Human Trafficking, Silent Slaves: From Darjeeling to Delhi

Children in their early and late teens are brazenly trafficked to various parts of the country from West Bengal, reveals an investigative report by Tehelka SIT

“This can cause death? This is scandalous, and carries a massive risk. But still, I can arrange five drug addicts for the human drug trial. Actually, they are good for nothing and have been even abandoned by their families. But I will not tell them that they will be used for a drug trial in Delhi. Instead, I will tell them that they will get job in Delhi with a salary of 20k per month. Also, there won’t be any paperwork between you and me for the supply of these five people. And after their supply, neither I know you, nor you know me. As this is an illegal work, I need a substantial amount for this work. You will have to pay Rs 2 lakh for five people”. This is Sanjay Mandal for you. A human trafficker from Siliguri, Darjeeling, West Bengal, who reveals to Tehelka as to how he will manage five unemployed drug addicts, who have even been abandoned by their families, for us to undergo a drug trial by a pharmaceutical firm in Delhi. According to Sanjay, all this will be done without the consent of those five people, who won’t even be knowing that they would be subjected to a drug trial. All they will know is that they will get a job in Delhi with a salary of 20k per month. The lure of a job will make them move to Delhi, adds Sanjay.

Sanjay Mandal is a resident of Bagdogra, Darjeeling, West Bengal. He works in a tour and travel agency as a cab driver. The Tehelka reporter, posing as a customer who requires men  for drug trial and various other works in Delhi met him in Siliguri. This meeting was held through another taxi driver-cum-trafficker Gopal.

On meeting Sanjay Mandal, we told him that we need labourers for Delhi for various works, including construction and domestic work. We told him that the majority of the workforce, which would also include girls, should be of minor age.

Sanjay told us that so far he had not supplied any labourer to Delhi. But in Gangtok (Sikkim), six of the boys, supplied by him are working in a hotel. He also disclosed that he had supplied workers in Siliguri, his local area.

Reporter…. “Abhi tak Dilli mein diya aapne”?

Sanjay….. “ Nahin Dilli mein nahin diya. Idhar abhi Gangtok main 6 ladka kar raha hai”.

Reporter….. “Aapne diya hai”?

Sanjay….. “Hotel mein kaam kar raha hai”.

Reporter….. “Hotel mein, aur kahan diya hai”?

Sanjay…. “Aur idhar local mein rehta hai”.

[Sanjay Mandal disclosed that though he has not supplied workers in Delhi, he has supplied labourers in his local area, Siliguri and in Gangtok].

During the meeting, we told Sanjay that we need minor girls for domestic work in Delhi. Sanjay agreed and told us that he would provide us with four minor girls in the age of 12, 14 and 15 years.

Reporter….. “Ladkiyon ki kya umar batayi aapne”?

Sanjay…. “Wo sir 14 saal, 12 saal, 15 saal”.

Reporter…. “Kitni ladkiyan hain jo hamarey saath jayengi” ?

Sanjay…. “chaar (4)”

Reporter….. “Jo dilli jayengi na” ?

Sanjay….. “ Haan”

Reporter….. “Jinko tum bhejo gey”?

Sanjay….. “Haan”

Reporter….. “Ghar ka kaam to kar legi na jaisa kahengey”?

Sanjay…. “Bhaari kaam to nahin?. Umar chota hai. Ghar ke kaam jaisey jhaadu hai, poncha hai”.

Reporter…. “Har jagah aap ladkiyon ko chorkar aatey ho ya wo hi lekar jaatey hai” ?

Sanjay….. “Kahin local hua to chor key aatey hai. Gangtok hua to jaisey mere paas Innova hai. Main hi lekar chala jaata hoon.”

Reporter…. “Haan to bas phir aap hi lekar jaana”.

[Sanjay agreed to supply us minor girls in the age group of 12, 14 and 15 years for domestic help in Delhi. Sanjay also disclosed that he himself drops girls in his local area. Even at places like Gangtok (Sikkim) also he himself drops the girls at the agreed place in his Innova vehicle]

After this, Sanjay Mandal told us how much how much he would charge for supplying minor workers.

Reporter…. “Aapka abhi tak ka rate kya hai ek bachchey ka”?

Sanjay….. “Mera kya mahiney ka 2000 rupay dijiyega”.

Reporter…. “Har mahiney 2000” ?

Sanjay… “Ji”.

Reporter….. “Jaisey humney 10 bachchey liye to mahiney ke 20,000, aur bachchey ki tankhwa [ salary ] alag”.

