SOUTH ASIA: Sale and trafficking of children denounced in dialogue with Special Rapporteur

Date: September 16, 2009
Document id: ALRC-COS-12-08-2009
Speaker: Michael Anthony
HRC section: Item 3, Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children

An Oral Statement to the 12th Session of the UN Human Rights Council from the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC), a non-governmental organization in general consultative status

SOUTH ASIA: Sale and trafficking of children denounced in dialogue with Special Rapporteur

Thank you Mr. President,

The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) welcomes the report and work of the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

Data collected in separate studies between 2005 and 2008 conducted by USAID, UNICEF, the ILO and human rights NGOs indicate that some 120,000 children from Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan are victims of child trafficking each year. These statistics are likely just the tip of the iceberg.

An ILO study in 2005 to 2007 reveals that at least 5000 to 7000 children are sold each year from Nepal to India for prostitution alone. Girls purchased in Nepal for 400 US dollars are sold to brothels in India for up to 4000 dollars. This price, with interest, then becomes the debt of the victim, to be repaid through prostitution. Many children are also trafficked through the border between Bangladesh and India.

In Pakistan, the ALRC has documented cases in 2008 and 2009 in which the Pakistan military is forcing young women and children to work as sex slaves for the military in brothels it operates.

In Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan, victims of trafficking are dealt with as criminals by the legal system. In Pakistan, victims are further burdened with having to prove their case against perpetrators. In India, owing to corruption within the judicial as well as investigative agencies, victims of trafficking are often vulnerable to re-trafficking.

The Special Rapporteur has repeatedly called upon States to not only take affirmative steps to prevent the sale of children and child trafficking, particularly of girls, through preventive legislative measures, but also to provide support and protection to human rights groups engaged in combating these abuses. State agencies, particularly the police, are however engaged in denying support to victims, colluding with criminal syndicates and threatening human rights defenders.

The ALRC would like to ask the Rapporteur what priority steps the governments of India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh need to take to effectively halt and prevent the sale of children? Also, has India responded to your request for a country visit?

Thank you.

(Note: The Special Rapporteur responded to this statement, noting that the mandate had received no response from the government of India concerning a country visit).

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About ALRC

The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) works towards the radical rethinking & fundamental redesigning of justice institutions in Asia, to ensure relief and redress for victims of human rights violations, as per Common Article 2 of the International Conventions. Sister organisation to the Asian Human Rights Commission, the ALRC is based in Hong Kong & holds general consultative status with the Economic & Social Council of the United Nations.

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