Govt plans care homes in border states for victims of trafficking
The homes will ensure that victims of trafficking from neighbouring countries, particularly minors, are provided food, shelter, clothing, counselling and primary health care facilities, among other requirements
New Delhi: The Centre has approved a scheme to help states and Union territories sharing international borders in setting up protection and rehabilitation homes for victims of trafficking, the women and child development (WCD) ministry announced on Monday.
The homes will ensure that victims of trafficking from neighbouring countries, particularly minors, are provided food, shelter, clothing, counselling and primary health care facilities, among other requirements, a statement released by the ministry said.
Noting that India is a “source as well as destination country” for human trafficking, the ministry said that women and minors are often trafficked to India from neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar on the pretext of getting a better life, job and good standard of living.
“A majority of those trafficked are minor girls or young women, who after their arrival in India are sold and forced into commercial sex work. These girls/women often reach major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad etc. from where they are taken to the Middle East and Southeast Asia... This is the reason why states bordering these countries need to be more vigilant and have adequate facilities to provide relief and rehabilitation services to the victims,” the ministry said.
Several states and UTs in the county share borders with neighbouring countries including Rajasthan, Punjab, Gujarat, Sikkim, West Bengal, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, and Assam.
Currently, the central government provides financial assistance to all states and Union territories under the Nirbhaya Fund to set up anti-human trafficking units in every district. The government also provides assistance for similar units to security forces guarding the borders such as Border Security Force and Sashastra Seema Bal.
According to NCRB data, as many as 6213 victims of human trafficking were rescued in 2021, and of them, 3912 were female. Maximum number of victims were rescued from Odisha ( 1290 ), followed by Maharashtra ( 890), Telangana ( 796), and Delhi ( 509).
A senior ministry official said that the supporting infrastructure for the victims of trafficking is not currently available in the states sharing borders with neighbouring countries. “The government has not decided to provide financial assistance to set up the required infrastructure . The ministry will soon ask the states to send proposals for the same,” said an official, who didn’t want to be identified.
Sanjay Gupta, director of Childhood Enhancement Through Training and Action (Chetna), an NGO working on child issues including trafficking, welcomed the initiative. “At a time when India is chairing the South Asia Initiative to End Violence Against Children, an apex body in SAARC, such an initiative is really welcoming. It will help in finding out solutions to our common problems including trafficking of minors. However, there should be proper SoPs for such homes and they should be run in a very child friendly way,” he said.
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