#India- (Un)wanted women #Vaw

Ashok Kumar, The Hindu

Sex Selection  is a major factor resulting in trafficking of women from across the country to Haryana for forced marriages and the situation has only been worsened by widespread unemployment and the low status accorded to women in the State, says the first-ever UN commissioned report on human trafficking in Haryana.

Most of the women brought to Haryana for forced marriages are from Assam and West Bengal and the districts of Karnal, Mewat, Rewari, Kurukshetra, Jind, Yamuna Nagar and Hisar in Haryana are the major destinations for these trafficked women, says the report titled ‘Current Status of Victim Service Providers and Criminal Justice Actors in India on Anti-Human Trafficking’, adding that the process of bridal migration was gaining momentum in the State and the sale and trafficking aspects of it needed immediate attention. In Mewat, there are many women who are being brought from States like Assam, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh and are forced to get married against their will. These girls are popularly known as “Paro”.

According to a 2004 report by non-government organisation Shakti Vahini, 100s of young girls and women are lured and sold into involuntary marriages in North India, says the report on human trafficking. They are bartered at prices that vary depending on their age, beauty and virginity and exploited under conditions that amount to a modern form of slavery. Although trafficking of women and girls has become a lucrative and expanding trade in these regions, it routinely escapes effective administrative and social sanctions and the general response is to deny the existence of any such problem.

A large number of women are also trafficked to Haryana from Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh for domestic work and are forced to work under bonded labour like conditions, according to the report. Gurgaon and Faridabad are the major destinations for the girls and women trafficked to Haryana for domestic work and a large number of them even become victims of sexual exploitation, says the report.The trafficked domestic helps, mostly minor girls, are supplied in Haryana by the placement agencies operating in Delhi and once these children land up in their employer’s house they end up in slavery. In many cases, these children become the victims of sexual exploitation at the hands of either the placement agency owner or the employer themselves. The placement agencies illegally run their business and have good links in the source areas. The agency owners bring girls from the source states with the help of their organised network and employ them as bonded labour.

Most of the victims are trafficked through railway routes and they are transited via Delhi. These women and girls are also sent to the border areas of Rajasthan from Haryana.

According to the report, the Haryana Government has initiated various schemes for the care and protection of trafficked victims and children. However, there is an absence of monitoring mechanism and minimum standards of victim care and protection and it was highlighted when the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights team detected cases of selling of infants and sexual exploitation of girls at a State-supported “Swadhar” Home in Rohtak recently.

Sounding the warning bells, the report says it may take Haryana more than 50 years to reach its natural sex ratio even if the Government ensures that not a single sex determination takes place in the State. The demand for marriageable age girls will be much more intense in the coming years and the demand met by inter-State marriages. The challenge before the State of Haryana as well as regions of Western Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan is to ensure that the bride demand is not catered to through human trafficking. The governments in these regions should ensure legislations which protect the rights of women and children, says the report.


Haryana – lowest child sex ratio in 0-6 yr age group in India

Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
Disinterest of Haryana in the girl child is very pronounced and the Census data, released today, vouches for its ‘notoriety’. The child sex ratio in the age group of 0-6 years has been pegged at 834 girls for 1,000 boys in the state, the lowest in the country despite an increase over the last Census. Haryana is followed by Punjab (846) and Jammu and Kashmir (862) in this category.

Though the sex ratio in the 0 to 6 years category in 2011 has shown an improvement over the 2001 data, going up from 819 to 834, it is a way below compared to that of the country with a sex-ratio of 919 girls for 1,000 boys. In rural areas, it has increased to 835 from 823 and in urban from 808 to 832.

In this category, the sex ratio is lowest in Mahendergarh (775), followed closely by Rewari (782), Gurgaon (787) and Sonepat (798). Mewat with 906 has the highest sex ratio in the state though it fares rather badly on the literacy front and more so when it comes to female literacy.

Haryana Directorate of Census Operation Vinod Babbar said the sex ratio had increased from 861 in the 2001 Census to 879 in 2011. In rural, sex ratio had increased to 882 from 866 and in urban from 847 to 873. The overall sex ratio of India stood at 943.

