The Fastest Growing Criminal Industry- HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Anti Human Trafficking cells are working hard to curb the inhuman practice of human trafficking in the state | By Renju R

Please read carefully: “This msg is for every girl who goes to college or office alone. If u find any child crying on road showing his/her address n asking u to take him/her to that address, take that child to police station n plz don’t take it to that address. IT IS A NEW WAY OF GANGS TO STEAL, RAPE AND KIDNAP GIRLS. Plz circulate to all. Don’t feel shy to copy this as ur status. Our one msg may save a girl.” This is an important notification shared on Facebook by the Anti-Human Trafficking Initiative in Kerala. This statement is proof enough to understand the depths to which human trafficking has sunk  in India and a pointer to how deep its roots have spread. As this vile  racket thrives, these inhuman traders are coming up with new and innovative ways to carry out human trafficking, the illegal trade of human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation, forced labour,  reproductive slavery – a modern-day form of slavery or similar practices and the removal of organs.

Human trafficking is a crime against humanity. Thousands of men, women and children (anyone under 18 years of age) are falling into the hands of these traffickers every year. This is a lucrative industry growing fast in the world and ranking second in the  criminal industry after drug trafficking.

Recently we heard of the major instance of trafficking 26 juveniles (18 females and 8 males) into Kerala from Karnataka by the Netravathi Express, to be engaged as laborers working for meager wages in several cashew peeling units at Kollam. The 2 agents were nabbed and the juvenile victims were rehabilitated.

People are taken across the border of Waynad to Kudagu(Coorg) in Karnataka to work in farms and Sri Lankan Tamils attempt to immigrate to foreign countries by illicit means through the Kerala Coast. These are just a few examples of human trafficking that have recently come to light  in Kerala. Santhosh, a caretaker of a Juvenile Home, says, “I joined here in 2001. Within 2 years, I have seen an alarming rise in child trafficking. The flow of labourers to Kerala from other states precipitated this. One notable factor is that the trafficking of children from Tamil Nadu has decreased because of the strengthening of the Juvenile Justice Act by that state. Recently we got 12 children from Chattisgarh. The agents bring the children here. All they expect is one square meal a day, but they are grossly exploited. So we have to take every step to protect these children.”

Waking up to the dire situation, the Kerala Police has already established Anti Human Trafficking cells at district levels to curb the instance of human trafficking in the state.  The State Nodal Office became fully functional on March 1 of this year in Trivandrum. To attend the calls of informants regarding children in need of care and protection, a control room functions round the clock. The state Nodal Office also monitors the functioning of AHT Cells in the Districts.

The state level co-ordination of Anti Human Trafficking is entrusted with S.Sreejith IPS, Dy.Inspector General of Police, Kannur Range who happens to be the State Nodal Officer of the AHT cell. DIG Sreejith says, “This illegal criminal industry comes third in money making in the world. In Kerala, trafficking of children is rampant and most  people are not even  aware that it is a crime. The life style of Kerala is quite high compared to other states in India. So poor families in other states send their children here in despair, hoping that they would at least be fed. By curbing such malpractices, we want states to be aware of their duties and make them responsible for taking care of their children.”

Now AHTUs (Anti Human Trafficking Units) are active in every nook and corner of the State. Since March 2011, the Anti-Human Trafficking units have coducted 556 rescue operations in the state till 30 September 2011 and 880 victims were rescued. Of the rescued victims, 844 were Indians, 34 were Sri Lankans and 2 were of Nepali origin.

For the effectiveness of the AHT cell, training and awareness programmes are being organised. The state Nodal Office Co-ordinator Harish Kumar C P says, “We are providing training on Anti-Child trafficking and Juvenile Justice Act for police officers and personnel attached to the AHTUs. We are co-ordinating with Transport, Narcotics, Excise, and Railway departments and plan to include more departments in our cells.”

Kerala’s Anti-Human Trafficking cells are working more alertly now. They also intervene in the issue of sexual atrocities against tribal women and timely action is taken by State Nodal Officers, with the support of District ATHUs  Such cases are widely reporting from the tribal settlements of Kerala in Kasargod, Wayanad and near Vithura in Trivandrum District. Till now 123 cases have been registered in this issue. Explaining the structure of the cell, DIG Sreejith said, “The ACPs/Dy.SPs, DCRB are the district level Nodal officers. They, with the support of the Department of Social Welfare, Child Line services, and Child Welfare Committees conduct rescue and rehabilitation of victims.”

Childhood is the fundamental right of every child in the world. But it is a matter of great irony that when a few live in a world of fantasy, enjoying a carefree, innocent life, so many children struggle for the next meal, being harassed and tortured in a number of ways. There are ways to free society from child labour and begging and there are rehabilitation centres all over the country to give these children a new lease of life. Childline responds to the toll free helpline number 1098 round the clock. The rescued children are mostly housed in the Child Welfare Committee’s homes until their parents turn up and take charge. However, in some cases where the children are left unclaimed, the government would take up charge.

If left unattended these child labourers and beggars could be abused or recruited for anti-social activities. So next time you come across a child labourer or beggar, all it would take you is the trouble of making a phone call. Please do NOT hesitate to listen to your conscience.

Call: 1098, 9497998990, 9633234123 or email: digahtc@keralapolice.gov.in

http://www.yentha.com/news/view/4/14158

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