New Delhi, May 17: The porous Indo-Bangla border has become a safe haven for antisocial elements for trafficking of women and children from across the border. Ironically, the trafficked women are forced into illegal activities, including flash trade.
According to records available with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), 159 women were apprehended by the Border Security Force (BSF) along the eastern frontier up to February this year. One hundred forty-five women were apprehended from the West Bengal sector, 13 women were apprehended from the Tripura sector and one was apprehended from the Meghalaya sector. Similarly, 58 children were apprehended by the security forces during the same period — 49 from the West Bengal sector and 9 from the Tripura sector.
“We are trying to stop this trend of trafficking, but in spite of our efforts this practice is still going on,” said a senior official in the Home Ministry.
The records, however, said that while 574 women were apprehended in 2017, 1062 were apprehended in 2016. According to available statistics, 123 children were apprehended in 2017 and 225 children were apprehended in 2016.
“There are some patches of unfenced areas along the Indo-Bangladesh border, including some riverine area. However, even on these unfenced patches, constant vigil is maintained by BSF personnel to ward off any attempt of unauthorized infiltration and entry. Adequate manpower is in place,” said the official.
The BSF has taken various steps to curb trans-border crimes, which, inter-alia, include strengthening of sensitive border outposts (BOPs) by deploying additional manpower, using hi-tech surveillance equipment, border fencing, installation of border floodlights, simultaneous coordinated patrolling (SCP) with Border Guards of Bangladesh on the border, conduct of special operations, upgrading intelligence network, coordination with other relevant agencies and conducting workshops and training programmes on human trafficking with NGOs, UNODC and UNHCR.
“With such joint efforts of the security forces of both the countries, we can at least expect that the trend will certainly come to an someday,” said the official.