Sonitpur tops human trafficking table

Sonitpur district in central Assam has recorded the highest number of human trafficking cases in the state.

By Pankaj Sarma in Guwahati
  • Published 1.04.17
Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal holds a meeting on trafficking in Guwahati.
Picture by UB Photos

Guwahati, March 31: Sonitpur district in central Assam has recorded the highest number of human trafficking cases in the state.

According to data presented by the Centre in Rajya Sabha, the highest number of human trafficking cases under Sections 370 and 370A of the IPC were registered in Sonitpur followed by Udalguri and Karbi Anglong districts in 2015.

Union minister of state for home Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, replying to a question by Assam Rajya Sabha MP Santiuse Kujur, told the Upper House on Wednesday that according to district-wise data of human trafficking cases registered in the state compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau, 20 cases were registered in Sonitpur, 19 in Udalguri, 17 in Karbi Anglong, 13 in Morigaon, 11 in Goalpara and nine in Barpeta in 2015.

With regard to cases registered under Section 366-A of the IPC (procurement of minor girls), Guwahati topped the list in 2015 with 337 such cases followed by Barpeta with 213, Dhubri with 190 and Darrang with 127.

Section 366-A of the IPC makes procurement of a minor girl a punishable offence with imprisonment extending up to 10 years and liable to be fined. It states that whoever, by any means whatsoever, induces any minor girl under the age of 18 years to go from any place or to do any act with the intention that the girl may be forced or seduced to illicit intercourse with another person or with the knowledge that it is likely that she will be forced into an illicit intercourse or seduced, will be liable to be punished.

Taking serious note of the problem, chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal last Monday ordered the formation of a high-level committee designating the home department as the nodal agency to collect relevant information related to human trafficking and to carry out anti-trafficking drives.

He also directed setting up of a special women police battalion to check crimes against women and children.

Rishi Kant, member of anti-trafficking NGO Shakti Vahini, welcomed the initiative taken by the chief minister to fight human trafficking and said civil society should come forward to supplement the government's efforts.

"We will extend all possible help to the state government in its fight against trafficking not only in the source areas but also in the destinations like Delhi and Haryana where the trafficking victims of the state end up," he said.

On Sonitpur and Udalguri registering the highest number of trafficking cases, Kaberi Sarma, assistant general secretary of the NGO, Global Organisation for Life Development (Gold), said the figures do not mean that trafficking is not a problem in other districts.

"Registration of more cases suggests that the police and NGOs are working more actively in those areas in creating awareness leading to victims' families coming forward to lodge police complaints," she said. "Many cases of trafficking do not come to light because the police register them as missing persons complaints," she added.

Gold, under project Mukti and funded by ECPAT Luxembourg, a global network working for elimination of child prostitution and trafficking, is creating public awareness against human trafficking in vulnerable areas of the state.