Strengthening Law Enforcement Responses to Combat Human Trafficking at Indo Nepal Border

SHAKTI VAHINI 12Uttar Pradesh Police in collaboration Shakti Vahini with organized a Zonal level Stakeholders’ sensitization programme in Gorakhapur, Uttar Pradesh on June 22, 2015. The programme was organized under the initiative of the Hon. Chief Minister of the State to address the problem of Human Trafficking and the possibility of cross border trafficking aftermath of the tragic Nepal Earthquake. Around 104 stakeholders participated during the day long programme.

Amitabh Yash, Inspector General, Gorakhpur Range, Rakesh Kumar Ojha, Commissioner, Gorakhpur, Ranjan Kumar, District Magistrate, Gorakhpur, Dr. Sanjeev Gupta, Deputy Inspector General, Gorakhpur Range, Pradeep Kumar Yadav, Senior Superintendent of Police, Gorakhpur, Ravi Kant, President, Shakti Vahini and Advocate, Supreme Court of India were among the eminent dignitaries present.

5Key issues discussed were related to how trafficking the extreme form of violation of human rights. Dr Sanjeev Gupta highlighted the fact that 35-40 children go missing every month from Gorakhpur and children are trafficked from other parts of the country to UP as domestic helps due to growing demand in families. Mr Rakesh Kumar Ojha, Commisioner, Gorakhpur pointed out that the root cause for trafficking of the vulnerable section is poverty. Importance was laid on NGO and Police Co-ordination to combat human trafficking. The role of CHILDLINE Gurgaon was also elaborated. CHILDLINE is an emergency helpline for children and is an important stakeholder with whom the police department could collaborate and help in rescue and rehabilitation of the victim. Mr Ravi Kant focused on the criteria of age determination and how it plays an important role in verification.  Some issues that were raised in the discussion were related to lack of shelter homes, problems in rehabilitation, lack of awareness and lack of co-ordination between various law enforcement agencies.

4Shri Amitabh Yash, Inspector General of Police (IG) Gorakhpur Range: Welcoming all the guests for the one day Sensitization programme he said that the main reason for the One Day Meeting meeting is to discuss about the key issues related to human trafficking and as UP shares most of the longest border to Nepal therefore a mechanism should be developed to combat the cross border trafficking which had been a big issue mainly after the Nepal Earthquake

Human Trafficking was present even before Independence but there was no law to address the issue. Post Independence the Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act, 1956 was introduced in the Indian Judiciary to deal with cases of trafficking of women and children for commercial sexual exploitation. However, it took a long time to address the issue of trafficking in persons for other purposes.

Trafficking in persons mostly of children and women is the extreme form of violation of human rights and therefore sensitization among police to understand the entire process of the organized crime is very necessary. Strengthening of the Police forces as well as the Sahastra Seema Bal is the main focus of the meeting through sensitizing them about the issue of Human trafficking and the existing laws and policies of the Government of India to combat it.

SHAKTI VAHINI 2It is very important that Law Enforcement Agencies are aware about the various State Supported NGOs working in the Various District. This will help in Inter Department and NGO Police Collaboration. He also stressed the inter department collaboration between Women and Child , Health , Police and other allied Agencies need to be strengthened if we need to have a united response.

SHAKTI VAHINI 7

Key Recommendations included:

  1. Police Department/AHTU, Child Welfare Committees, Juvenile Justice Boards, District Child Protection Officers, CHILDLINE, NGOs need to be brought together in a common platform by organizing meetings/training for effective partnership and convergence and also for effective coordination amongst the stakeholders.
  2. More information on the functioning of the Integrated Child Protection Scheme should be provided to the Police Department for better utilization of resources allotted under the scheme.
  3. There is a need to Identify NGOs who are doing credible work and also ensure that the AHTU has details of these NGOs.
  4. Government should come up with a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) with proper codification of roles and functions for all the stakeholders.
  5. More Training and Sensitization programmes for Police Department on Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection) Act, 2000 and Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 for its better implementation.
  6. Prepare a database of cross border repatriation and share the same with the border officials for the follow up of cases.
  7. Collaboration with medical department and authorities is necessary.
  8. Establishment of more shelter cum protective homes is needed.
  9. Apart from organizing sensitization programmes with the stakeholders to prevent cross-border trafficking of children and women from Nepal after the tragic earthquake, proper investigation of the source areas in Nepal is also important.
  10. All the police station should be provided with various advisories, Court orders issued by the Supreme Court of India and the Central government on various issues related to Missing Children and Crime against children and women.
  11. Regular Consultation with the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs which is the Nodal Agency responsible for the registration of Immigrant Agencies sting up offices or shops in India through Immigrants’ Bureau.
  12. MOU between UP and West Bengal is necessary for inter-state collaboration to combat trafficking of women and children and mostly in cases under Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, 1956.

Recommendations given were related to collaboration with the medical authorities, investigation of the source areas in Nepal should also be done apart from organising sensitization programs with stakeholders and a MoU between UP and West Bengal is necessary for inter-state collaboration to combat trafficking of women and children and mostly in cases under Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, 1956.

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