Ranchi, April 6: Tribal girls will no longer be easy prey for traffickers.
The government will set up anti-human trafficking units in Khunti, Sahebganj, Gumla and Lohardaga — from where a majority of the victims are lured with money and promise of a better life in metropolitan cities — to check the exodus of tribal girls from Jharkhand.
The social welfare department and Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) will undertake the project, estimated at Rs 36 lakh.
Each unit will be equipped with a nodal officer, a mobile phone, a vehicle and a representative of a social organisation, who will identify and rescue victims of trafficking, alert local police stations and rehabilitate the victims.
Anurag Gupta, nodal officer of Anti-human Trafficking, Jharkhand, said the state unit had made a list of districts which had a high incidence of trafficking cases, and sent a proposal to the MHA seeking new units.
“The proposal was approved by the Union government on March 8. We will be setting up the units soon,” Gupta told The Telegraph.
Gupta said that in accordance with the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act (ITPA) 1956, a special police officer and two of his subordinates would be trained on rescue and rehabilitation of victims of trafficking. “We have planned a three-day training programme for the policemen,” he said.
Considering the sensitive nature of the problem, the police officers, who track cases of human trafficking, will refrain from interrogating the victims. Instead, they will grill middlemen involved in trafficking rackets.
The respective police stations handling such cases will also be encouraged to maintain a friendly atmosphere so that the victims do not feel discriminated.
The nodal officer added that they would also engage departments such as social welfare to look after preventive measures, rehabilitation of victims and prosecution of culprits.
“We have notified four police stations, one in each district, to keep track of trafficking,” Gupta maintained.
Social welfare secretary Rajiv Arun Ekka told The Telegraph that the anti-trafficking units would help generate awareness among people. “The units will also encourage people to report cases and look for support,” Ekka added. The social also welfare secretary hinted at involving social organisations in the project.
“We have a helpline numbers in the department for information on rescued victims, both in Ranchi and Delhi,” secretary said.
Ranchi-based NGO Action Against Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation of Children (ATSEC) has also been roped for the project.
ATSEC co-ordinator Sanjay Mishra said, “According to an MHA report, the highest number of trafficking cases are reported from Jharkhand. Not surprisingly, the ministry readily gave its nod to set up anti-trafficking units in the state.”
He pointed out there were 46 anti-trafficking units across the country. The MHA report estimates that nearly 10 lakh tribal girls of Jharkhand have been victims of trafficking since the state’s formation.
Traffickers are believed to lure poor villagers with money in exchange of their daughters. According to data collected by ATSEC, tribal girls from Jharkhand, Bengal and Chhattisgarh are trafficked regularly.
Besides, more than one lakh girls from Jharkhand work as domestic help in Delhi alone.