Assam Emerges As India’s Trafficking Hub

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by Juthika Baruah

Human trafficking has been a rising problem in India especially in Assam and Northeast from where most of the trafficking cases take place. Northeast India continues to be the destination of human traffickers.

Recently, the United States has retained India in Tier 2 list of countries in its annual report of human trafficking arguing that the country does not fully meet the minimum standards for its elimination even as it is making progress.

Tier 2 is meant for those countries whose government does not fully meet the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000’s minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.

The efforts includes convicting traffickers, initiating a high-profile investigation into one case that allegedly involved officials complicit in sex trafficking at a government-funded shelter and continuing to raise awareness of trafficking.

The main purpose of human trafficking is sexual exploitation and almost 80% of all worldwide trafficking is meant for the said reason with an estimated 1.2 million children being bought and sold into sexual slavery every year. It is very unfortunate the women and girls are the main victims of human trafficking in India and as a nation it is still being used by the traffickers as receiving, sending and transit country.

In Assam alone, as many as 1,185 people have trafficked from 2011 to June 2017 and 722 of them were rescued from different places of the country. And during that period of time, as many as 895 cases were registered during the period under human trafficking under Section 370 and 370 A of Indian Penal Code.

With the increasing number of cases of human trafficking in the Northeast, the Assam Rifles will also guard 1,624 km Indo-Myanmar borders and is also preparing a team to deal with the cases of human trafficking which mostly takes place through the borders in the Northeast.

To deal with the move, more than 80 Assam Rifles officials have been posted along the border in Manipur who were provided with training on trafficking and child abuse.

According to report, the most vulnerable borders through which trafficking are mostly taken place are Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh which share the borders with Myanmar. Vast stretch of these borders is still unfenced.

Assam and Northeast has been facing the brunt of human trafficking for a long time and now that the statistics has gone up the region has a long way to go to curb the menace.

According to data for 2015, released by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), Assam has emerged as the trafficking hub of the country.

With 1494 cases, the state accounts for 22% of the total reported cases of trafficking across India. Assam also has the highest number of child trafficking—1317 cases, which account for 38% of the national figure.

However, the recent data of Assam police for trafficking shows that the trafficking cases has risen from 25 in 2005 to 70 in 2018.

Although Assam Police has created Anti Human Trafficking Units (AHTU) in all the districts of Assam to combat crimes related to trafficking of persons specially women and children but still the cases of trafficking is increasing day by day.

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