Recently, the US State Department report on human trafficking in India has said that non-state armed groups continue to recruit as young as 14 years. They deploy children in direct hostilities against the rule in Jammu and Kashmir.
The 2020 Trafficking in Persons Report of the State Department, released by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, noted that Maoist groups, like in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, forcibly recruited children as young as 12 to handle weapons. It also includes Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), and in sometimes become human shields.
The use of ‘child soldiers’ for propaganda in the left-wing extremism affected states of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, the report stated. Stating that India doesn’t completely meet the minimum standards for eliminating human trafficking, the US kept it in the Tier 2 category. India has been in the Tier 2 category on human trafficking for almost a decade.
To give some context, Tier 2 ranking is provided to those countries which have not fully complied with human trafficking measures. But this category takes into consideration the ones that are making efforts. Tier 1 are countries that have completely complied with the measures.
The report also stated physical violence against trafficking victims – in terms of both forced labour and sex trafficking. It prevails in India at quite a large scale. Also, some traffickers force women and girls to conceive and deliver babies for sale’.
The report further added Maoist rebels resort to sexual slavery in their camps. These claims cited several women and girls earlier connected with Maoist groups.
The traffickers exploit millions of people in commercial sex within India. It added that they target women, also fraudulently recruit significant numbers of Nepali and Bangladeshi women and girls sex trafficking. Moreover, traffickers exploit women and girls from Central Asian, European, and African countries in commercial sex, especially in Goa, the report said.