TODAY -

Sense and sensibility: How the police in Manipur are adapting to the evolving challenges posed by trafficking

Ibemcha Ayekpam *



Ravi Singh was part of one of the teams that rescued 128 people just before they were about to be trafficked to Myanmar en route Moreh, a dusty border town in Manipur. Having been part of quite a few anti-trafficking operations before, Singh is well aware of the menace that has gripped this tiny north-eastern state and converted it into an easy transit point for cross-border flesh trade.

In a bid to understand how the police in Manipur have been battling trafficking and how much do they really understand it, CRY- Child Rights and You and Manipur Alliance for Child Rights spoke to around 110 men and women in uniformfrom 14 stations, spread across eight districts in the state. An analysis of their responses provides us insights into how the police now view the phenomenon of trafficking in comprehensive totality, a perspective that has helped them to crack down harder on the traffickers.

Numbers tell a tale

Data available from a trafficking study done by the Women and Child Development department, Government of India, says that from 2008 to 2013 (August), there were 39 cases reported, involving 486 children. From November 2013 to June 2016, five cases were reported, involving 80 children. Around 530 children have been rescued, repatriated and rehabilitated into the mainstream. , says a government report on child trafficking.

Rescue operations that have taken place over the last 3 years, since 2016, indicate that the police have raised the ante against trafficking. In February 2016, 29 children from Churchandpur, Ukhrul and Imphal were rescued from Meghalaya. Only two months later, 17 children from Thoubal district were intercepted by Sekmai police along the National Highway 102 (Imphal-Dimapur road), on their way to Tamil Nadu. In June, another 12 hailing from Churachandpur district, were rescued from Tamil Nadu.

In September 2017, eight girls, also from Churachandpur district, were rescued from the clutches of traffickers in Myanmar. Earlier this year, 128 people were rescued in raids across Moreh town and Imphal following a tip-off from Nepal about a group being trafficked across the border.In all, 310 cases of trafficking of trafficking have been reported in the first seven months of this year and there have been 179 rescues.

What can we infer?

The number of rescues steadily on the rise can perhaps be linked with the understanding of the police about the different nuances of trafficking, which has also come to the fore in the responses of the police to the questionnaire shared with them. The responses also provide us insights into the root causes of trafficking and why it has spurted in a state like Manipur over the years.

While 53 per cent of the respondents have said they understand trafficking and why it happens, an astonishingly high 45 per cent said that for them, trafficking is synonymous with cross-border smuggling. The parallel drawn here can probably be considered unique for a state like Manipur, which, by virtue of its geographical location (a state with international borders), has always been a hotbed of smuggling in items like contraband, arms and others.

The problem of rampant trafficking in strife-torn Manipur cannot but be seen as one in isolation. Most of the population is here below the poverty line; there is lack of infrastructure for education, economic equality and basic facilities of sustenance. Incidence of HIV-AIDS is very high and contraband smuggling, over the years, has affected the psycho-social well-being of the youth in a big way. The prolonged armed conflict in the state has left the population in a vulnerable condition.

This vulnerability of the populace – families, adolescents, victims of domestic violence, single-parent families et all – has left them as sitting ducks for traffickers to lure them to “greener” pastures, with consent, force, threat or otherwise. This is a phenomenon so stark and apparent that it resonates itself in the findings of the survey.

Asked what is trafficking, 42 per cent of the police have said that rampant trafficking is often a result of abuse of power in situations of extreme vulnerability. Around 38 per cent see the use of threat or coercion on socially and economically vulnerable communities, as the most important factor that sustains trafficking as a viable “trade”.

While poor socio-economic condition and protracted political armed conflicts have played a significant role in spurting trafficking in Manipur, the pattern has changed to a certain extent. As per government and media reports, the traditional “destinations” of trafficking have changed.

In the incidence of child trafficking in the state, from 2008 to 2016, children have been trafficked in the name of free education, free accommodation and job placement, mostly to other states in the country. Now, as details emerge about the recent anti-trafficking rescue operation in Moreh and Imphal in February, the state has been turned into a safe conduit for trafficking across the Myanmar border.

With a subtle shift in “destinations”, the profile of the trafficked victims, however, remains the same. Around 62 per cent of the police, by virtue of their experiences on the ground and knowledge of the socio-economic scenario, have said that adolescent girls, in the age-bracket of 14-17 years, remain the desired prey of traffickers, who send them to other states, and indeed, South East Asian countries, to work in spa centres and massage parlours and even as domestic helps. Majority of these girls end up in brothels and red-light areas.

