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Meet raises concern over human trafficking
STAFF REPORTER
 GUWAHATI, Dec 6 – The need to overhaul the prosecution system and strengthen the anti-human trafficking units (AHTU) to tackle with the growing menace of illegal trade of human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation, bonded labour, slavery, etc., was highlighted by the stakeholders at the third edition of the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Conclave held here on Friday.

The event hosted by the US Consulate, Kolkata in association with the Impulse NGO Network saw participants voicing concern over the unsatisfactory political commitment to deal with the crime.

Advocate and anti-human trafficking expert Bhuwan Ribhu, while regretting the lack of government support towards rehabilitation of the victims, said the victims from the marginalized section of the society hardly get any assistance from the government. He called for changes in the legal system to ensure the protection of the victims and witnesses, and fast track trial of the cases.

Addressing the meet, Mukesh Sahay, ADGP, CID said that apart from strengthening the AHTU, it is also important to synergize partnership with all the stakeholders. Mentioning that the law enforcing agency alone cannot deal with the issue, Sahay said that all stakeholders must come together to prevent and suppress human trafficking, while helping the authorities to punish the culprits.

Sahay said though the Assam Police has 14 anti-human trafficking units to deal with the menace, shortage of manpower has affected their efficient functioning.

It needs to be mentioned here that of late, Assam has witnessed a spate in human trafficking with women and children from natural calamities and conflict affected districts being lured with the promise of job to places such as Delhi, Mumbai, Haryana, Rajasthan and Gujarat. The districts that have become vulnerable to human trafficking include Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Baksa, Nagaon and areas on the Bangladesh border.

It was pointed out by Mirandi Ingtipi, ASP, CID, Assam that most of the victims of Assam had been lured by the fake placement agencies.

The meet was attended by representatives of civil society organizations, government officials and media from the five participating countries – India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar. GP Thapa, Additional Inspector General of Police (retd), Nepal called for a professional approach to tackle human trafficking.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, who was also present at the meet, called for sustained and continued efforts to create awareness on the issue and prevent the same. He expressed concern over the increasing crimes against women and children, and said that his government was taking steps to stop such crimes. He also stressed the need for dealing with the issue through economic empowerment of the marginalized section.

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