Jharkhand is set to add more teeth to its anti-human trafficking initiatives, primarily aimed at preventing child trafficking from the villages here and rescuing children who fall prey to traffickers prowling the interiors of the tribal State. The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Jharkhand Police has written to the State Home Department seeking approval for setting up new Anti-Human Trafficking Units (AHTU) in four districts in Jharkhand, officials from CID said on Sunday.
“We already have AHTUs in eight districts. After assessing the situation in other districts, we proposed to set up AHTUs in four more districts – Sahibganj, Godda, Latehar and Pakur,” said Inspector General (Organized Crime), Ranjeet Prasad.
During the course of their work, police discovered that the four aforementioned districts have witnessed a surge in cases of human trafficking and were in need of dedicated units to combat the organised crime. Poverty stricken Jharkhand has been one of the worst-affected States in India in terms of human trafficking, say activists. Trafficking agents, who prowl the villages here, are in look out for vulnerable children who are lured to the metro cities through cartels of modern-day slavery agents and made to work as labourers and domestic helps. In many cases, the victims are forced into flesh trade and often end up contracting fatal diseases, activists say.
According to the latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report released in 2016, at least 155 people, including 90 minors, were trafficked from Jharkhand in 2015. However, activists beg to differ with the statistics and claim that the count of children trafficked from Jharkhand is much higher than what the NCRB states.
Representatives of Save the Children, an international NGO working for child rights which runs assistance programmes at the Village Level Child Protection Committees (VLCPC) here, said that the number of children trafficked from Jharkhand was much higher than what the NCRB claims. Mahadev Hansda, the State Programme Manager for the NGO said, “While we assisted rescue operations in Khunti, West Singhbhum and Ranchi districts, we realized that the number of Jharkhand’s children rescued from New Delhi was nearly 700 per year.”
Hansda said that the decision of setting up new AHTUs is a welcome move, but the State also needs a proper survey on trafficking of children in order to get details about the present state of affairs. “When we talk of curbing child trafficking, we also have to focus on the reason behind trafficking. Factors such as poverty, illiteracy, child labour, the school dropout rate and much more have to be considered in order to find a solution to child trafficking,” he added.