To ensure those who go missing are traced and reunited with their families at the earliest, the police have formed 15 new anti-human trafficking units (AHTU) in Mumbai.
Currently, only the social service branch (SSB) of the Mumbai crime branch handles such cases. However, the branch does not have the staff strength required to investigate the cases filed across the city. Twelve of the 15 new units will work in coordination with the local police stations in their zone.
The remaining three units will be with the Mumbai crime branch – two will work with unit 1 and the others with unit 9. All units will be supervised by the respective deputy commissioner of police.
“A new set of guidelines has been issued for the new units that will trace the missing person cases. If the units attached with the zonal police find any criminal link, the case will be handed over to the unit working with the crime branch,” said Pravin Patil, deputy commissioner of police (enforcement).
Initially, each unit will have a team of 8 personnel, which will be increased further.
They will consist of 2 police officer, 4 male policemen and two female police staff.
The SSB will also conduct meetings with the government railway police (GRP), which has a dedicated website for railway accident victims, to check whether those missing have died in railway mishaps. “As many cases remain pending, it becomes important to ascertain if the person concerned is alive or dead. We are also training our staff to scan through the website,” said Patil.