Assam lags in victim relief

TRAFFICKING IN ASSAM

TRAFFICKING IN ASSAM

THE TELEGRAPH , GUWAHATI

Mizoram among 18 proactive states

Guwahati, May 30: Assam is lagging far behind in preparing a compensation scheme for victims of rape and human trafficking. While 18 states in the country have approved schemes for payment of compensation to victims of rape and human trafficking, Assam is yet to start the process of preparing the scheme.

Ravi Kant, a member of the Central Advisory Committee on Combating Trafficking, told this correspondent today that despite Assam being a source area for human trafficking, the state government was yet to formulate any scheme that could go a long way in rehabilitating the victims.

He said in the Northeast only Mizoram has prepared a compensation scheme while Meghalaya was in the process of notifying one. “But in Assam, the social welfare department, which is to prepare the scheme, is yet to initiate the process,” he added.

It is mandatory for all state governments to prepare the victim compensation scheme in consultation with the Centre and notify the same in accordance with Section 357(A) of the CrPC. Kant said the ministry of child and women development had written to all the states in November last year to prepare the scheme.

Altogether 18 states have approved such schemes so far, he added.

Kant said the absence of such a scheme in Assam was making it very difficult to rehabilitate rescued victims of human trafficking.

The central advisory committee, which was formed in 1994 with the secretary of the ministry of women and child development as its chairperson, was the result of a Supreme Court directive that a committee be formed at the Centre to look into human trafficking.

Kant said it was essential to have a compensation scheme for victims of rape and trafficking because they need to be restored to a position of dignity and self-confidence.

“It is this principle of restorative justice that must form the basis of efforts to address the trauma that victims goes through and it must entail compensation in the form of financial assistance and support services such as counselling, shelter, medical and legal aid,” he added.

He said besides mental anguish, rape victims also suffer financial agony as they become too traumatised to remain employed.

“In case of trafficking, since most of the victims are from impoverished families, sometimes their parents refuse to accept them after they are rescued from the clutches of traffickers. In such cases, government compensation can play a big role in their rehabilitation,” Kant said.

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