The police will now have a new arm - anti-human trafficking units - to check India's increasing number of missing children, especially the girls.
HT had first reported that over 60,000 children went missing in 2009 as compared to 44,000 in 2004. And, a large number of them were trafficked to either work as child labourers or for prostitution in cities. Half of them were girls, who find their way into brothels or as domestic helps. India is rated among the top 10 countries for human trafficking.
"We have proposed to set up 335 anti human trafficking units throughout the country and impart training to 10,000 police officers in three years," Home Minister P Chidambaram said in Lok Sabha, while replying to a question on increasing crime against women in India.
Of them, 110 units have already been set up at a cost of Rs 8.72 crore. The primary job of these units will be to investigate the cases related to missing children or complaints of organized human trafficking. Already, the Central Bureau of Investigation has identified over 1,000 gangs across India involved in trafficking of women and children.
Chidambaram also informed the house that the National Human Rights Commission had received 1,917 complaints of crimes against children between April 2007 and end of February 2011, out of which 1,779 cases were disposed off. The commission also recommended monetary relief of Rs 54,27,000 in 19 cases of proven violation of human rights.
The NHRC had registered 23,608 complaints regarding violation of human rights or crime against women, including trafficking between April 2007 and 1 March, 2011. Of them, 23,254 cases have been disposed off and had recommended compensation of Rs 35,35,000 in 39 cases.
Members cutting across party lines expressed their displeasure over poor enforcement of anti trafficking law in the country. "Over 25,000 Nepalese girls are trafficked into India every year," said Jay Panda of BJD. Another member, Kabindra Purakayastha of BJP said the Centre was not serious about checking trafficking as it just issues advisories and not any directions to strictly impose the law.
The home minister said the Central government does not want to undermine the responsibility of the state governments in a federal structure but have been guiding the states in enforcing the law to protect women and children through advisories. "All of us respect and zealously guard the rights of the states," he said.
Chidambaram said crime against women in Delhi was a serious issue but maintained that the number of incidents have witnessed a decline in the last few months.