TODAY -

Child Trafficking : Many rescued yet dozens of minor traceless since 2010
- Part 2 -

James Khangenbam *

Human Trafficking :  Many rescued yet dozens of minor traceless since 2010
Child Trafficking :: An illustration by Bunti Phurailatpam



"One girl who stayed together with us was called by the 'pastor' to his room every night and bolted the room from inside and we, boys were asked to massage the pastor's son named Beni and one Gita. The girl called by the pastor regularly had left the home earlier", Bungo narrated.

Although the kids gave indications of sexual harassment, officials of Social Welfare Department maintained that no sign of sexual abuse could be observed during medical examination.

"They did many things irritating to the body", said Bem who is about 13 years old - newspapers quoted.

Unscrupulous elements are taking advantage of under-privileged families by exploiting their children with the pretext of good was the remark made by Phillips Naoroibam Secretary of All Manipur Working Journalists Association in a consultation programme on Child Trafficking in Manipur 2010. In the follow up incidents remarkably Bishenpur Police arrested two persons allegedly involved in the trafficking of child and the charge-sheet for trial in the court was also submitted by the investigating officer.

In the aftermath of the rescue operations in 2010 the central home ministry opened up two units of anti-human trafficking units under police department as part of police modernisation process under the initiative of central governments'. The two units are functioning under two district police departments.

On Jul 11, 2012 Nagaland Post reported 'two girls were rescued from being trafficked to Singapore at Imphal Airport. Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of Manipur (AHTUM) police have rescued the two minor girls, aged around 16 years. Police also nabbed the accused identified as A. John Maheo (52) son of Ashuli of Kaibi village of Senapati district presently residing at Imphal's Dewlahland area.

Police sources detailed that AHTUM led by sub-inspector Y Kheda detected and detained the two girls at Imphal Airport when they were about to board a flight. During an enquiry, the team came to know that the two girls were taken to Dewlahand, before taking to Imphal Airport for onward transportation to Singapore.

Sources confirmed that Maheo through a Singapore based agency, Charisha Employment Agency, lured the girls on the pretext of providing jobs in Singapore. The girls would have been forced into immoral activities, the sources added.

For the protection of child Juvenile Justice Boards are being set up across the nine districts of Manipur in the last 2 years. Enactment of the Juvenile Justice Act is made. The Child Welfare Committees and boards are effectively dealing with the rehabilitation of children who had fallen victims to trafficking. Training on Juvenile Justice Act and Acts related with child trafficking and prevention for police officers of different ranks in collaboration with the social welfare department were held rigorously which remains effective.

Human Trafficking :  Many rescued yet dozens of minor traceless since 2010
Child Trafficking :: An illustration by Bunti Phurailatpam

Over and above State level anti-trafficking squad were formed under Social Welfare Department to combat the trafficking menace. But it is not known to the public as who comprised the squad and where they are operating now and the outcomes so far.

However grass root level awareness like imparting basic knowledge on trafficking to ignorant citizens in the far flung areas was missing like 'the trafficked kids. The main area of prevention was void in the programmes. The awareness level is not up to the mark in this area. The tributaries of flowing knowledge on trafficking have not reached the high hills and the plain ends. Knowledge on hazards of trafficking to curb it from a vulnerable state like Manipur should be imparted at the nearest time. Else the count by the profiting criminals as to how many child births took place in the State will go on.

The void resulted to new trafficking toll as evident from the recent report of pending rescue bid by State Machineries as the destine State failed to handle couple of trafficked children who are below 12 years of age' that appeared in local dailies few days back. The report also says that they were trafficked last year. The situation arises even after Supreme Court passes its extraordinary order of banning NE children 12 years and below in pursuing studies in other States for education in 2010.

President of All Manipur Christian Organization Rev Prim Vaiphei had already expressed that some self-styled Church functionaries are involved in human trafficking cases. The role of AMCO in spreading message on trafficking and its venomous aftermath to the vulnerable parents and guardians of the State would be effective. There could be PPP model of fighting the trafficking menace. Else rescue bid would be the only means other than the effective preventive measures of stopping the concerns in sending off the minor students from their care.

Meetings, seminars and knowledge sharing among intellectuals, lawyers, Child Rights organisations, NGOs etc. were witnessed in the last few years. But the same medium of empowerment and skill impartment is seldom heard of at the village and local authority levels. For the light of the law to shine candles need to be lit up however challenging the corners are to visualise.

AIR and DDK are two effective media machinery of Government which can impart time to time knowledge through talk show and other awareness products like ads to nook and corner of the State besides other media houses who had been active in reports about trafficking and related news. Comprehensive knowledge about trafficking and its consequences remains a big tool in preventing parents and guardians from handing over their wards to wrong hands.

Coming to women trafficking, the State along with her north eastern neighbours is still vulnerable.

DSP of Goa Police, Mohan Naik says "Just a few days before the beauty parlour incident, some girls from Manipur were rescued and repatriated" - newspapers quoted. 11 girls were rescued from a beauty parlour in Goa in Oct. 2010. The girls alleged that the owner tried to force them into flesh trade. 6 girls held from Nagaland while the rest from Mizoram. The girls from Mizoram have been repatriated a team of Nagaland police proceed to Goa in connection with the case.

Meghalaya has already held a high level Governmental talks on the measures needed to check frauds and cheats, who lure girls under false promises of providing them respectable jobs and then force them into the prostitution ring.

A total of 179 girls who were trafficked into Goa for commercial sexual exploitation were rescued in the state over the last three years reports Nagaland Post via news agencies ( 27 June 2012)

Out of them 146 were Indian girls followed by Nepal (27), Bangladesh (4) and Russia (2). From Indian states, 39 girls came from Mumbai. Others were Manipur (31), Goa (16), Andhra Pradesh (14), West Bengal (9), Nagaland (8), Karnataka (7), Maharashtra and Assam (both 5 each), Mizoram (4), Times of India report stated.

The revelation came from Anyay Rahit Zindagi (ARZ) Goa. ARZ is a nodal NGO working to curb human trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation in Goa. Arun Pandey Director of ARZ said that no study has been done on the magnitude of trafficking despite Goa being a destination State for trafficked girls.

As a preventive measure an official team from Manipur including Satyabati, Director, Social Welfare Department, Ng, Nongyai former Human Rights member, and concerned officials stayed in Delhi during the Common Wealth Games in Delhi and paid visits to the work place of the girls from the State. They interacted with NGOs working for the welfare of the North Eastern girls, and students' organization of other states, civil society organizations, and government officials.

Another Kohima based social organization feels that the government should provide more job avenues such as the setting of Mahila IRB Battalion which has bought laurels to the State during their stint at the CW games. The organisation hinted that creating job avenues in the State will help in women falling victim to traffickers who lure them.

Rehabilitation of the trafficked adolescent girls who were forced into sex work remains tough as self-stigma is high. They are prone to suicidal tendencies says a psychologist. Often vulnerable to the epidemic HIV when they are forced into the odd profession. Psychosis a common psychological ailment remains a major haunt which need special treatment for total recovery was the comment from a Reknown Psychologist of Manipur when I interacted on the issue.



To be continued.....
(extracts of newspapers can be had from the writer)



* James Khangenbam is a frequent contributor to e-pao.net
The writer is Imphal Correspondent of Kakching based IMAGE TV and can be contacted at jameslaphoi(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on August 08, 2012



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