Guwahati, Feb. 17: The Union ministry of home affairs has asked three northeastern states to improve their performance in combating human trafficking. Official sources said the ministry’s anti-trafficking cell had taken serious note of the Northeast becoming a major source of trafficking of women and children to other parts of the country. “Expressing concern over reports of human traffickers preying on the northeastern states, the ministry has asked police in Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland to put their act together,” a source said.
He said the home ministry had last month reviewed measures taken by different states to combat human trafficking, which has assumed the dimensions of an organised crime in the country. The home ministry is also considering a proposal to make Guwahati the nodal centre for coordinating anti-trafficking operations in the Northeast, he added. The ministry has decided to give cash rewards to police personnel for outstanding work in the field of anti-human trafficking and has invited nominations from all the states. “This is being done to encourage policemen to improve their performance in this field, which held low priority for them till not very long ago,” the source said.
“Because of their Mongoloid features, girls from the Northeast are sold at a higher price because they are presented as foreigners from Southeast Asia. Eventually these girls land up in brothels and circuses,” he said. A large number of girls trafficked from the Northeast are also forced to enter into wedlock in Haryana, particularly in Hissar district. He said Assam police, with the help of NGOs, had rescued many girls from Hissar who were forcibly married after being trafficked. “These forced marriages are happening because of the dismal gender ratio in Haryana,” the source said.
The home ministry has taken steps to strengthen law enforcement response against human trafficking as a joint initiative of the Centre and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Because of the inter-state and international dimensions of such crimes, the home ministry has also stressed on improving cooperation among the police forces of different states and with the CBI.
“This problem has an international dimension also because girls from Bangladesh and Nepal are trafficked to metropolitan cities and popular tourist destinations in the country like Goa through eastern India,” the source said. The ministry has also asked the state police forces to send regular details on missing children and women and gangs operating in their respective areas to the CBI, which has established a criminal intelligence cell to collect and share such data. The states were also asked to expeditiously set up anti-human trafficking units, to investigate the crime at all points — source, transit and destination — and to keep an eye on all suspectspotter, recruiter, buyer, seller, transporter, harbourer and financier.
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