“By virtue of its location on the border with Myanmar, Manipur has become an easy corridor to reach countries in South East Asia and Middle East countries, mostly for sexual exploitation,” says Dr. S. Ibomcha Singh, MPS Superintendent of police, Thoubal. Dr Singh played an active role in the recent drive to rescue the Nepalese victims at Moreh town. At the time, he was the SP of Tengnoubpal district.

According to the police, as reflected in their responses, lucrative job offers remain the top pretext for traffickers. A staggering 82 per cent of the police feel that recruiters still pick up their targets by offering them “lucrative jobs” in faraway lands, often in south-east Asia. Unemployment and bleak earning prospects at home makes it easy bait for unsuspecting victims.

Mr Yumnam Kheda Singh, a retired SI, who was the in charge of the anti-Human Trafficking Police Unit, Imphal West, mentions poverty as one of the root causes of trafficking. “Poverty is acrucial factor.The helpless parents are easily lured by the trafficking agents with the promise of free education, lucrative jobs and placement for their children and young people”.

Across the table

One factor that perhaps explains the heightened awareness among the police about trafficking is the sensitization and training workshops conducted by CRY, its alliance and partners with the police. Around 24 such sessions have been held over the past three years for around 1280 police personnel, educating them about the nuances of trafficking and also other child rights issues.

Discussions focused POCSO and the Juvenile Justice Act have not only broadened their understanding of the subjects, but also prompted them to master their knowledge of relevant acts in the Indian Penal Code, that can come handy in nabbing and prosecuting traffickers – a finding that has come to the fore in the responses of the police personnel we spoke to.

Awards for police officers on such a prestigious platform have also helped motivate the rank and force to step up their fight against trafficking. Mr N. Ingocha Singh, inspector, has played a major role in many rescue operations in Imphal city and Imphal airport.

“The border state needs relevant regulations specifically to combat human trafficking. Multi-ethnic population along the border areas and lack of well-equipped check posts along the highways and international border have made it easy for traffickers to continue their operations and slip out of the radar,” he says.

Summing it up

Trina Chakrabarti, Regional Director, CRY, feels trafficking needs to be viewed from a composite lens in order to be able to curb it and nip it in the bud. “Trafficking as a phenomenon cannot be viewed in isolation. There are different aspects to it and the police need to be aware of them thoroughly. Our awareness workshops with the police have been aimed at boosting this understanding,” she says.

The police brass in Manipur is aware of the task that lies ahead. Going ahead, an anti-trafficking unit in place in each and every district is definitely a good start. Inspector Singh mentioned that the police are trying hard to ensure that FIRs are filed immediately in suspected trafficking cases. It is also necessary to coordinate with other departments and establish a good rapport with the general public to ensure a complete crackdown on traffickers.


CRY - Child Rights and You is an Indian NGO that believes in every child’s right to a childhood – to live, learn, grow and play. For 4 decades, CRY and its 850 initiatives have worked with parents and communities to ensure Lasting Change in the lives of more than 2,000,000 underprivileged children, across 23 states in India. For more information please visit us at www.cry.org. For media enquiries contact: Nilanjana Sen Dasgupta, Media Advocacy, CRY, email id: nilanjana.dasgupta@crymail.org


* Ibemcha Ayekpam wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is State coordinator, MACR
This article was webcasted on 13th August , 2019.



