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State govt mulls migration register
Sanjoy Ray
 GUWAHATI, July 11 - The State government will soon start maintaining a migration register as a measure to check incidents of human trafficking, even as the district anti-trafficking units of Assam Police have been put on alert to keep a tab on large-scale flood-induced displacement.The introduction of the migration register would give the much-needed fillip to the anti-trafficking measures, especially during humanitarian crisis following floods and ethnic violence, when victims are mostly coerced by the well-oiled network of human traffickers.

The migration register, according to sources at the State Secretariat, would get the nod at the policy level soon, which would necessitate registration of people moving out of the State due to work or any other purposes.

The register once introduced would compliment effective implementation of other relevant laws, including the Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act, 1979, the Immoral Trafficking (Prohibition) Act along with the child labour laws.

“At present, we do not have any data on people migrating for other states. Once the register is maintained, it would be easier to keep a tab on the modus operandi of the traffickers who thrive during calamities like flood,” sources asserted.

Rishi Kant of Shakti Vahini, an NGO working on human trafficking issues, has welcomed the initiative and said that maintenance of a migration register is slowly fetching good results in Jharkhand, a hotbed for traffickers.

On the current scenario, Senior Superintendent of Police (CID) Indrani Baruah said that the district anti-trafficking units are already put on alert and the respective SPs of the flood-affected districts on the job to thwart any such attempts.

Meanwhile, police sources informed that there was also a need to regulate the functioning of placement agencies in the State, which have become a major link in the vicious human trafficking chain.

“Assam is a hotbed for them. Unfortunately, not enough is done to break the nexus. Police alone cannot do it. Departments like Labour and Social Welfare are very important cogs which need to rise to the occasion,” sources pointed out, adding that there is also a need to sensitize transport operators and the Railways in this regard.

“Lack of adequate fund at disposal for the investigating officers too is a hindrance in the rescue and rehabilitation initiatives,” sources added.

Police in the last six years has registered nearly 800 cases of human trafficking, arresting around 600 accused and rescuing over 600 victims.

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