Meghalaya police organised a one day state-level conference on human trafficking in collaboration with the Union Ministry of Home Affairs here today.
Director General of Police LR Bishnoi, chairperson of the Meghalaya State Commission for Protection of Child Rights Iamonlang Syiem, Director of Meghalaya State Judicial Academy KML Nongbri were present, among others.
According to the DGP, investigation of human trafficking cases is very challenging, as can be seen from the relatively low conviction rate.
In Meghalaya, in the last six years, only 19 cases have been registered of which only three or four saw successful convictions against the accused, Bishnoi said.
“So you can imagine the task is quite challenging and very difficult as compared to other cases,” he added.
2016 was the nadir as far as human trafficking was concerned in Meghalaya; since then the state’s figures have improved. Unfortunately, however, a few pockets in India continue to face problems, such as Jharkhand, Punjab and parts of Assam. The coronavirus pandemic complicated the situation as well – while movement to a large extent had been curtailed, it also caused grave financial difficulties that could have pushed more people into becoming victims of trafficking.
Human trafficking has two factors largely behind it, the top cop said – push and pull. The former comprises socioeconomic issues, like poverty, unemployment, lack of development, etc. One of the biggest social factors in Meghalaya is the high number of broken families.
“The single motherhood rates and broken family rates are high in Meghalaya as compared to the other states. These … put the young boys and girls under tremendous strain and they become vulnerable to child trafficking,” Bishnoi said.
The pull factor consists of fake allurements that target desperate job seekers – people in Meghalaya are promised respectable jobs in other parts of the country but are then trafficked for sex work or near-slave labour.
The DGP also mentioned that, even after rescuing the victims, there is the problem of rehabilitating them back into society. This problem is particularly acute for adult victims as there are no dedicated institutions for rescued trafficked adults.
Bishnoi said that to try to curtail human trafficking there is a need to create greater awareness among citizens, with coordination among all stakeholders being the key.
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