Sunday, October 23, 2005

Not for the squeamish.

Rediff India Abroad
October 16, 2005

Although the October 8 earthquake is a great human tragedy, for the human traffickers it is a perfect 'business opportunity'. The mafia has become active creatively. Human smugglers are collecting information about children and women who have lost their parents and spouses. They visit various relief camps, pretend to be the close relatives of such victims and claim their custody.

I was witness to one such scene. "I don't know them. They are not my relatives. Please don't send me with them." This was Ayesha Bibi, a 16-year old girl at the Rawalpindi General Hospital. Two men -- Shafiq and Karim -- wanted to take her with them. According to them, Ayesha was their niece.

'She is mentally retarded. She would often not recognise her real mother who has died in the rubble in Muzaffarabad. We are her uncles and have come to help her,' claimed Karim. The hospital, faced with a desperate bed shortage, discharged her to the man without verification. .....


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