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Getting the best out of Govt school
  • Babysana: Student - Aug 10 #2: Gallery
  • Jhulon @ Imphal #1 : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • A Soldier speaks over Timeline of Kashmir
  • Tamenglong not be used as a money field
  • Food intolerance - Diagnosis & tests
  • That Jungle of a Garden :: Poem
  • International Day of Indigenous People
  • Saving future Manipur- need of the hour
  • Chayom Thupki (Meetei Philosophy) #9
  • Independence Day : Gallery
  • Suicide: how it looks like & what is
  • Manipur's 1st photojournalist, Santosh Ph
  • Mutum Ramo : President's Police Medal
  • A Letter to my Mother
  • Candle Light at Delhi for Babysana
  • In search of the elusive unity
  • Naga solution anytime soon, says Ravi
  • Landscape Dzukou Valley #1 : Gallery
  • Indigeneity: Expression & Experience : Book
  • Cry of a Dying River - 89 :: Poem
  • Career in youth development
  • The Wind Will Carry Us : Film screening
  • Communication Course for Development
  • Impact of Christianity among Vaiphei #1
  • Dolaithabi Barrage: An emerging failed Dam
  • Chamba, Ayung, Paomilal :: eMing
  • New India in Konung Lampak
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • High Court & Workers on Sand Quarrying
  • Niranjoy attempt to break Guinness Record
  • Scripting Congress Mukt slogan
  • Bharat Mata has no place on August 13
  • Heikat-Leikat [13 Aug] #1 : Gallery
  • 13 August: Day to remember the heroes #1
  • Jallianwala: Manglen Onkhraba Lamjao
  • Lets us preserve indigenous languages
  • Hepatitis and pregnancy
  • On statement by Hoho & Naga Mother
  • Thangmeiband : Distasteful politics
  • Remembering patriots
  • UN Human Rights: Manipur Experience #5
  • Patriots' Day @ Pune : Gallery
  • Historical War fought by Manipur :: Articles
  • Police adapting to challenge by trafficking
  • Preventing TB is rooted in medical ethics
  • In the name of Love :: Poem
  • Expensive motor laws on the way
  • 13th August observed at Pune
  • Youth conclave with a difference
  • Alarming State of Students Life in Manipur
  • Babysana: Student - Aug 10 #1: Gallery
  • On Manipur Handlooms: A Clarion Call
  • Dzuko - A piece of heaven on earth #2
  • Of Colours and Sunset
  • A Beautiful Mind :: Poem
  • An apple a day keeps wrinkles at bay
  • From hostels to the school
  • Renaissance of Meitei Hinduism
  • Babysana: State bandh - Aug 9 #2: Gallery
  • Id-Ul-Azha - Id Festival :: Book
  • Would any journalist dare to stand up #2
  • Artic Haobam won 1st ArP championship
  • Invitation : RIST Talk - 40 @ MU
  • Condole demise of Phanjoubam Santosh
  • Making a New India & fate of Manipur
  • Babysana: State bandh - Aug 9 #1: Gallery
  • Some basics that many people ignored
  • House building of the Zeliangrong #2
  • Condolence : Photo Jounalist Ph Santosh
  • World Indigenous Peoples at Khumulwng
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Zo Forum celebrates Indigenous day
  • Lukanand Ksh wins at Mister North East
  • Post mortem reports fail to cut ice
  • Babysana: Student protest- Aug 8: Gallery
  • Counterpoints: Transgender Rights Bill #2
  • Manipur topped rankings in Breastfeeding
  • Cry of a Dying River - 88 :: Poem
  • World Indigenous Peoples Day
  • Criticizes scrapping of Article 370
  • Naga leader compromise Naga future
  • Free Children Heart Surgery Camp
  • Another bandh after 12 hours bandh over
  • Babysana death: What ails this society
  • Folklore of Hao communities #3
  • Programm @Sangai Fest #4 : Gallery
  • 'Tamenglong & Manipur' Amur Falcons #2
  • Haris Adhikari: Finest Whiskey in Writing
  • Manipur bag 6 medals at National Fencing
  • Agriculture and skill training
  • Resolutions on Naga Political Issue
  • Need for Imphal to reach out to hill CSO
  • ..should be justice for 1000s babysanas
  • Ibudhou Pakhangba Haraoba #2: Gallery
  • Mob Culture in Manipur
  • Dzuko - A piece of heaven on earth #1
  • Abrogation of Article 370
  • Issue of illegal mining of minor minerals
  • Annual Legal Awareness Program at Pune
  • Power, Works back to Biswajit
  • Redefining India
  • Gandhari (Dance Drama) #1 : Gallery
  • Would any journalist dare to stand up #1
  • The Truth Lie :: Poem
  • An opportunity to end AIDS & TB
  • Soft skills?? What are soft skills
  • Community - Road to healthy environment
  • Scrapping Articles 370, 35A
  • Matsyanyaya: Law of the Fish
  • Babysana: protest @Khuyathong : Gallery
  • Road from Haochong to Noney : Gallery
  • House building of the Zeliangrong #1
  • The World We Want
  • My Lil' Hamlet :: Poem
  • CM meet with CSO: Naga solution at hand?
  • Aliyah #2 (Film Scenes) :: eRang
