Saturday, August 2, 2014
Bride trafficking a rising concern in U’khand
DEHRADUN: As against the skewed sex ratio of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pardesh, eight out of the total 13 district of Uttarakhand has more women than men. But their dainty physical appearance, fair complexion and poor background has made them vulnerable to traffickers, now on the prowl in the hill state more than ever before. The revenue officers who handle additional charge of policing in these hill districts are generally ill-equipped and poorly trained to tackle agents indulging in this sordid business. "Fifty per cent of those who are married off outside the hills become victim of deception. Of these, 40% are actually sold off into prostitution in the garb of marriage while 10% end up in in-congruent marriages, where, for instance, the husband is old in age," Preeti Jain, coordinator of Ashram Trust, said. "With the anti-human trafficking cell (AHTC) becoming active in the state, the regular police has begun tracking such cases with help from the revenue police. Until June this year, 88 such cases have been reported from across the state. It was 138 last year," said DIG Satish Shukla. "Poverty is the biggest factor behind women being trafficked," said Mamta Bohra, head of AHTC.
"In Dehradun, Vikasnagar has become a hub for women trafficking." Vimmi Sachdeva, SSP Naintal, added, "It was on July 23 that we rescued a 12-year-old girl who was raped and sold off multiple times by her maternal uncle. She had also given birth to a son at such a young age. Around 13 similar cases have been reported in Nainital district this year. A woman is normally sold off for Rs 40-50,000, out of which Rs 20,000 is earned by the agent himself." Surender Bhandari, coordinator of NGO Janank Smiti said that 27 vulnerable, poor girls were sold off from Vikasnagar in the name of marriage last year. According to sources, in a meeting called by DM Nainital on this matter, it was found that 60 girls from nearby villages were sold in just one year. Seventeen girls of Okhal Kanda Block in Naintal district who had married two years ago were never seen again. Geeta Gairola, project director of Mahila Smakhya organization, said, "Our teams have raided these agents from Uttarkashi, Chamoli and other hill districts many times. But they escaped under the pretext of fake marriage. These people also carry bridal clothes and 'sehra' in their vehicles. The girls mostly cross the boundary of the hills for the first time and have no idea where they are being taken." Suresh Bhai, environmentalist and social worker, said the cases related to women trafficking never reach SWC. Hence help of local NGOs and villagers should be taken to identify the agents to break their nexus. Former chairperson of SWC, Sushila Baluni, confessed that she got no such complaints during her term which ended two years ago. After that no one was appointed in her place.