Assam emerges as hub of human trafficking

Manash Pratim Dutta

GUWAHATI, Feb 17 – From Assam, women are trafficked to places like Delhi, Haryana and Gujarat. In Delhi, the victims of trafficking are mostly used as sex workers and household helpers. In Haryana, they have been forced to do marriages and in Gujarat, the victims are engaged as labourers in various entities. This was stated by Nilakshi Sharma, manager of 181-Sakhi toll-free helpline centre of Assam.
“In Haryana, one victim was sold many times and used to give birth to male children only,” said Sarma, adding that in Assam, the highest number of child marriage cases has been reported from the minority-dominated areas of Nagaon, Morigaon, Dhubri and Goalpara districts.
“Interestingly, most of the informers of child marriage incidents are male. In many cases, the informer is the boyfriend of the minor bride,” said Sarma.
The 181-Sakhi toll-free helpline, launched in March last year, under the Ministry of Women and Child Development, aims to provide round-the-clock emergency services to women in distress.
The service is integrated with women police stations, State Commission for Women, family counselling centres, NGOs, legal service centres, shelter homes, medical and legal experts. The helpline assists women in terms of social welfare schemes, shelter, counselling, medical examination, FIR filing, legal aid, recording of audio and visual depositions and emergency response and rescue.
In this help-line, a total of 994 cases have been registered in the last year. In many cases, the victims were recovered successfully in collaboration with other departments and NGOs. According to Sarma, the Bachpan Bachao Andolan, an India-based movement campaigning for the rights of children, helped a lot in the rescue of victims.
Among various success stories, a 17-year-old girl from Boko in Kamrup district was rescued from a remote village of Haryana where she was sold to a household as a bride at the rate of Rs 80,000 by the trafficker.
“The trafficker, who assured her a lucrative job in Delhi, had first taken the girl from Guwahati to Delhi and then to the Didipur locality of Haryana where she was sold to the household. According to the victim, she was not allowed to go out and made captive inside the home by other persons of the family. She had a mobile phone but no contact numbers of Assam. But luckily one-day, due to a cross connection, she got in touch with a boy from Assam and explained to him about her situation. Later, the girl was rescued with the help of Bachpan Bachao Andolan,” said Sarma.
In another case, one 10-year-old girl from Chirang district was rescued from Naharlagun in Arunachal Pradesh.
Source: Assam Tribune

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