  • Old Age Home Kumbi : Gallery
  • Counterpoints: Transgender Rights Bill #1
  • 'Tamenglong & Manipur' Amur Falcons #1
  • Vocationalisation of education in Manipur
  • Tourism Festivals & Tourists in Manipur
  • The World Turned Upside Down :: Poem
  • Think about the future
  • Nachom : used traditionally by Meitei
  • Kanglen Kang Chingba #2 : Gallery
  • Trend of private drug rehabilitation centre
  • Saffronites unhappy with power politics
  • IABP (Balloon Pump) saved life
  • Mega Mister & Miss North East
  • Anti-terror laws & victimization of innocent
  • The state today: blame the representative
  • Will remain true to Framework : IM
  • Laonii Fest @Phuba #1 : Gallery
  • No #endAIDS without #endTB
  • Cry of a Dying River - 87 :: Poem
  • Green your skills for green jobs
  • Ji Ingobi Chingtham: Bicycle tour
  • Will surrogacy law be really effective?
  • Vacancies at Hadron Techs, Imphal
  • 14 hours out of 24 hours
  • When people turn violent against HC order
  • Babysana's last rites performed: Gallery
  • August Calendar for Year 2019 :: Tools
  • Parade @ Manipur Police, Pangei: Gallery
  • War with Climate
  • Matric, UG & PG days of an aerobiologist
  • Invitation : Workshop on Mathematica
  • Job vacancies at Makok Technologies
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Arrested but not on murder charge
  • Threatened future and the way out
  • Downside of Khuga Multipurpose Project
  • Manipur State Drug Policy #2
  • Scope of career in legal field
  • Demising the Adolescent Miss :: Poem
  • Threats against Rights defender Sobita
  • Demands action against scribe-assailants
  • Back home after Delhi's suggestion
  • Babysana's death and its questions
  • Licypriya: Abdul Kalam Children Award 2019
  • Two positives attracting each other
  • Kakching World War-II Memorial Run
  • Assessment your Tax for ITR
  • Who is responsible ?
  • Rejoinder to branding me as Fortune Teller
  • From Dec 8, 2016 to July 29, 2019
  • Of faith and failed justice
  • Neli Chachea: Doll Maker : Gallery
  • Traditional Practices of the Kukis: Book
  • Zero HIV transmission is must to #endAIDS
  • North-East students of Aryans Group shine
  • Th Tababi: gold at Asian-Oceania Judo
  • Mary Kom: Gold at President Cup, Indonesia
  • Rio on contribution of Himalayan States
  • Stand off to Babysana's death
  • Ibudhou Thangjing Haraoba #4: Gallery
  • CMHT cards to journalists : Gallery
  • Understanding land for peace
  • Politics & farmers waiting for a downpour
  • An Endless Summer :: Poem
  • Tobacco harm reduction - A realistic option
  • NDPP reacts to statement of NPF President
  • The fools think we can be fooled easily
  • Twinkle Twinkle Scientists Star
  • Rohan Philem Reception @Pune : Gallery
  • Keisham Geenita : tops AIEEA-PG-2019
  • Are we putting efforts on grassroot football
  • Condemns insensitive attitude of police
  • Skin problems that arise during monsoon
  • Countdown to Year 10 of Weekender
  • Light at the end of peace process
  • Of human rights and open world
  • General strike on Babysana : Gallery
  • Manipur State Drug Policy #1
  • Kindness - A Virtue
  • L Sarita nominated at AIBA commission
  • We don't lack talents :: Hidam Rajeev
  • Cry of a Dying River - 86 :: Poem
  • Courses on Information Technology
  • Three decisions vis-a-vis Babysana's death
  • Corporal punishment - violation of RTE
  • Trekking to Dzukou Valley #2: Gallery
  • Haj pilgrims send-off : Gallery
  • Is Lack of rain a problem for Paddy ..
  • Mission 'School Phagat Hanshi'
  • Labour Codes threaten Press Freedom
  • Program for IHGF Delhi Fair at Kakching
  • Heart Camp at Health Centre, MU
  • Questions on safety of school hostels
  • Babysana's case, safety of our children
  • Nupi Pali @ Kang festival: Gallery
  • Some Chase Goal, Some Hunt Goal
  • Himalayas: Where India Meets China..
  • Preventing TB is critical to #endAIDS
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Career option in Anthropology
  • Deafening silence of Govt
  • BJP's image in serious trouble
  • Gandhari (Dance Drama) : A synopsis
  • Social service @Ibudhou Thangjing: Gallery
  • Sanamahi Cheng Hongba #2: Gallery
  • Weaving at Nongpok Sanjenbam : Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2019 #3: Gallery
  • Social service @ Moirang : Gallery
  • World Music Day @Yaiskul #3: Gallery
  • 3rd Singcha Wuyawon Festival 2019
  • seL tiHZakaNdta nuHZa_Iba :: Seireng
  • Cracks at Thong Nambonbi : Gallery
  • Yumnam Shamu : Natbhusan (Duhar)
  • The Great June Uprising #5: Gallery
  • Tolloi, Ukhrul :: 360 Panorama View
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2019 : Download
  • SPONSORED ADS