Bengal leads country in rescuing trafficked children: NGO

Kolkata, Dec 4 (PTI) West Bengal leads the country in rescuing trafficked children, an NGO official has said.

Saji Philip, Director of Operations of NGO International Justice Mission, at a programme held here recently, said, 'Of the missing children who were traced across the country in 2017, 14.7 per cent or 3,055 were from West Bengal.' Quoting a 2017 report, the latest on the trafficking of children and women from the state, Philip said, 19,671 of the 1.19 lakh children reported missing across the country were from West Bengal.

He said though the state is the destination of trafficked persons from neighbouring Bangladesh and Nepal, who are sold for commercial exploitation, state police and NGOs are working in synergy to rescue the victims.

The report, released at the event, said that between 2007 and 2016, West Bengal witnessed 50 convictions in sex trafficking cases while one-third of the persons rescued during that period were foreign nationals and 42 per cent minors.

'When survivors don't get protection from law enforcement agencies, their confidence is shaken, they are traumatised and again trapped by traffickers,' Philip said.

He said a majority of the persons trafficked from the state were attracted by prospects of a better life in big cities while women victims were also lured by marriage proposals.

Women and Child Development Minister Shashi Panja called for synergy between state government agencies and NGOs to fight human trafficking.

Special Superintendent of Police of the state Crime Investigation Department (CID), Indra Chakraborty stressed on sensitising police officers besides empowering the victims.

The officer said the CID follows up with local police stations to monitor the mental health condition of the survivors.

The officer said the conviction of the arrested traffickers is important as it affirms the victims' trust in the system.

Panja also launched a book titled 'Umeed' on judgments passed by various courts on human trafficking cases between 2007 and 2016. PTI SUS ACD ACD