Guwahati, Sept. 13: In a startling revelation,
Assam police today said traffickers snare an estimated 500 women, including
minors, in the state every year and that the situation might actually “worsen”
in the next few years.
“The problem (in busting the racket) is lack of
information on the girls or the persons responsible for their plight,”
inspector-general of police (CID) G. Bhuyan said during a seminar on the
Bhuyan, who is also the nodal officer for the
anti-trafficking programme in Assam, said only a minuscule percentage of such
crimes were being reported to the police.
He said only 22 cases were registered with the police
department during the past five years, based on which 44 people were
“We despatch teams to different parts of country —
mainly New Delhi, Haryana, Mumbai and Siliguri — as and when we get information
about women being trafficked. We have to receive complaints to make arrests. It
is difficult to just go and arrest somebody without proper information,” Bhuyan
The IGP revealed that most of the victims were
residents of areas along major rivers. “Traffickers generally target girls from
poor families displaced by regular floods in these areas, take them outside the
state and force them into prostitution.”
He warned of a worse situation if people continued to
be reluctant about reporting such incidents to the police.
The seminar was organised by the Impulse NGO Network
of Meghalaya in association with the Global Organisation for Life Development
Director-general of police P.V. Sumant underscored the
need for better co-operation between law-enforcing agencies, NGOs and other
departments to effectively combat trafficking.
Ella Sangma, a trafficking victim rescued from Assam,
made an impassioned appeal to society not to look down upon girls like her.
A study by the Global Organisation for Life
Development found that 48 per cent of the prostitutes at Khalpara in Siliguri
were from Assam and three per cent from the other states of the Northeast. As
many as 70 per cent of these girls were found to be below 20 years of age.
Guwahati was identified as the main transit point for
trafficking of girls to brothels in Siliguri, Calcutta and New Delhi.
Ajit Joy, project coordinator in the victim-support
and human trafficking wing of the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime, said
these issues were low on the police’s priority list.
“This is especially true of police in
extremist-infested states. It (trafficking) is not a law-and-order problem for
them,” the project co-ordinator said.