[Now Sanjay revealed how much he will charge for supplying minor workers. He demanded Rs 2000 per child per month from us]

Sanjay now dwelled on the risk involved in the sending children for work to justify the amount he would demand for the services.

Sanjay….. “Ye sab kaam ke liye bhejengey ye sab poora risk mere par rehta hai”. Ek bhi bachchey ke saath kuch ho gaya to mera”….

Reporter….. “Nahin–nahin”

Reporter…. “Abhi tak aapne jo bachchey bhejey hai, wo sara  risk aap par raha hai” ?

Sanjay…. “ Haan”

Reporter…. “Unke saath kuch hua to nahin”?

Sanjay …. “Nahin”.

[Sanjay said that the entire risk of supplying minor labourers lied with him. So far, nothing has happened to the children he has supplied, he assured us].

Sanjay now revealed his plan of sending minors to Delhi for us. He said that he would first send boys with us to Delhi. Girls would be sent only after the boys adapt themselves to the new environment.

Sanjay…. “Ye apko jo ladies tha chaar jugaad hua theek hai, lekin hamara 9 ladka bhi jaa raha hai pehley lot main.. theek hai.

Reporter…. “Hamarey saath” ?

Sanjay…. “Aap lekar jayengey saath main”?

Reporter…. “Nahin-Nahin aap kisko bhejney ki baat kar rahe ho. Humein ya kisi aur ko. Humein dene ki baat kar rahe ho” ?

Sanjay…. “Ji”

Reporter…. “Theek hai bataiye”?

Sanjay…. “9 ladka jo jaa raha hai pehley lot main. Inko 10 din kaam karne dijiye. Ye wahan ka halaat situation batayega to 4 ladies, unke saath 4-5 ladka aur jayega.”

Reporter…. “Aur bachchey kitney jaa rahe hai” ?

Sanjay…. “Abhi bachchey jo jaa rahe hain 9 bachchey jaa rahe hai”.

Reporter…. “Kitni umar key” ?

Sanjay….. “20 ke oopar key nahin hain. Saara 20 ke neechey key hai. Aur sabse kum 14 saal.

Reporter….. “Humein dikhwa dogey ek baar”?

Sanjay…. “Abhi 2-4 ladka site par kaam kar raha hai. Dekhna chahey to dekh sakta hai”.

Reporter…. “Abhi humein sabse kum umar ke bachchey jo de rahe ho aap wo hai 14 saal ke hai”?

Sanjay…. “Ji”.

Reporter…. “Kitney hai wo 14 saal ke”?

Sanjay….. “2 ladkey hai, baaki sab usi ke hain, 14, 15, 18…20 ke oopar ka nahin hain koi”.

[According to Sanjay Mandal, he will first send 9 minor boys with us. Later on, 4 minor girls will be sent after the first nine adapt themselves to the conditions in Delhi. Sanjay said that out of the nine children, two will be of 14 years of age. Rest will be in the age of 15-18 and 20. But no one will be above then age of twenty]

After giving us minor children comprising of girls and boys for construction and domestic work,  Sanjay Mandal now told us how he will manage labourers for a drug trial in Delhi.

Reporter…. “Dawa (pharmaceutical) company ne trial karna hai. Dawa company ko uske liye labourers chahiye hoge.

Sanjay…. “ Risk hota hai”.

Reporter…. “Risk to hota hai, poora hota hai”.

Sanjay…. “Death to nahin ho jaati” ?

Reporter…. “Ab wo to dawa company batayegi. Hum kaisey keh sakte hai”.

Sanjay…. “Iske liye bhi aadmi dena padega”?

Reporter…. “Aadmi-aurat chahiye. Jo medicines dawa company banati hai, uske liye bhi labourers chahiye. Dawa ka trial karna hai”.

Sanjay…. “Aisey jaankar koi jaana chahyega? Jaisey aap mere ko batatey ho. Usko bata kar kaam nahin kiya jaa sakta”

Reporter…. “Agar nahin bata kar karna chahtey to nahin batakar karte hai”.

Sanjay…. “Jo bhi hai..aapke mere beech main clear hona chahiye”.

Reporter…. “Mainey to clear kar diya”.

Sanjay…. “Ek do key saath bologey to do chaar ladka raazi na ho to” ? Usmein usko doosra kaam bolkar kar sakte hain. Is type mein ladka hain thoda awara type.  Ghar se koi lena dena nahin hai. Hai aisa ladka bhi hai na. Guardian usko value nahin deta hai. Thoda awara type ka ladka hai. Sir aisa ladka koi kaam ka nahin hai. Kahin koi kaam main lag jayengey wo hi theek hai.. Is type ka ladka ko thoda paisey ka laalach-waalach deney se kaam ho sakta hai.. ye baat secret hi rahe, sir.

