Human Trafficking News

Compiled by Students & Artists Fighting to End Human Slavery

Monday, August 13, 2007

Five minors rescued from Maharashtra brothels, August 5, India

Strengthening law enforcement response to human trafficking:

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Five minors rescued from Maharashtra brothels

Express News Service

Kolkata, August 5: The Anti-Human Trafficking Unit (AHTU), which was inaugrated a month back, has rescued seven young girls from Mumbai and other suburbs of Maharashtra and brought them back to Kolkata.

A six-member team went to Maharashtra to rescue the girls, who were trafficked from South 24-Parganas and North 24-Parganas.

The girls were sold in various parts of Maharashtra for being used as commercial sex workers. The AHTU team visited Mumbai, Pune, Thane and Kalyan of Maharashtra and rescued the girls.

Of the seven, five are minors. Six of them are from South 24-Parganas and one is from Barasat in North 24- Parganas.

Officials said in most of the cases, the touts were either female traffickers or young men. After questioning the girls, AHTU officials have not ruled out the involvement of acquaintances or relatives.

Officials said that one of girl’s father had sold her to tout, who had taken her to Maharastra.

“After conducting a preliminary investigation, we believe that one of theminor’s father might have taken a sum of Rs 1 lakh from the tout,” said Sanjay Mukherjee, DIG, CID.

At present, the girls are staying in a city-based NGO. They will be handed to their parents. But if the parents are involved in the trafficking, the girls will not be returned to them, officials stated.

“Many cases have been reported from South 24-Parganas. We will send more teams to Maharashtra soon to rescue more girls from different parts of the state,” added Mukherjee.

According to police data, in four different operations conducted in the past three months, 20 traffickers were arrested and 14 child victims rescued.

Recently, the state government has decided to form a network to fight the menace of human trafficking. The social welfare department will act the nodal agency.

The health, backward classes welfare, self-help group and self-employment, panchayat and rural development departments will be a part of the network.

Police, CID, NGOs and the state women’s commission will play a key role in the initiative.

The primary objective of the network, the first of its kind in the country, is to spread awareness among the people both in the city and the rural areas so that they do not fall prey to this menace.

The network comes with the assurance of economic independence and proper rehabilitation of victims.

The state government has allotted Rs 1 crore for this purpose. The network was formed following a report on human trafficking prepared jointly by three Calcutta, North Bengal and Burdwan universities.


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