Go back to
Home » My Kolkata » News » Compensation reaches trafficking victim late by 904 days

Human trafficking

Compensation reaches trafficking victim late by 904 days

Survivor was 15 when she was rescued from private residence in Picnic Garden in February 2019, house was used for commercial sexual exploitation of minors

Debraj Mitra | Published 04.09.23, 06:02 AM
Representational image

Representational image

File picture

A Pocso (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) court ordered an interim compensation of Rs 1.75 lakh to a trafficking survivor on March 6, 2021. She finally received the money on August 28 this year, after a wait of 904 days.

The survivor was 15 when she was rescued from a private residence in Picnic Garden in February 2019. The house was used for commercial sexual exploitation of minors, police said.


She is now 19, in the first year of her BA course in a college on the northern fringes of Kolkata.

“I want to save the money for my higher education. I want to earn enough so that I don’t have to depend on anyone else for a life of dignity. I also have a little sister to take care of,” said the survivor.

She also does a part-time sales job at a store in a shopping mall in south Kolkata.

The survivor showed tremendous courage, her lawyer said.

Sent to a shelter home after the rescue, she was determined to continue her studies. She took her Class X exams from the shelter home.

“The survivor wants to do a professional course after completing her graduation. A course that will help her get a better job. She is also like a guardian for her younger sister,” said Joanna Shireen Sarkar, the lawyer representing the survivor.

The two live with their father and grandmother in Howrah.

The case turned heads even in police and legal circles because her mother was arrested for allegedly trafficking her. She was arrested with five others, including the owner of the “brothel” the girl was rescued from.

A trial is underway at a Pocso court in Alipore. All the other accused are out on bail, except the mother of the survivor.

This newspaper has in the past reported on the long wait that many survivors have had to endure before they received the compensation ordered by the courts.

Over 30 survivors, from North and South 24-Parganas districts, who have been awarded compensations in various orders since 2019 were forced to approach Calcutta High Court last year.

The apparent reason cited for the non-disbursal of payment was a lack of funds with the SLSA, the custodians of the corpus created by the government for disbursal of funds under the victim compensation scheme.

In the course of the hearing, the state government informed the court that a tranche of Rs 10 crore was provided to the judicial department for disbursal of compensation to victims of trafficking and other crimes.

In the present case, the lawyer representing the survivor said multiple letters to the district legal services authority and the state legal services authority, asking them to disburse the amount, did not yield any result.

“We have written three letters to the DLSA and two letters to the SLSA. But the appeal fell on deaf ears. On August 16, we wrote to the SLSA again, this time marking a copy to the National Legal Services Authority (NLSA). A representative of NLSA called me and within a week, the NLSA sent a directive to the SLSA, asking for disbursal of the money,” said Sarkar, the lawyer.

“The Pocso rules mandate that the state government shall pay the interim compensation amount ordered by the Special Court within 30 days. Such delays in disbursement of interim compensation amounts defeat the purpose and intent of awarding compensation to minor victims of sexual violence and trafficking who are often in need of urgent rehabilitation such as continuing with their education, seeking help for their trauma and so forth,” she added.

Debkumar Sukul, member-secretary of the SLSA, pointed to a “huge backlog” of cases.

“The fund crunch over the past couple of years has led to a huge backlog of cases. We have money now. The cases are being cleared according to the timeline,” Sukul told this newspaper.

Last updated on 04.09.23, 06:02 AM

More from My Kolkata