Children'shome become centre for child abuse
Could India be the epicentre of human trafficking?
From Anil Nair from Mumbai
The on-going Duncan Grant-Allan Waters case of sexually abusing street children in Mumbai in their children'shome Anchorage Shelter has not only outraged people who always believed that asylums are built with the aim of providing succour, but with each passing day'stestimony the revelations become grisly. Recently, the second of the five complainants who had testified in the Sessions Court here, Anil More (18, name changed) talked about his experience.
Grant (62) surrendered to the Colaba police in June this year. A charge-sheet has been filed against him and the trial is going on in the Sewri Court. Grant had opened the shelter for homeless kids in 1995. He was often seen riding a bicycle in the vicinity of the Gateway of India and urging poor street-children to join his home for food and shelter, according to the children at his home. And young children would invariably end up at his home because they are starving and have no home of their own.
The alleged abuses which have come up in the court are all events that took place in 1995-96. Allan Waters used to visit this home on his visits from the UK. The case of child abuse was filed in November 2001. The instances of sexual abuse, mostly unprintable, happened repeatedly, daily and without respite. The children were held with their heads between their thighs and beaten if they complained against the abuse to the supervisor, one William D?Souza. It was a case of nowhere to go for the children.
How many such homes might be thriving in the cities and towns, how many foreign customers might be patronising these homes, how many might be involved in flesh trade, all are frightening questions.
Earlier, the kid more had given the police a statement that Grant ??was a good man??. Now, he revealed that he was bribed by D?Souza to give Grant the testimonial. Interestingly, Grant had a relation in the court on Tuesday who insisted that the whole case was build on ??fiction, evil fiction??. Grant'sarrest was itself dramatic. According to officials, 62-year-old Grant, a former British Royal Navy reservist, was imprisoned in Tanzania where he was running three children'shomes, just like the one in Mumbai, with about 400 street children.
He was arrested under an international red corner warrant, following a request by the Indian police who have been looking for him for more than three years to face charges of sexually abusing children. However, the Tanzanian government turned off the request from the Indian Government to extradite Grant. He was allowed to leave Tanzania soon after his release on bail, according to his advocate Majeed Memon.
Memon added that Grant left for Dubai from Tanzania and then to London. On June 15, according to media reports, a meeting was arranged between Memon and Grant'ssolicitor Sabine C Zanker of Fair Trails Abroad, a legal aid help based in London. Also present at that meeting was Allen Waters? wife Gwen Waters. Accordingly, a decision was taken that Grant would surrender before the Mumbai police.
The Duncan Grant-Allan Waters case in Mumbai has not only brought out the seamier side of the city but also exposed the vulnerability of poor children in India. The ease with which a children'shome can be set up and children abused in return for food and shelter that too in a city like Mumbai tells us how easy it could be in the interiors of the country. How many such homes might be thriving in the cities and towns, how many foreign customers might be patronising these homes, how many might be involved in flesh trade, all are frightening questions. The statements of some of the boys in Anchorage Shelter after the arrest of Grant that their condition was better when the home was offering food to them succinctly tell us how attractive these asylums can be in a poverty-ridden country.