Malaysian Traffickers Targeting Indian Tribal Women

by VR Sreeraman on Oct 5 2008 11:00 AM

Indian tribal women are being trafficked into Malaysia and Singapore for flesh trade.

The latest case was uncovered when five young women from Manipur and Assam escaped from the clutches of the traffickers recently.

Lured to Singapore with promises of well-paid maid jobs, the five women escaped when they were sent to Malaysia.

The Indian High Commission here is making arrangements to send them home, the NST Online reported.

Commission counsellor Sudhir Kumar Mehrotra said they had reason to believe the women, of the Zeliangrong Naga tribe, were promised lucrative jobs but were duped to work as bar girls and prostitutes in nightclubs in Singapore and Malaysia.

"We have received information that as many as 150 women from Manipur, Assam and Nagaland have been duped by these agents to work immorally in this region," he said.

Human rights and women's groups in Imphal have sought intervention from the authorities to stop the trafficking of women.

The National Commission for Women, the All-India Christian Council and the Northeast Support Centre and Helpline called on the Malaysian High Commission in New Delhi, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Tribal Affairs Minister P. R. Kyandiah to check the problem.

Northeast Support Centre and Helpline spokesman Madhu Chandra said they were concerned with agents luring young Manipur women under the pretext of working as maids.

On the five women who escaped last month, Sudhir Kumar said an NGO had approached the Indian High Commission to highlight the plight of the women.

"Three of the women were brought to us on September 17 and the other two five days later. They had arrived from Singapore and were dumped here to work. We have since placed them in a shelter home and are making arrangements to send them to Manipur, hopefully next week," said Sudhir Kumar.

He said the high commission had got in touch with the women's families in north-eastern India and had notified Wisma Putra and the police.

The Malaysian and Singapore high commissions in New Delhi have also been alerted.