ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Criminalising the Trafficked

People-smuggling and trafficking in humans are generally viewed as two distinct offences. In general, smuggling involves delivering persons into the countries they wish to enter illegally and then leaving them to their own devices. Trafficking for sex and/or labour is defined as coercive in international discourses. In reality, the difference is largely semantic. Women smuggled into another country often fall prey to traffickers, and efforts to punish those who perpetrate the evil end up victimising the victims. Trafficking is not only an abuse of human rights, it is also a process that contributes to statelessness; a status that denies citizenship rights to the victims of trafficking and casts them in a permanent state of non-belonging, devoid of rights.

Unspoken Voices of Trafficked Women and Children in Manipur

An examination of the phenomenon of trafficking of women and children from Manipur to different parts of India and overseas delves into the reasons for trafficking and addresses the voices of the victims and the types of exploitation. A few crucial aspects that emerge from the study are the voluntary participation of the victims, who trust false promises, in the trafficking rackets; parents and relatives being loath to admit that their children and female relatives have been trafficked because of social stigma and shame; and, that trafficking is about the neglect of girls and women from marginalised tribes and from a region considered important only because of its strategic location.

'Who Would Like to Live in This Cage?'

The functioning of shelter homes under Ujjawala, a comprehensive scheme for prevention of trafficking and rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration of victims of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation, directs one to examine the issues surrounding "rescue" and assumptions about what happens to the rescued girls and women. The discourse on rescue and rehabilitation often portrays girls and women as "liberated" from commercial sexual exploitation. An interrogation of the politics of rescue using research was conducted in a shelter home under the Ujjawala scheme.

'Next Time I Will Go to Dubai'

Cross-border trafficking between India and Bangladesh is an organised economic activity driven by lack of livelihood options, limited natural resources, a number of social causes, and the regular flow of money it ensures for the victims' families. This study is based on interviews with Bangladeshi women "rescued" by the Indian police from brothels and awaiting repatriation. Many of the repatriated women returned to India within a short time; they were either re-trafficked or returned voluntarily, as their material circumstances and options had not changed. In order to address the vicious cycle of trafficking and re-trafficking, it is essential to give up a protectionist view of these women in favour of one that takes into account the choices they make, and focus on prevention.

Humanitarian Trafficking

Why would women "rescued" from the sex trade riot against their rescuers? Sex workers in Hyderabad often experience rescue as a form of humanitarian violence befitting the United Nation's definition of trafficking. Anti-trafficking laws in India reinforce kinship structures that precipitate the need to participate in sex work. Moreover, without restructuring the wider political economy of female labour, rehabilitation efforts fail to address sex workers' economic needs. Those rescued almost inevitably choose to return to sex work. Anti-trafficking programmes do violence to sex workers while failing to offer them adequate alternatives.

Migration, Bachelorhood and Discontent among the Patidars

Juxtaposing data collected in the 1950s with data from 2013, this paper describes some of the consequences of a crisis of agriculture in India as a crisis of values and aspirations. Among a relatively prosperous Patidar community in western India, agriculture continues to be economically remunerative while farmers are considered poor. Instead, the ability to secure a job away from land, to move out of the village and possibly overseas have come to constitute new markers of status in a traditionally competitive society. The paper departs from common representations of the caste as an upwardly mobile and successful group, and focuses instead on the discontent and on those who try to achieve the new values of the caste, but fail. As a consequence of failure it shows how Patidars recur to what, from an outsider's point of view, may seem paradoxical: in order to "move up" and participate in the culture and economy of the caste, they have to "move down." In this respect, the paper also contributes to understanding the unevenness of India's growth and the contrary trends that work both to strengthen and weaken caste identity.

Inequality in Rural Nagaland

Tribal villages are usually perceived to be the egalitarian counterparts to villages in India that are ruled by hierarchical caste structures. Taking the case of Ao Naga villages, clan rank and class are found to be important for understanding the changing structures of inequality. Today, these villages are deeply integrated into the larger milieus: politics, administration, education and the market economy. The social mechanisms responsible for inequality are now to a large degree centred outside the village, and living in a village has become almost identical with a lower social status. One result of this process is that instead of clan ranks, the access to outside resources forms the basis of social inequality within the village. Based on secondary sources as well as original fieldwork, an account of how this integration leads to class differentiations at the village level is presented.

Village Restudies

An account of the inception, management and initial conclusions of a research project which "restudied" three villages, one each in Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat is presented. These villages had been first studied in the 1950s by British anthropologists F G Bailey, Adrian C Mayer and David F Pocock. The new research was to focus on the sociological conditions of life in these villages today and compare the results of the new surveys with the data from the 1950s. The material presented here also points to some of the strengths, weaknesses and idiosyncratic charms of "restudies."

Non-farm Diversification, Inequality and Mobility in Palanpur

Data from seven decades of survey in Palanpur provide insights into the changing nature of the village economy. Starting as a predominantly agrarian economy, Palanpur has seen non-farm employment emerge as a major driver of growth and distribution of income in the village economy, but accompanied by increasing inequality. There is evidence of greater mobility among the disadvantaged in Palanpur alongside falling inter-generational mobility. Preliminary analysis suggests that the nature of non-farm activities has become increasingly casual and informal, thereby more accessible to households at the bottom of the distribution, but still significantly influenced by access to networks and family ties, particularly for the more remunerative and stable non-farm jobs.

Agrarian Transformation and the New Rurality in Western Uttar Pradesh

Based on a multisite ethnographic restudy of villages in western Uttar Pradesh, a decade after the first study in 2004-05, the rise of rural non-farm economy, changing demographics, growing educational opportunities, and increasing mobility across castes and communities are mapped. Also, an analysis of how these changes redefine the nature and culture of rural life in the region is attempted.

Revisiting the Rural in 21st Century India

The Review of Rural Affairs this time focuses largely on "restudies" of villages that were studied by social anthropologists and economists in the 1950s. The papers are not simply about documenting the unfolding evolutionary process of development, but bring new perspectives of social science understanding to the study of rural society, and also reflect on the enterprise of anthropology and fieldwork. Jamgod in Madhya Pradesh, Sundarana in Gujarat, Bisipara in Odisha, and Palanpur and Khanpur in Uttar Pradesh were restudied, while one paper presents the results of a fresh study of villages in Nagaland.

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