Punjab and Haryana continue to exploit the girl child. A new United Nations report released on Wednesday reveals that girls and women are not only trafficked to these two states to improve the skewed sex ratio but also, and mainly, to bear male children. Once they give birth to a boy, they are usually sexually exploited and either abandoned or passed on to another man.
Punjab and Haryana — two of India’s wealthiest states — also have the dubious distinction of being among the states with the most skewed sex ratios — in the age group of 0-6 — in the country. Punjab has a ratio of 886 girls to 1,000 boys while the number in Haryana is 867.
The districts with the worst sex ratios also come from the two states. The worst offender is Fathegarh Sahib in Punjab, which has a ratio of just 766 girls to a 1,000 boys.
Despite the skewed ratio, the United Nations Development Fund report indicates that the desire for a male child still persists and for that, women are trafficked regularly from Assam and West Bengal. “There is an emerging pattern of trafficking girls from West Bengal and Assam to the more prosperous states of Punjab and Haryana where the gender gap is most acute,” reads the report titled Human Trafficking and HIV: Exploring Vulnerabilities and Responses in South Asia’.
So far, it was believed that poor women from Bihar, Assam and West Bengal, were being trafficked to Punjab and Haryana to fill in the shortage of women for marriage. Now, the study conducted by the UNDP reveals that women are mostly trafficked to bear male children. “The woman is either abandoned or passed on to another man after the birth of the male child,” the study — covering India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal — says.
Terror recruits getting younger
On a different subject, the damning report also notes that extremist outfits in the country have “reportedly” begun recruiting boys aged between eight and 15 years to provide food and deliver ransom notes without arousing the suspicion of the police. “The People's War Group (now Communist Party of India-Maoist) founded these organisations in an attempt to train children to resist police interrogation more effectively,” it reads, adding that tribal girls are reportedly used as couriers in the areas of Adilabad and Dandakaranya.