Reporter…. “Tumharey-humarey beech mein rahe”.

Sanjay… “Ye bahut bada kaand (scandlous) hai”.

Reporter…. “Hum nahin batayengey”.

[ Sanjay Mandal after learning that we need people for drug trial too in Delhi, describe it as very risky job. As this can even cause death. Despite this, he agreed to provide us labourers for a drug trial too, but with some pre-conditions. He said he would have to look for urchins, who have been abandoned by their families, for the job. They will not be told that they would face a drug trial. Instead they will be told that they are going to Delhi for a job, which will fetch them a salary. Sanjay said this thing should remain a secret between him and us.]

Sanjay revealed that he knew five young boys, who are addicted to drugs for the job.

Sanjay…. “Iske liye 5 ladka mil jayega. Aisa ladka chalega jo drug addict ho” ?

Reporter…. “Chal jayega”.

Sanjay…. “Aisa ladka bahut hai. Jo sach baat hai, thoda drug addict hai. Un logon ko thoda paisey ka laalach deney se kuch bhi karney ke liye tayyar ho jayege”.

Reporter…. “Theek hai”.

[Sanjay said he can arrange five drug addicts for us for a trial by pharmaceutical company. All we need to do is to pay them some money. And they will readily work for us.]

When asked what job offer he would give to the five drug addicts, Sanjay said he will offer them a job in a bar in Delhi.

Reporter…. “To tum usko kya kaam bataogey”?

Sanjay…. “Baar-bur ka kaam”.

Reporter…. “Bar ka”?

Sanjay…. “Bar mein daaru dene ka”.

[Sanjay said he will not reveal the drug trial thing to the five drug addicts. Otherwise they will not go to Delhi. But will tell them that they will get a job in Delhi bar which will require them to serve liquor etc].

Sanjay further revealed that he will not tell the guardians of the five drug addicts that he is sending their boys to Delhi for a drug trial on them. Neither there will be any paper work between him and us for the supply of the five youth.

Reporter…. “Jo dawa ke trial main jayengey unka koi humarey saath kaagzi agreement nahin hoga.”?

Sanjay…. “Nahin hoga sir. Main unko bhejunga is tarah ke unke guardian ko na pata chaley key mainey unko bheja hai”.

[Sanjay said he will not reveal to the guardians of the labourers that he had sent them to Delhi for the drug trial. Neither he will sign any agreement with us over this deal]

According to Sanjay, he will keep all the five members in dark about why they are being sent to Delhi.

Reporter….. “Unko tum bataogey nahin ki un par dawa ka trial hoga”?

Sanjay…. “Nahin, bataney se nahin bhi jaa sakta hai”.

[Sanjay said he will not tell the five drug addicts that they will be subjected to drug trial in Delhi. Otherwise they will not go.]

Sanjay told Tehelka that he will hide the drug trial thing from the five addicts he is sending to Delhi. And will tell them that they will get a job, with 20k per month as a salary.

Reporter…. “Unka paisa batao kitna logey”?

Sanjay…. “Usko salary bolkar bhejna padega”

Reporter…. “Kitni salary”?

Sanjay….. “Usko achcha salary bhejna padega. Jab wo nasha karta hai. Chaar-paanch- sau to wo phoonk hi deta hai.”

Reporter… “Kitni salary batao”?

Sanjay…. “Bees hazaar bolkar bhejna padega”.

Reporter…. “Mahiney ka”.

[According to Sanjay, he will tell the five boys he is sending to Delhi that they will get a job with 20k per month as salary]

Sanjay now demanded a big amount for himself, for sending five boys to Delhi for a drug trial.

Reporter…. “Aur aap kitna logey” ?

Sanjay…. “Iska to ekdum clear cut baat hai. Iska to aap khud soch kar dijiye. Ismein bahut bada jokhim hai”.

Reporter… “Paisey batao yaar”.

Sanjay…. “Setting karke bhejna hai.. saara meri guarantee hai. Kaisey handle karke bhejna hai 5 ladko ko. Kya karna hai unko…kharcha paani. Wo nasha karta hai…wo bhi usko khareed kar de dengey. Ye gadbad kaam hai sir. Ismein mota amount dijiye”.

Reporter…. “Kitna chahiye batao”?

Sanjay…. “Usko to jo bees hazaar salary usko mil jayega”.

Reporter…. “2 hazaar” ?

Sanjay…. “2 hazaar to genuine kaam ka hai”.

Reporter…. “To kitna” ?

Sanjay…. “Lakh hmm” ?

Reporter…. “ 2 lakh 5 ladko ka” ?

