Interview: Dr. Veerendra Mishra
Posted: November 25, 2013 at 6:27 pm
Dr. Veerendra Mishra is an Indian expert on human trafficking and a law enforcement officer of more than 18 years’ experience. During his career, he has served in United Nations Missions and worked as an Assistant Inspector General of the State Police in the Central Region (Madhya Pradesh) of India. He was a Humphrey Fellow with the Institute of International Education of the U.S. Department of State and a scholar affiliated to TraCCC.
How did you connect with TraCCC?
What are you working on with TraCCC?
Dr. Priyanka Mishra is your wife? How did she first react when you started working with the Bedia community? How was it to work with your wife on this documentary?
It was always a challenge when I started working with the Bedia. Due to the stigma attached to this community, people (except for those exploiting them) tended to avoid them, and hence they suffered. My wife was apprehensive that someone with professional grudge against me might consider character assassination. But, her fear did not last long, as she herself got passionately involved with the work, and now it is a collaborative effort. It was a pleasant transformation, from her being my weakness to my strength.
The documentary was our common dream. I give her all the credit for making it possible. She spent months at the editing table, learning editing techniques and working tirelessly. It was a new experience in our married life, and working on a project together certainly gave new meaning to our partnership. We are very excited with the outcome and look forward to helping the community by spreading the message and garnering wide support.
Your wife is in law enforcement too? Are you strict parents?
What were your main tasks when you served as an Assistant Inspector General of the State Police in the Central Region? What is unique about this region?
What got you interested in human trafficking?
Could you talk about human trafficking in India?
Around two thirds of child labor trafficking is in the agricultural sector. This sector still remains large, as 70% of the country’s population lives in rural areas and around 60-70% of the total work-force is employed in the agricultural sector. It is very challenging to deal with cases involving child labor exploitation because the family is party to this exploitation. They fail to notice the exploitation due to the feudalistic character of society. The victims accept it as a norm.
Trafficking of children through International adoption is a recognized problem now. Another growing, but less well-researched, form of trafficking is the issue of “Surrogate Mothers”, “clinical drug trails”, and so on. This has grown into a big business.
How much effort is directed towards anti-human trafficking efforts in India?
India has a long history of domestic servitude. Is it a problem when combating human trafficking?
India took a progressive step by amending the Child Labor Act in 2006 by prohibiting children below 14 years from employment as a domestic servant.
Do you find it challenging to combat human trafficking in a society deeply rooted in the caste system?
What are you working on currently?
In general, what are your concerns in research of human trafficking and anti-human trafficking measures?
How do you feel about working with TraCCC?
TraCCC focuses a lot on terrorism and transnational crime, and there is lot of scope to work on the links between terrorism and human trafficking. Human trafficking is the second most income-generating organized crime in the world. Quite obviously, it holds a lot of potential to generate money to support terrorist activities. There is an established connection between terrorist groups and drugs/arms trafficking (the other two main types of organized crime). Less research has been done on links between terrorism and human trafficking, and TraCCC is the appropriate center to take up this issue.
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