Wednesday, November 09, 2005

INDIA: Girls allegedly released from forced prostitution should receive rehabilitation

INDIA: Girls allegedly released from forced prostitution should receive rehabilitation


INDIA: Girls allegedly released from forced prostitution should receive rehabilitation

(Hong Kong, November 9, 2005) The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) called yesterday for the protection of underage girls and rehabilitation of those over 18 allegedly taken from forced prostitution in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.

"A medical board comprising expert doctors should be constituted to determine the correct age of the girls and those that are found to be adults should not be sent to jails but to government protection homes," the Hong Kong-based rights group said in an appeal.

"Civil-society organisations should be allowed to meet the rescued girls and, with their help, a long term rehabilitation plan should be drawn up comprising the basic requirements of diet, health, counseling, and educational and vocational facilities."

"The government should allocate adequate resources for their rehabilitation and repatriation into society."

After a large-scale civilian rescue operation co-ordinated by Guria, a local organisation, in the Varanasi red-light district on October 24, an estimated 31 girls were taken to the Government Hospital, and then to the Women's Police Station.

The Chairperson of the Child Welfare Committee, Ms Rollee Singh and another member, Mr. Rajiv Singh, went to the Maduhadih Police Station to speak to the 19 minor girls, but the Superintendent of Police in Varanasi did not allow it.

A fact-finding team of representatives from various organisations in Varanasi visited the girls in the state protection home, and later reported that police had taken two of the rescued girls.

AHRC sources say that police intend to charge the girls who are over 18. Section 8 of the Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act criminalizes solicitation for prostitution, and has been used in the past against girls and women who are victims of trafficking.

Another fact-finding team from the State Women's Commission, Uttar Pradesh also visited Varanasi on 26 October.

However, this team allegedly observed that there was no forced prostitution in Varanasi.

This reported denial has elicited a huge outcry and criticism from human rights groups and the media.

In its appeal, the AHRC urged the Superintendent of Police and the District Magistrate of Varanasi to ensure the safety of all the young girls that have been detained.

"The report allegedly made by the State Women's Commission also needs to be investigated by a separate body, since its remarks have cast doubts on the intention of the Commission," the AHRC said.

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About AHRC The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying for human rights in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

Posted on 2005-11-09
Back to [2005 AHRC Press Releases]

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