Sanjay… “Main manage karke bhejunga”.

[Sanjay now negotiated the amount he required for arranging the five boys. He said as the job is risky and illegal, so he should be paid substantial compensation for this. He explained that as he will arrange everything, he will take Rs 2 lakh for this job]

After Sanjay Mandal, Tehelka met Ranjit Topo, another trafficker from Naxalbari, Siliguri, Darjeeling, West Bengal. We told Ranjit that we require 100-150 labourers for Siliguri, Kolkata and Delhi. Posing as a decoy customer, we told Ranjit that we require minor girls and boys for our construction work and Hukka bars in Delhi. Ranjit agreed to supply us 25-30 minor children including girls for our construction site and Hukka bars.

Reporter…. “Ek baat batao. Ismein bachchey kitne karwa dogey labour ke”?

Ranjit… “ Bachchey”?

Reporter… “Gents-ladies 100-150 labour mein kitne karwa dogey bachchey. 16 saal se kum”?

Ranjit…. “Jab bachchey jana shuru karengey na.. tabhi. Mota-mota 25-30 bachchey kara dengey”.

Reporter…. “25-30 bachchey aap karwa dogey”?

Ranjit…. “Haan”.

Reporter…. “Ladke-ladkiyan, dono, 16 saal se kum” ?

Ranjit….. “Ji”.

Reporter…. “Ismein Siliguri ke hongey bachchey ya Nepal ke hongey” ?

Ranjit…. “Siliguri ke hongey. Nepal ke bhi hongey”.

Reporter…. “Nepal ke hongey, theek hai karwa do. Ladke-ladkiyan dono 16 saal se kum” ?

Ranjit…. “Hmm”

Reporter…. “20 kah rahe ho na? 20 bachchey karwa do”.

Ranjit…. “Haan”.

[ Ranjit Topo agreed to supply minor children, including girls and boys for the labour work at our construction site and Hukka bars in Delhi ]

Ranjit Topo now explained as to how he makes daily wage workers as bonded labourers in the tea gardens by giving them loans.

Ranjit…. “Maan lijiye kisi labourer ko paisey ki zaroorat lagi. Wo arrange nahin kar paa rahe hai. Theek hai 2-3 mahiney baad arrange karengey. Usko bees hazaar rupay  de diya. 5 percent ke hisaab se chala le ghar ko mere paisey se.. uske 3 mahiney baad ya 4 mahiney baad wo shaadi wagahreh mein chalakar loan de de”.

Reporter…. “Tab tak wo apka”?

Ranjit…. “Byaaz [Interest ] dega”.

Reporter…. “ Tab tak wo apke khet main kaam karega. Tea garden main kaam karega. Ussey pehley wo jaa nahin sakta hain. Yehi hota hain na tareeka” ?

Ranjit…. “Haan”.

[ Ranjit explained as to how he gives loan to tea garden worker and make them bonded labour if they failed to repay his loan on time]

Ranjit Topo disclosed to Tehelka how he took more money from the builder and paid less to the labourers in Bangalore, where he supplied workers for the construction site in 2012-13.

Reporter… “Bangalore main kitna liya tha aapne” ?

Ranjit…. “Sir waha to commission tha. Wo logon ka jitna payment hota tha na sir. 400 ka arrange kiye they wahan. 500 ka arrange kiye they wahan. Maan lijiye 300 ka hum dete they, 200 ka hum lete they.”

Reporter…. “Jaisey unko 500 milta hai”.

Ranjit…. “Hum yahan se bolkar gaye they ki wahan dihaadi [daily wages ] 300 rupay hai. Lekin hum wahan se 500 uthatey they.”

Reporter…. “Achcha aap labourer ko bolkar lekar gaye they ki apko 500 rupay milengey. Milta tha 300 rupay”.

Ranjit… “ Nahin bolkar nahin nahin gaye they hum. Yahan bol diye ki wahan apko 300 rupay dilayengey. Us samay dihaadi [ daily wages] bhi kum dete they. 200 rupay tha.”

Reporter…. “Lekin wo apko 500 rupay deta tha na” ?

Ranjit…. “Ji”.

Reporter…. “300 aap labour ko dete they na. 200 rupay apne paas rakhte they” ?

Ranjit…. “Haan”.

[Ranjit explained his commission game to Tehelka. He charged Rs 500 from the builder as daily wages, but gave Rs 300 to the labourer he supplied in Bangalore in 2012-13. And kept the remaining Rs 200 with himself ]

Ranjit agreed to supply to us labourers from Nepal. In the 50-50 ratio. Half from Nepal and half from  Siliguri.

