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Alert on trafficking from West Bengal

Most victims to Goa trafficked from Eastern state, Maharashtra: Study

By Vivek Chhetri in Darjeeling

  • Published 28.10.19, 12:31 AM
  • Updated 28.10.19, 12:31 AM
The vulnerable districts in Bengal are North and South 24-Parganas, Calcutta, Nadia and Murshidabad among others, the study says
The vulnerable districts in Bengal are North and South 24-Parganas, Calcutta, Nadia and Murshidabad among others, the study says (Shutterstock)

Maharashtra and Bengal have replaced Andhra Pradesh to emerge as the top sources of trafficking to Goa, according to a study based on victims rescued from the coastal state in the past five years.

The vulnerable districts in Bengal are North and South 24-Parganas, Calcutta, Nadia and Murshidabad among others, the study says. It lists financial constraints, early marriage and lack of employability as some of the key factors behind trafficking.The report also suggests there has been a reduction in women trafficked from Nepal to Goa, while Bangladesh has become the major “source” country.

The five-year statistical analysis compiled by the Anyay Rahit Zindagi (ARZ) — a Goa-based NGO appointed a nodal organisation in Goa police’s anti-trafficking unit — indicates that 353 victims were rescued between 2014 and 2019.

“Based on the findings obtained from rescued victims, it seems Maharashtra and Bengal have replaced Andhra Pradesh as top source states. Nepal, too, has been replaced by Bangladesh,” Arun Pandey, director of ARZ, told The Telegraph over phone from Goa.The social worker said pro-active measures by the Andhra Pradesh government had helped checked trafficking from the state. “The police and administration are very vigilant in Andhra Pradesh. Their police do not hesitate to travel to other states to conduct rescue operations,” said Pandey.

Despite the Indo-Nepal border being porous, Pandey said constant vigil by NGOs and police from both the countries had deterred traffickers. “Bangladesh and India have not been able to put in place such a mechanism,” said Pandey.On Bengal, the study says many girls were found to have been first trafficked to Maharashtra. “There was a sizeable population of the rescued girls who had migrated to Mumbai as domestic helps when they were minors,” the report states.

“Around 65.2 per cent of the rescued girls said the reason for getting involved in commercial sexual activity was financial crisis at home,” the report said. According to the study, marriage at an early stage also meant most of the women “did not have the qualification or skills to get a job”.Pandey said the majority of the victims rescued from Goa had an urban background. “This is probably because in Goa, one needs to have a basic understanding of English or Hindi.”

A large number of victims who were from cities in Bengal, such as Calcutta, were lured for commercial sexual activities while they were working at events in Calcutta,” the report states. “We have come across instances where traffickers are planting people in such trades to lure girls after befriending them. Those involved in events at hotels, melas and catering are the most vulnerable,” said Pandey.

Accessibility to the urban population through the digital world and relative isolation and anonymity in urban societies are factors that traffickers are exploiting, the study says. “A majority of them (the trafficked women) came to Goa after informing their family members that they were going to Goa for holiday with friends. Some made excuses about events, and/or dancing assignments to travel to Goa,” the report states.

Pandey said the report would soon be sent to the state governments and the district magistrates.

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