`Women trafficking linked to poverty'
By Our Staff Reporter
NEW DELHI DEC. 11. In an attempt to highlight the dismal conditions of women being "traded as cattle'', a non-government organisation, Shakti Vahini, released a report on "Trafficking of Girls and Women into Coerced Marriage and Bonded Labour in Haryana and Punjab'', in the Capital on Wednesday.
The report aims to deal with the problem of trafficking and throws light on how the absence of a properly defined law is a handicap in protecting the rights of the victims.
Drawing a connection between the large-scale trafficking of women and girls in Haryana, Punjab and Delhi region with the widespread poverty in the "source'' region of Assam, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Orissa, the Executive Director, Shakti Vahini, Ravi Kant, said: "Poverty, lower position of women and lack of opportunities remain the main reasons behind the victimisation in the source States, the disparity in the sex ratio in the demand States is equally important in fuelling the process of bridal importation.''
The result of year-long study by Shakti Vahini to assess the exact magnitude of the situation on the ground, the report tries to analyse the socio-cultural context of the problem. It also has case studies on the victims of this inhuman crime.
"The number of victims is difficult to judge from the fact that there is hardly a village in these States where one will not come across a few brides.
But the general estimates point to around 5,000 to 10,000 in Mewat and surrounding areas, 4,000 to 5,000 in Mansa and the surrounding districts and several times over in Doaba and other regions of Punjab.
Despite the rise in the number of cases in these areas, Haryana and Punjab were not even on the `Trafficking Map' until recently,'' lamented Mr. Kant.
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