priority… If I want to report on bonded labour, [the media and reading public] will be far less interested.” – Hartosh Singh Bal, Political Editor for Caravan Magazine

“There is no space for labour in the media at all. Labour is no more an issue as far as media is concerned.” – Girish Nikam, Rajya Sabha TV

On the storytelling standard:

“Good intentions are never enough. Stories must make readers read. They have to be written in a way that will make people read.” – Hartosh Singh Bal

On using the term ‘slavery’:

“Use the harshest word available…when we think others don’t deserve dignity or wages, we are the ones who are sick.” – Saba Naqvi, Political Editor for Outlook Magazine

“‘Trafficking’ and ‘bonded labour’ do not evoke responses.” – Hartosh Singh Bal

MP Udit Raj urged the audience to consider the economic and social reasons for debt bondage and not apply the global definition of ‘slavery.’ In response, Sanjay Macwan, Regional Director at IJM, said: “Let’s not look at the global definition. We have our own. Let’s look at that.” He was of course referring to Section 370 of the Indian Penal Code, which states:

 “Buying or disposing of any person as a slave. – Whoever imports, exports, removes, buys, sells of disposes of any person as a slave, or accepts, receives or detains against his will any person as a slave, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.”


International Justice Mission also organised a Multi-Sensory Exhibition to “bring the field to the audience,” which was available for the audience to explore before the panel discussion. Using photographs, audio recordings, and objects that were either recovered from rescue sites or representative in nature, the exhibition invited people to look more deeply into the lives of bonded labour survivors.

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Freed bonded labourers after a generation

Bonded Labourers who were working in rice-mills for over 20 years are rescued on 17th September 2016 by the NASC team members. The rescue work was supported by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate Dr.A Arun Thamburaj IAS, Thasildar, Police and other officers and also media was very supportive for this rescue work.


Rescued people, including minors as young as 6 years old, worked for generations based on the advance that a family member obtained from the owner. Native village of these people are from Venpakkam of Cheyyar Taluk in Thiruvannamalai District and they are forced to work in a rice-mill located in Puliyampakkam near Walajabad in Kanchipuram district. It was identified during the prevalence study on bonded labourer.

Further coordination and rescued process was done by APK along with SDM. For the advance of Rs.60,000 these 8 members consisting two families belong Irula tribes were forced to work as bonded labourers. The rescue process took very effectively and followed with medical check-up, first aid, food supply, police protection, free legal aid including FIR case and other process was going on well.

Rescued people also obtained Release Certificates and rehabilitation is followed along with providing psycho-social support and it was assisted by the Welfare Association of Released Bonded labourers.

* This story was contributed by the National Adivasi Solidarity Council. 

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CSO Consultation On Bonded Labour & Trafficking in UP


A CSO Consultation on Bonded Labour and Human Trafficking was organized by Justice Ventures International (JVI) on 16-Sept-2016. The consultation received participation from 11 NGOs: Asmita, GRS, IJM, JVI, MSEMVS, PVCHR, RIDAM, ROSA, SRF, SCS and VISION.[i]

Issues faced by NGOs in addressing the issue of Bonded Labour were discussed and suggestions and solutions were proposed. A Forum on Bonded Labour in Uttar Pradesh has also been formed with 11 NGOs to initiate a process of joint advocacy for better government responses, and collaboration for addressing issues faced by NGOs in securing justice for bonded labourers.

Existing system to address the issue of BL in UP

The event started with discussion on steps taken by the UP government over the last few years to address the issue of bonded labour and the existing system to tackle the menace. Some of the much appreciates steps included:

  1. Formation and regular functioning of SLMC
  2. Formation of 65 district level VCs and 299 Sub-Division level VCs.
  3. Regular release of rehabilitation money sine 2015 along with progress report.
  4. Issuance of guidelines on BL by Principal Secretary (Labour)
  5. Formation and functioning of State Resource Centre on Bonded and Child Labour, founded by UNICEF and ILO
  6. 4 Regional consultations on BL organized by Labour Dept. in 2016
  7. Appointment of state nodal officer for BL – ALC Shakuntala Gautam (IAS)
  8. Activation of AHTUs in 35 districts with the status of PS.


