Issues - India

on Thursday, 05 September 2013. Posted in India, HIV/AIDs & other diseases, Extreme Poverty, Exploitation, Human Trafficking, Natural Disasters


The main influence of the hunger crisis in this region is the overwhelming overpopulation of the country, as at July 2007, India’s population is estimated to be 1 129 866 154 people, with 63% of these aged between 15 – 64 years. Only 2.8% of their total land mass is being used for agricultural purposes. (1)  

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In the last decade India has been able to decrease their poverty rates by 10% however this amount barely scraps the surface of the problem with 25% of the population (or 282 466 538 total people) in  India still suffering extensive poverty, with the percentage of people living with less than US$2 a day at 79.9 %, that is close to one billion people who exist on $2 for the day, that’s one loaf of bread perhaps, one litre of milk, a handful of grain but not all of the above together, no butter for your bread, no coffee for your milk, The huge and ever-growing population is the fundamental social, economic and environmental problem that they face. (1) While the population faces insurmountable odds just to survive, with 8 812 920 people unemployed these odds diminish significantly. Education is virtually inaccessible to the poor of this region. India currently has 600 000 Internally Displaced Persons in their country. (1)  
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The foremost diseases affecting this region are Aids, Bacterial Diarrhea, Hepatitis A & E, Typhoid Dengue Fever Malaria Rabies and H5N1 Avian Influenza. India now has 5.7 million people living with Aids the majority of this group, 5.6 million, are aged 15 years and over, 45% of the victims are men who have sex with men.  Illicit Drugs, while not technically a disease can be seen to be a disease of the community. India is the world's largest producer of licit opium for the pharmaceutical trade, but an undetermined quantity of opium is diverted to the illicit international drug markets. India is used as the transit point for many of its neighbouring countries illegal narcotic production. (1)

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Natural Disasters

Environmental Degradation, Droughts, Flash Floods and widespread destructive flooding from monsoonal rains, severe thunderstorms and earthquakes, India seems to have everything that nature can throw at it. Mix into this an overpopulation crisis and you also get Deforestation, Soil erosion, overgrazing of lands, air pollution, and water polluted with raw sewerage and runoff pesticides, non potable tap water and you end up with much more than the country is capable of controlling and containing. (1)  
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Child Exploitation & Discrimination

India is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced or bonded labour and commercial sexual exploitation; the large population of men, women, and children - numbering in the millions - in debt bondage face involuntary servitude in brick kilns, rice mills, and embroidery factories, while some children endure involuntary servitude as domestic servants; internal trafficking of women and girls for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced marriage also occurs; the government estimates that 90 percent of India's sex trafficking is internal; India is also a destination for women and girls from Nepal and Bangladesh trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation; boys from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh are trafficked through India to the Gulf states for involuntary servitude as child camel jockeys; Indian men and women migrate willingly to the Persian Gulf region for work as domestic servants and low-skilled labourers, but some later find themselves in situations of involuntary servitude including extended working hours, non-payment of wages, restrictions on their movement by withholding of their passports or confinement to the home, and physical or sexual abuse. (1)  India has been on the Tier 2 Watch List, released by the US Department of State to monitor and combat Trafficking in persons, since 2004 for its failure to show evidence of increasing efforts to address trafficking in persons. Some of the concerns that the US Dept. of State has raised in its assessment are,  

The Government of India does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking however; it is making significant efforts to do so. (2)

This year, three state governments established, with substantial U.S. Government and UNODC assistance, the first state-level anti-trafficking police units in the country, which has led to an increase in rescues of sex trafficking victims and arrests of traffickers. The central government passed a law in October 2006 banning the employment of children in domestic work and the hospitality industry. In a July 2006 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the Maharashtra government could proceed with its plan to seal brothels under the Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act (ITPA). (2)

Efforts to combat forced child labor remained uneven throughout the country, varying greatly from state to state. In October 2006, the government enacted a ban on the employment of children in domestic work or in the hospitality industry, with penalties ranging from three months' to two years' imprisonment and fines - penalties that are not sufficiently stringent. (2)

Some state and local governments also rescued children from forced labor situations. For example, in New Delhi, police rescued 234 children from embroidery factories and rice mills, although they did not report making any arrests. India did not provide any evidence of convictions for forced child labor, in spite of the hundreds of thousands of children between the ages of 5 and 14 that have been removed from workplaces. (2)

The government conducted at least 43 rescue operations that released 275 victims of commercial sex trafficking from their exploiters; however, these operations were not accompanied with vigorous prosecution of traffickers. (2)

The reported complicity of law enforcement officials in trafficking and related criminal activity and the critical need for an effective national-level law enforcement authority impede India's ability to effectively combat its trafficking in person’s problem. (2)

According to a study produced by the National Human Rights Commission a majority of traffickers surveyed claimed to rely on corrupt police officers for the protection of their trafficking activities. These officers reportedly continued to facilitate the movement of sex trafficking victims, protect brothels that exploit victims, and protect traffickers and brothel keepers from arrest or other threats of enforcement. (2)

The Government of India relied heavily on NGOs to assist sex trafficking victims, though it offered funding to these NGOs to build shelters under its Swadhar Scheme. In April 2007, however, India's parliament released a report concluding that the Ministry of Women and Child Development had failed to adequately implement the Swadhar program and another program specifically focused on services for trafficking victims across the country. Government shelters are found in all major cites, but the quality of care they offer varies widely. In Maharashtra, state authorities converted one government shelter into a home exclusively for minor victims of sex trafficking this year, and issued a policy permitting trafficking victims to access any of the 600 government homes throughout the state. (2)

To address the issue of bride trafficking, the government instituted public awareness programs to educate parents on the laws against sex-selective abortions and infanticide, and the negative effect that gender imbalance is causing in parts of India. While the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs instituted a system requiring women under the age of 35 going to the Gulf as domestic workers to obtain authorization to leave India, the government failed to provide those traveling overseas with information on common trafficking perils or resources for assistance in destination countries. (2)

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