Uttarakhand used as a trafficking gateway, over 250 rescued from Champawat in 3 years
Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) deployed on the India-Nepal border alone rescued around 200 Nepalese women and girl children, and they have been handed over to their families after counselling, NGO office-bearers said.dehradun Updated: May 17, 2018 21:31 IST
More than 250 women and girls have been rescued from human traffickers in the last three years in Uttarakhand’s Champawat district that borders Nepal, police and voluntary organisations said.
Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) deployed on the India-Nepal border alone rescued around 200 Nepalese women and girl children, and they have been handed over to their families after counselling, NGO office-bearers said.
Uttarakhand, which NGOs say is used as source station to hide Nepalese girls before transporting them to other states and even abroad, has four main entry points -- Banbasa in Champawat district and Jhoolaghat, Dharchula and Jauljibi gates in Pithoragarh district.
“Police and SSB have handed over to our organisation 256 women and children rescued at the international border since 2015. After counselling, the trafficking victims have been handed over to Maiti, an NGO of Nepal working for their rehabilitation,” said Janak Chand, project director of REEDS (Rural Environment and Educational Development Society), an NGO working at Banbasa.
After the massive earthquakes that left Nepal devastated in April 2015, trafficking of women from the neighbouring Himalayan nation on the promise of lucrative jobs surged with Uttarakhand serving as a gateway to India for traffickers, said volunteer organisations.
The large population of Nepali-speaking people in Uttarakhand’s Dehradun, Pithoragarh, Champawat and Chamoli districts with relatives back in Nepal makes it easier for traffickers to use local contacts to lure Nepalese women, they said.
“An anti-human trafficking cell headed by a woman sub-inspector has been deployed at Sharda barrage, Banbasa to keep an eye on human traffickers and trafficked women and minors,” Champawat superintendent of police Dhirendra Gunjyal said.
“Apart from this, we have created ‘Women safety awareness WhatsApp group” and added women of remote areas into the group. Through this we get information and suggestion about human trafficking and women’s safety, and act accordingly to prevent crime.”
In a fresh incident, five people, including two women, from Haryana had arrived in a village of Champawat on April 25 allegedly to take a minor for marriage with a youth. After the villagers informed the police, they fled leaving behind the minor.
“We received information that some people from Haryana had come to perform marriage of a 13-year-ol Class 8 girl with a 27-year-old youth. We immediately sent police and rescued her,” Gunjyal said.
Police and NGOs said many minor girls have been trafficked to plain areas of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana in the last few years.