Reporter…. “Wahan, [Nepal ] ki kitni labour dilwa dogey” ?

Ranjit…. “ Nepal ka maan lijiye zyada to idhar ka hi hoga. 50-50 kar lijiye”.

Reporter…. “50-50 . Siliguri ke 50 labour hoga. 50 Nepal  ki labour hogi, chaliye theek hai”.

Ranjit… “Hmm”.

[Ranjit told us that he will provide labourers both from Siliguri and Nepal to us in the 50-50 ratio].

Ranjit now told us that he will charge Rs 2000 per head from us for supplying labour.

Ranjit…. “Jaisey aaj maan lijiye 10 admi bhej diye. Commission paa gaye”.

Reporter…. “Matlab aap keh rahe ho, 10 ko bhej diya. 10 ka commission aap le logey kitna hoga” ?

Ranjit… “Jaisey pakad lijiye ek aadmi ka 2000 rupay”.

Reporter…. “Ek admi ka 2000 rupay, commission apka labour ka” ?

Ranjit…. “Haan”.

[ Ranjit demanded Rs 2000 per head for supplying labour to us]

We now met third trafficker, Gopal in Siliguri, West Bengal. Gopal also runs a taxi. Posing as a customer, we demanded Gopal to supply minor children in the age group of 12, 13, 14, 15 for our Hukka bars in Delhi-NCR. Gopal agreed to fulfill our demand.

Reporter… “Kaam apne sun hi liya humara. Ek to hukka bar hai Delhi-NCR main. Hukka hota hai na, hukka jaantey hogey. Tambaku wagahreh bharni hai bachchon ne. Guest  ko supply karna hai”.

Gopal…. “Alag-alag type ka ladka log chahiye”? Pahaadi Nepal ka milega”

Reporter…. “Nepali mil jayega na”?

Gopal… “Haan-haan bar mein kaam karne ke liye mil jayega”.

Reporter…. “Bar-var mein kaam karne ke liye”?

Gopal…. “Bar”?

Reporter…. “Matlab hukka bar mein kaam karne ke liye bachchey mil jayengey” ?

Gopal…. “Mil jayengey”.

[Gopal said that he will arrange minor children for us to work in our hukka bars in Delhi-NCR, who will serve tobacco-filled hukkas to the customers]

Gopal said he can supply us 50-60 children to us for the labour work.

Reporter… “Total aap kitne bachchey supply kar sakte ho aap” ?

Gopal… “50-60 pakad lijiye”.

Reporter…. “50-60 pakka guarantee de rahe ho aap”?

Gopal… “Haan”.

Reporter… “Ek bachchey ka wo hi 500 rupay din ka”.

[Gopal told us that he can supply 50 to 60 minor children to us for the work. He said he would charge Rs 500 per head per day]

Gopal revealed that he will give us minor children only in the age group of 12, 13, 14 and 15.

Reporter… “Lekin humein wahi chahiye chotey bachchey” ?

Gopal… “ Haan”.

Reporter…. “12, 13, 14, 15 saal ke” ?

Gopal …. “ Mil jayega”.

Reporter…. “Hain” ?

Gopal…. “Mil jayega”.

Reporter…. “Pakka, final samjhey phir hum” ?

Gopal…. “ Haan”.

[Gopal confirmed us that he will supply minor children in the age of 12,13,14 and 15 years for our hukka bars.]

The above three characters Tehelka exposed indicate that human trafficking in India is a significant problem. People are brazenly and illegally trafficked throughout India for the purpose of commercial and sexual exploitation and are trapped into forced/bonded labour. Men, women and children are trafficked in India for diverse reasons. Women and girls are trafficked within the country for the purposes of commercial or sexual exploitation and are sometimes made to enter into forced marriage. Men and boys are trafficked for the purpose of labour. A significant portion of children are subjected to forced labour as factory workers, domestic servants, beggars, and agriculture workers, and have even been used as armed combatants by some terrorist and insurgent groups.

Nepali children are also trafficked to India for forced labour in various sectors. Indian women are trafficked to the Middle East for commercial and sexual exploitation. Indian residents who migrate willingly every year to the Middle East and Europe to work as domestic servants and for low-skilled jobs sometimes get sucked into trafficking business. In such cases, workers may have been recruited by way of fraudulent  means that lead them directly into situation of forced labour, including debt bondage.

In today’s time, trafficking is happening online because of the advancement in technology both in the usage and in education. In earlier times it used to happen through humans for money or may be out of fear. Along with that the people consented to be a bonded labour or slaves under the higher heads. In our present generation, it happens without the consent of the people who are considered to be victims.