However, though the sex ratio has gone up, the results are nothing to write home about. Barring Mewat and Fatehabad where the sex ratio is 907 and 902 respectively, it is below 880 in 10 of the 22 districts in the state. The sex ratio is lowest at 854 in Gurgaon, which scores highly when it comes to literacy. Sonepat is a close second at 856 and Jhajjar with 862 is in the third spot.

According to the data, the literacy rate has increased to 75.6 per cent in 2011 from 67.9 of 2001. The female literacy increased to 65.9 per cent from 55.7 per cent. In rural areas, female literacy increased to 60 per cent from 49.3 per cent and in urban area to 76.9 per cent from 71.3 per cent.

Gurgaon scores top position with 84.7 per cent, Mewat has the lowest literacy rate in the state with 54.1 per cent. When it comes to female literacy, the two districts maintain their position, with Gurgaon and Mewat having a literacy rate of 78 and 36.6 per cent respectively.

Babbar said the work participation rate had decreased from 39.6 per cent in 2001 to 35.2 per cent in 2011. In rural, it had decreased from 42.9 per cent in 2001 to 36.4 per cent. However, in urban it had increased to 32.9 per cent from 31.5 per cent. The cultivators had decreased from 36 per cent in 2001 to 27.8 per cent in 2011. As per the 2011 Census, the final population of Haryana is 2,53,51,462 persons consisting of 1,34,94,734 males and 1,18,56,728, registering a decadal growth of 19.9 per cent.

The density of population has increased from 478 persons per sq. km in 2001 to 573 persons per sq. km in 2011. The proportion of urban population has increased to 34.9 per cent from 28.9 per cent of the 2001 census. The urban area of the state is only 4.46 per cent of its total area, he said.

He said the Scheduled Castes population had increased to 51,13,615 from 40,91,110 in 2001.


India: Money Is Plenty But Girls Are Scarce in Haryana

Published February 21, 2013


The highway to Mewat, a district in the Indian state of Haryana, is smooth and plastered with roadkill. Dogs, mostly, at least one flattened carcass every mile. Behind us is Gurgaon, a newly erected city of almost a million, where multi-nationals have found a home in glitzy high-rise buildings but no supply of running water (it’s brought in with trucks from Delhi).

Ahead of us is farmland dotted with property developments. Oxcarts next to SUVs, veiled women evading the gaze of my camera, men smoking gigantic hookahs while punching their smartphones.

This is Haryana, where villages flush with money are ruled by councils that command honor killings and where 14 is a suitable age to marry when you are a girl. That is, of course, if you were lucky enough to be born.

Because Haryana also has one of the most skewed sex ratios in India: the recent 2011 census counted 830 girls born for every 1,000 boys. In other words: tens of thousands of baby girls are aborted every year because families here (as in much of the rest of India) strongly prefer boys.

“There are many reasons for this,” says Shafiq ur Rahman Khan, an activist who heads an NGO called Empower People and who has come with us to Haryana. It’s the son who inherits the wealth of a family; it’s the husband’s parents who are looked after in old age by the bride (not her own parents). And there is the dowry system, where huge sums have to be paid by the bride’s family to the future husband.

A case in point is the pile of fridges and air conditioners, flat-screen TVs, sofas and armchairs in the hallway of the building where Empower People have their Mewat office: excess dowry belonging to the recently married landlord that he could not fit into his new home.

We have come here to look at the social consequences of the skewed sex ratio: what does it mean for a society if it lacks a significant amount of women? Shafiq has been working in the area since 2006 and has established contacts with many villages in the region. He believes that the disregard for the rights of women is at the root of many problems that plague the region, from sexual violence to bride trafficking and child marriages.

Through Shafiq and his local co-workers we hope to get access to some of these villages. It won’t be an easy task, especially after the Delhi rape case that awoke a whole nation to the widespread problem of violence against women. But Shafiq is confident that through his network we will be able to speak to some women about their situation.


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