Mumbai: Maharashtra govt approves disbursement of Rs 5.07 cr for strengthening of Anti-Human Trafficking Cells

Mumbai: Maharashtra govt approves disbursement of Rs 5.07 cr for strengthening of Anti-Human Trafficking Cells

Somendra SharmaUpdated: Monday, January 31, 2022, 08:27 PM IST
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In order to curb the cases of trafficking of women and children in the state, the Maharashtra Government on Wednesday gave approval of funds Rs 507 lakh for disbursement for establishment and strengthening of Anti-Human Trafficking Cell (AHTC) under 100 percent centrally sponsored scheme. Currently, the police department has set up 45 AHTCs in all districts and commissionerates across the state. In August last year, the government has sanctioned 573 posts for policemen to be posted in the 11 commissionerates and 34 district police offices across the state.

In January, last year, a division bench of chief justice Dipankar Datta and justice Girish Kulkarni of the High Court, while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Rescue Foundation, an NGO working to rehabilitate victims of human trafficking, was informed that the PIL was seeking implementation of the amended Anti-Human Trafficking Law, and though there was a scheme for setting up AHTCs in every district, the state government had set up the units at only 12 of the 36 districts, which were insufficient.

"While Mumbai, Thane Rural, Thane city, Pune, Sangli, Nagpur, Ahmednagar, Navi Mumbai, Solapur city, Beed, Kolhapur and Yavatmal had AHTCs till August last year and there was need to set up the cells in other districts as well. As of now, 11 commissionerates and 34 district police offices across the state have dedicated AHTCs. Special Inspector General of Police, Prevention of Crime Against Women and Children has been made the nodal officer in the state for the newly established AHTCs," said an officer from the Director General of Police office.

"In 2019-2020, the central government had sanctioned Rs 507.48 lakh to Maharashtra government for establishment and strengthening of AHTCs. The state government has received the said amount and has now given approval for disbursement of the said funds. We were keen to coordinate with other states to strengthen inter-state cooperation on rescue, rehabilitation, safe return, transfer and reintegration of victims of trafficking and prosecution of offenders. Section 13(4) of Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act, 1956, provides that the Centre shall appoint police officers as trafficking police to investigate sexual exploitation of persons and offences committed in more than one state, and give them special powers with jurisdiction across India. Dedicated AHTCs ensures better intelligence gathering on trafficking cases across the state. Each AHTC comprises an ACP/DySP rank officer, inspector, sub-inspector, lady PSIs, men and women personnel," said the officer.

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