A steady increase in cases of human trafficking from across the Nepal border and Indian towns in the vicinity has prompted security agencies to undertake new measures to effectively check the menace. Official data provided by the SSB said figures in this regard are “scary”. It said while a total of 33 victims, both Indian and Nepalese, were apprehended by the Indo-Nepal border guarding force SSB against these areas in 2014, the figures went up to 336 in 2015, 501 in 2016 and till March this year, 180 boys and girls have been rescued by it.
Similarly, the number of traffickers apprehended from along the 1,751-km-long open and porous border on the country’s eastern flank have risen from 8 in 2014 to 102 in 2015, 148 nabbed last year and 51 traffickers caught till March this year. Prompted by the spurt and steady increase in these numbers, the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) has called for a day-long workshop between multiple stakeholders mandated to curb this crime which includes state police forces of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and others, railway police, NGOs and top police officials of cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru and from Punjab which are the destinations for these trafficked children.
“We want to involve each and every stakeholder who is instrumental in curbing the menace of human trafficking. It is not enough to just intercept such instances and let the police be handed over the investigation. It is essential to find out the source and supply destination of trafficking and hit at the illegal act in a comprehensive manner,” SSB Director General Archana Ramasundaram told PTI.
She added the conference, to be held on Monday, will chalk out plans to better coordinate between multiple agencies involved so that the suppliers and end users of this criminal act are identified and brought to book. An SSB statement said “the complexity of the phenomenon (human trafficking), its multi-dimensional nature, its rapid spread worldwide and confusion surrounding the concept has made urgent and essential need to understand the various aspects of the phenomenon”.
A senior SSB officer said the border guarding force, by virtue of its large presence along Indo-Nepal border areas, can help in assisting the local police forces and non-government organisations in getting intelligence inputs and manpower upto a certain level that will help in joining together the dots of such crimes. The data states that instances of human trafficking along the Indo-Nepal border have also grown from 8 in 2014 to 73 in 2015, 76 in 2016 and 34 till March this year.
All these instances involve both scenarios where trafficking happens from across the border and also from towns and villages along this frontier, the officer said.
“Nepal is primarily considered a country of origin – a source for human trafficking. Victims of trafficking from Nepal move to India or the Middle East or even to Europe. “As per official figures, the Ministry of Women Children and Social Welfare of Nepal had identified 26 out of 75 districts as trafficking-prone,” the SSB said.
The force has identified certain routes used by cross-border traffickers to transport girls and boys like Mahedranagar-Banbasa, Dhangarhi-Palia, Nepalganj-Rupediah, Krishnanagar-Barhni, Birganj-Raxaul and Biratnagar-Birpur among others. Very few instances of human trafficking are reported from along villages and towns along the Indo-Myanmar border which the SSB guards in addition to the Nepal frontier.
“Human trafficking from across the Myanmar border does not happen. It is largely from Indian areas to the mainland. The Indo-Myanmar border is dotted by inhospitable terrain and dense jungles at many places and hence normal movement does not take place much. “As movement across Indo-Nepal border is unrestricted, the challenge is larger on this frontier,” the officer said.