Worldwide reprimand for South Asia for its poor record on human trafficking has brought SAARC nations together to discuss the ways to check the illegal trade across borders.
Top officials from SAARC nations will discuss a plan to operationalise SAARC Convention on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Women and Children for Prostitution on Thursday. The convention was signed in 2002 and ratified in 2004.
Women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhury said "The meeting will focus on rescue and rehabilitation of women and children and look ways to increase partnership on containing trafficking. We are also looking at an extradition policy for traffickers".
The SAARC countries will also share best practices in countering the problem during the meeting, Chowdhury said.
When questioned about the US threat to put India in a Tier-3 watch list of countries where trafficking of women and children is a matter of concern, she said, "I don't like someone watching over our shoulders. We are sensitive to the issue. We have signed protocols and agreements. No one should question our commitment to the issue."
From January 1 to June 30 this year, 342 cases of trafficking of women and children have been registered, 596 victims have been rescued and 817 traffickers have been arrested in the country, she said.
Chowdhury informed her ministry is preparing a database of missing children.
She said a meeting of enforcement agencies would also be held for discussing ways to stop trafficking through the porous borders. An inspection of all women's homes in the country will also be carried out, Chowdhury said.
The two-day conference will also discuss micro-finance for women in the region. "Microfinance is the most empowering tool for women. It has radically changed lives of a large number of women," Chowdhury said.