Floods have made Assam source, transit point of trafficking: Kailash Satyarthi

New Delhi:  Assam has turned out to be both a source and a transit point for human trafficking rackets, mainly due destruction caused by flood and its aftermath almost every year, Nobel Peace laureate Kailash Satyarthi said today.

Assam is now a major source for human trafficking rackets based in Delhi-NCR and the children trafficked from there are mostly placed as domestic helps at residences either in the national capital region or towns in Haryana. Many, who fail to be placed anywhere, are later forced into prostitution or begging, Satyarthi told PTI. Assam is also a transit point for children who are trafficked from Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya. However, these two states are targeted particularly by human trafficking rackets based in Kolkata and Mumbai, said
Satyarthi.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner has urged the Assam government to adopt a three-pronged approach to check trafficking of children from the state. “I have suggested the creation of a ‘Rehabilitation and Welfare Fund’ under Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation (KSCF) in Assam, in which the state government and the foundation are expected to contribute in equal proportions for immediate relief to trafficked children,” said Satyarthi, adding that so far Assam government has contributed Rs 1 crore to the welfare fund.

Satyarthi also mentioned about instances where the trafficked children managed to escape and reach Guwahati, but had no resources to go any further. Later, they were hunted down by the traffickers and taken back forcibly from the railway station. “In many cases, the children belonged to the flood-hit districts of Assam and they could not reach home because of the calamity, despite having reached the concerned region. Many of those children were held by the traffickers and taken back from places not very far away from home,” said Satyarthi.

The child rights crusader further said a state-level action plan for prevention of trafficking with a steering committee headed by the chief minister and appointment of a nodal officer at the Assam Resident Commissioner’s office in Delhi were the other two suggestions, apart from the idea of the rehabilitation welfare fund, put forward by him. Satyarthi said he has asked the government to create a state-level action plan with a definitive role, responsibility and accountability of government departments. He also urged the state government to take up responsibility for ensuring safe migration.

“I commend Assam Government and Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi for the active support against child trafficking and child abuse. The menace of unregulated placement agencies leading to child trafficking needs urgent attention and through this announcement Assam government has set an example for other states combating violence against children. “KSCF will ensure complete support to government in this endeavour,” said Satyarthi. The state government also decided to conduct a survey in consultation with KSCF and UNICEF and partner with the Foundation for Rehabilitation and Welfare of Trafficked Children.

The Assam Chief Minister has also directed the state government to put in place strict rules and regulations for vigilance over placement agencies and their activities. He also directed formulation of a strategy to prevent exploitation of children by parents, Satyarthi added.

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