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Home >> Library of Articles - Topics >> Women >>Prostitution >> Assam

  Prostitution -  Assam
Source - " The Telegraph, September 14, 2005 "   " "  " "
Assam turns into hub of women, child trafficking

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 subject.

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 arrested.

“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 said.

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 and Sahayika.

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.