‘Menace of human trafficking taking roots in Nagaland’

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Dimapur, September 22: The 2nd Regional consultation on child right in the context of human trafficking (sex & bonded labour) in NE India was organized by International Justice Mission (IJM) & North East for Child Rights under the aegis of the Nagaland State Legal Services Authority (NSLSA) and Meghalaya State Legal Services Authority (MDLSA) at Yojna Bhavan, Shillong today.
Delivering the keynote address, Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir, Chief Justice of Meghalaya High Court and Patron-in-Chief MDLSA pointed out that Section 370A IPC has been added in the tear 2013 which provides that whoever knowingly or having reason to believe that a minor has been+ trafficked, engages such minor for sexual exploitation in any manner, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 5 years, which may extend to 7 years and are liable to fine.
He said that from time to time with new challenges various acts came into force, amendments have also been made so as to make penal provisions more stringent but despite that, such offences could not be stopped.
He, therefore, questioned on what are the causes which failed the law in force to deter the perpetrator of the heinous crime.
Stressing on human trafficking in context of North East India, Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir lamented that Northeast emerged as hub of human trafficking in India, where unemployment, poverty, migration for search of jobs are some of the reasons of human trafficking.
He said that Assam has the highest number of trafficking cases in the country with 1494 cases, the state accounts for 22% of the total reported cases of trafficking as per report released by National Crime Records Bureau 2015.
He said that Assam with protracted insurgency problem coupled with recurrent flood, peculiar geographical setting has made it vulnerable to infiltration.
Lauding Mizoram for being the first state in NE to formulate the Victim of Crime Compensation Scheme, Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir said that inspite of these novel measures, human trafficking is still active in the state.
He appraised that in the state of Nagaland, the issue of human trafficking appears to be unassuming on the surface but a closer look reveals that the menace of human trafficking is taking the root.
He said that with the uneven development between urban towns like Kohima, Dimapur and Mokokchung and with growing urbanization there is also huge demand for domestic helpers especially minor boys and girls from remote villages to urban towns.
Justice Mir said that Manipur has emerged as the new source of cross border human trafficking in India and also being used as an easy transit route. Pointing out that Meghalaya has the largest number of child trafficking after Assam, he said that coal mines of Jaintia hills, Meghalaya thousands of children are working in hazardous conditions.
He said that recently due to Nation Green Tribunal order, the rate of hole mining has been banned and compensation is being offered to the child workers, however it is not clear as to whether it has totally stopped.
Justice Mir said that introspection is required to meet the challenge of human trafficking. He said that collective responsibility of stakeholders, state legal services authority and police to take care of the rights of the children and save them from being exploited.
Delivering special address, Justice Arup Kumar Goswami, Chief Justice (Acting) Gauhati High Court and Patron-in-Chief Nagaland State Legal Services Authority said that child rights and human trafficking are concepts which are opposite pole as trafficking crushes the rights of a child.
He lamented whether enough has been done to identify the vulnerable sections, and whether data has been analyzed so that the legal services authority can penetrate into the vulnerable areas.
He urged the legal services authority and NGOs to isolate the pockets where trafficking is taking place and create general awareness which in turn will perhaps reduce human trafficking to some extent.
Session on access to justice was presented by Sanjay Macwan, Regional Director IMJ, background of the regional consultation was presented Mahendra Singh M Sengar, Senior Consultant IJM and Convener NEFCR and welcome address by W Diengdoh, MJS Member Secretary Meghalaya State Legal Services Authority.
During the working session, Sunitha Krishnan, General Secretary Peajwala Hyderabad spoke on care and protection of victims of human trafficking, Davis Marak, IPS, Superintendent of Police East Khasi Hills District spoke on Role of Police in Human Trafficking, Mezivolu T Therieh, NJS Member Secretary NSLSA spoke on role of SALSA in dealing with human trafficking cases in NE, Mahendra Singh M. Sengar presented on status of human trafficking in NE.
Member secretaries of SLSAs of NE region released Shillong declaration of child right in the context of human trafficking.
230 members from the 8 Northeastern states represented by State Legal Services Authorities, District Legal Services Authorities, Child Welfare Committee, Police Department, CHILDLINE, Social Welfare and students from Shillong law college and NEHU. (Page News Service)