GUWAHATI, March 13 - Assam continues to remain a major source of trafficking of children with as many as 130 children reported to have fallen prey to the vicious nexus in the year 2016.
The figure, in the year 2015, stood at 129, statistics of the Ministry of Women and Child Development stated.
The figure assumes even more significance if compared with other states of the North East India, which has reported only 21 such cases of child trafficking in aggregate.
As far as trafficking of women in Assam is concerned, the number has witnessed a marginal slip in the year 2016.
While the number of women trafficked from Assam to various parts of the country for sexual exploitation in 2015 stood at 187, the figure dropped to 163 in the subsequent year.
Here too, the other north-eastern states including Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim, had reported only 30 cases in aggregate.
The nationwide figure shows that more than 19,000 women and children have been trafficked during 2016.
The Ministry of Women and Child Development, it needs mention, is implementing the Ujjawala scheme, which is a comprehensive scheme for rescue, rehabilitation and re-integration of victims of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation.
Sources informed that the number just acts as an indicator to the thriving racket of child and woman trafficking, although the number could even be more staggering.
“There are so many cases which go unreported, especially in areas where the level of awareness is very low. The magnitude of the problem could even be gauged if the number of missing children and women is taken into account,” sources said.
Rishi Kant of Shakti Vahini, an organisation working against human trafficking, opined that the trend is very alarming not just in Assam but also in states like Jharkhand and West Bengal.
“As far as Assam is concerned, the State government must work on a plan to address the issue which has pushed hundreds of innocent and poor women, especially children, to the jaws of death,” he added.