Discussion on issues faced by CSOs

The CSOs shared several issued faced by them in addressing the issue of Bonded Labour, ranging from individual rescues and rehabilitation to district and state level issues in securing justice for bonded labourers. Following are some of the suggestions discussed as solutions to addressing these issues.

  1. Strong Documentation and evidence collection
  2. Setting realistic expectations with the victims
  3. Using Inter Sate Migrant Labour Act
  4. Involving NHRC if faced with no action from the district administration
  5. VC Membership for NGOs
  6. Ensuring filing of FIR with relevant sections including Sec 370 IPC
  7. Include DM’s action items in SAP
  8. Involve AHTU

Relevance of Sec 370 IPC in bonded labour cases and involving AHTU

Another important point of discussion was the new Anti Human Trafficking Bill 2016 and how, using the same can in Bonded Labour cases, can make the fight against bonded labour stronger. A related example was shared by IJM where, in a first of its kind, the owner of a brick kiln in Orissa from where 60 labourers were rescued, was convicted with 7 years’ sentence.


Forum on bonded labour in Uttar Pradesh

A Forum on Bonded Labour in Uttar Pradesh has been initiated with 11 NGOs at the consultation. While working against of Modern Day Slavery is long and full of difficulties, with CSOs coming together, the fight can be strengthened. The CSO participants agreed to work together in advocating for better government action and are keen to help each other in cases of bonded labour and human trafficking.


[i] MSEMVS (Manav Sansadhan Evam Mahila Vikas Sansthan, Varanasi),

PVCHR (People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights, Varanasi

ERS (Education Resources Society, Allahabad)

ROSA (Rural Organization for Social Advancement, Varanasi)

SCS (Subhash Children’s Society, Varanasi)

SRF (Dr. Shambhunath Research Foundation, Varanasi)


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WB minor trafficked, rescued from forced marriage in Haryana

‘This is how marriages happen here’, was his answer when Fatima’s brother in law was questioned about ‘buying’ a kidnapped girl for marriage. The family’s surprise at hearing the question spoke of the wide prevalence of the practice in the village, as acknowledged by the policemen in the rescue team.

Fatima*, a 16-year-old girl, was trafficked from a village in Murshidabad, West Bengal by two marriage brokers and sold to an agent in Haryana in March-2016. The agent sold Fatima for Rs. 80,000 from for marriage to a 30-year-old man in a village near Karnal, Haryana.

An FIR against the two local marriage brokers has been registered in Murshidabad and the case was referred to JVI. With unconfirmed location as Karnal with help of its investigation team, JVI consulted the CBI in Delhi, which further referred the case to the SP of Karnal District. By tracking the phone number used by Fatima to contact her family, Karnal Police confirmed the victim’s location in a village, 22 Kms away from Karnal city.

On 5-Sept-2016, she was rescued by a joint team of the Crime Investigation Agency 2 (CIA 2), Karnal Police and JVI.

Due to intimidation and fear Fatima denied being trafficked and being abused. The 16-year-old claims to be happy with her 30-year-old husband and said she wanted to continue living with him, possibility under the influence of Stockholm syndrome or fear of social stigma.

After the recording of her statements by CWC, Fatima has been repatriated to Murshidabad and is currently under a rehabilitation program. Both the accused are currently in judicial custody in Murshidabad. While Fatima’s husband and his family have not been arrested yet, this is a violation of section 366(A) and the POCSO Act, under which they may be tried in West Bengal.

At 879 females per 1000 males, Haryana is among the states with lowest sex ratio in India. Years of sex selective abortions has led to a dearth of brides in Haryana. In addition to being a cause of misery for the ready-to-mingle grooms, this shortage has led to a disturbing social pattern of ‘importing’ brides, fueling the trafficking of women for forced marriage. Girls, including minors, are trafficked from different parts of the country, forced into marriage, often to men upto twice their age, and then used as unpaid labourers[1].


*Fatima is a pseudonym used to protect victim’s identity. 


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