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Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Human Trafficking on the Rise in West Bengal, Thousands Go Missing Every Year

By SiliconIndia  |   Tuesday, 16 July 2013, 13:00 IST 

 Bangalore: In one of the most populous states of India, West Bengal, women and children continues to be the most targeted ones by traffickers. The most recent report by United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) entitled 'Anti Human Trafficking, 2013' disclosed that in West Bengal more than 19,000 women and children were reported to be missing out of which only 6000 could be traced. The state is considered as one of the most vulnerable place for trafficking as it serves not only as a central location for intra and interstate trafficking but to international trafficking also, reports Krishnendu Bandyopadhyay and Rohit Khanna for TOI.

The problem of missing children and women are increasing tremendously, reveals the files and reports by government and other various organizations of the state. Many families of such victims are still hoping that their near and dear ones would come back fine, though the whereabouts and the conditions of the victims still remain unknown.

The rise in trafficking case is mainly due to the outstanding accessibility of railways, roadways, airways and waterways that offer easy transit points and also the international borders shared by the state.

The family of a sixteen year old girl from Madhyamgram spent many sleepless nights as their girl failed to get in touch with the family for more than six months after a neighbour took her along with him promising her of getting a teaching job at doctor’s residence in Burdwan. Instead she was forced to land up in prostitution trade. It was fortunate that the girl was saved by her brother with a team of police after she contacted him.

Over the last decade, there is a massive increase in the number of missing reports of minor children as well as women, as mentioned in the statement jointly given by the CID of West Bengal Police and the Union home ministry. The total number of missing children in West Bengal was 368 in 2001 whereas in 2010 the figure touched 8,599 and in 2001 the number of missing women was 196 whereas in 2010 it was 6,514.

The state has also emerged as a hub for agents and traffickers for transferring women and children to Middle East countries for various purposes of slavery and prostitution in the name of domestic workers or stage performers. This is because West Bengal shares an international border of 2216.7 kms with Bangladesh, 92 kms with Nepal and 175 kms with Bhutan. Senior IPS officer closely associated with an anti-trafficking drive in the state said, "The prevalence is highest in three districts in Bengal, including Murshidabad, North and South 24-Parganas. It mostly poverty-driven and can only be stopped with a large-scale livelihood programmes," reported TOI.

"Natural disasters leading to poverty and a general condition of hunger are two major reasons. Lack of awareness and declining value system are other factors," said Manabendra Mandal, director of Socio-Legal Aid Research and Training Center. "The figures quoted by UNODC seem lower than the actual as they are based on police records. But in several cases these are not reported," Mandal said.

The report also revealed that Delhi, Mumbai and Pune followed by Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab are the regions where children and women mostly from West Bengal are trafficked. Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Haridwar are the budding cities for such human trades. North East, North Bengal, Kerala and Maharashtra are some of the places in India where there are huge numbers of active illegal recruitment agencies.

Despite the fact that the Government of West Bengal have taken several initiatives to fight against human trafficking by introducing several awareness programmes, this state still serves as an unsafe place for women and children as they are often the targeted ones for flesh trades.


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