4 Oct : At least half the 612 districts in the country are affected by trafficking of women and children for commercial sexual exploitation, according to a report.
The report by the National Commission for Women (NCW) says that in 378 districts, there are 1,794 identified places of origin from where females are trafficked and 1,016 areas where commercial sexual activities take place.
The southern and eastern states are the most vulnerable as far as trafficking is concerned, with states like Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal having all their districts affected by the problem.
Among other most affected states are — Tamil Nadu (93.33 per cent of all districts), Orissa (86.66 per cent) and Bihar (86.48 per cent).
The report further adds that 2.4 per cent of the total female population in age group of 15-35 years in the country is engaged in the flesh trade.
“The estimated number of commercial sex workers in India is about 28 lakh,” it says.
In this, over 43 per cent of the girls are minor at the time they enter the flesh trade.
“The entry of minors in flesh trade is comparatively high in regions where incidence of poverty and hunger are chronic. Reasons like violence against women, high unemployment and lack of options contribute to the vulnerability of trafficking of adults,” the report says.
The report says that gender discrimination and gender specific violence and crimes perpetuate the vulnerability of women and children and act as one of the reasons behind trafficking.
The NCW says that the promise of a job is the biggest way of deception and accounts for over 50 per cent of trafficking cases.
Presenting a gloomy picture, the report says that more than 22 per cent women in flesh trade are trafficked and forced into it by family members.
“Around 8 per cent (women) are trafficked by husbands or in-laws and 18 per cent are lured by friends or neighbours. More than 51 per cent women in commercial sex were trafficked either by family members or in-laws,” it says.
But what is more disturbing is the conclusion that political backing ensures that 22 per cent of traffickers are not prosecuted, the report claims.