ALKA S PANDE
LUCKNOW:WHEN the UP police needs information on traffickers, it has a trusted ally in Sunita.Her story is a familiar one in Nepal. Lured by prospects of a job, she travelled to Jammu and Kashmir, then to Himachal Pradesh and Mumbai where she was sold to a brothel. Months later, she was rescued and returned to Nepal.
But then, she did not go back to the secure life she led in the Januka Bhatrai village in Morang district of Nepal. Bringing together several others who suffered the same ordeal, Sunita formed the Shakti Samuha which now works to rescue, counsel and rehabilitate women trafficked from Nepal.
The UN Office on Drug and Crime is now considering taking their help in its work in the UP-Nepal border area. “We are looking forward to chalk out a strategy to combat trafficking at UP-Nepal border with the help of Samuha members,” Ajit Joy, project coordinator for Victim Support and Human Trafficking in UN office on Drug and Crime said.
Started 10 years back with 15 girls rescued from trafficking, today Sunita has an all-girl brigade of 30 members – all in their 20s. Besides the field officer and an accountant, all members have been through the flesh trade racket in the region. “We hold regular meetings with the Uttar Pradesh police and share with them the vital information our members have since they themselves have been victims and are aware of the modus operandi of the traffickers,” said Sunita.
Government records say that the 845 km border that UP shares with Nepal, there are at least 104 “cavities” that are used for trafficking. “In the past three years, more than 1,000 girls have been rescued from this porous border and about 100 men have been arrested for trafficking,” says Jata Shanker of Manav Sewa Sansthan which has been working against trafficking over the past 10 years.