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Saturday , October 6 , 2012
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Trafficking home truths

Sunitha Krishnan. Picture by Anindya Shankar Ray

Here’s a top slot Bengal could have done without: Sunitha Krishnan, the anti-trafficking activist from Hyderabad, said she would rank the state “number one” in the country in women and child trafficking.

Krishnan was in the city to deliver a talk at a Ficci Flo event on Friday. “I am saddened that the Bengal government has not yet recognised this crime,” she told Metro.

“Bengal is a very big supplier for inter-state trafficking,” Krishnan, the founder of anti-trafficking organisation Prajwala, said. “Seven out of 10 girls we rescue from Karnataka or Andhra Pradesh are from Bengal.” Prajwala has rescued 7,200 girls from prostitution in the last 24 years.

“It is very distressing to see the government of Bengal not acknowledging this as a problem. Therefore, it cannot respond to it the way it should,” Krishnan said.

She stressed on the need for comprehensive policies — including budgetary ones — to deal with trafficking. “Andhra Pradesh is the second largest supplier of women and children after Bengal but we have a comprehensive policy, specially meant for rescued girls. NGOs provide shelter but the government provides Rs 10,000, a house and a ration card in her name. This support system logically helps them come out of exploitation.”

In “allowing red-light areas like Sonagachhi and Bowbazar to thrive”, Krishnan sees a “failure of the system, of civil society”, but she isn’t ready to give up just yet. “We expect a lot from a woman chief minister. I just hope Mamatadi finds the time to understand and figure a way out of this problem.”