Child trafficking on the increase, highest number of rescued girls from the State
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, July 21: Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi will set up the first Rehabilitation and Welfare Fund, under Kailash Satyarthi Children's Foundation, in Assam as the number of child trafficking victims from the State is on the increase.
Addressing a press conference on the last day of his three-day visit to Guwahati, Satyarthi said Assam has been chosen as the first state to set up the Fund and it will be replicated in other states gradually.
"We intend to mobilize Rs 1 crore from our Foundation's side with funds from private donors and corporations. Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has promised to contribute a matching amount," he said, informing of his meeting with Gogoi earlier today when the duo discussed specific problems of human trafficking in the State.
Satyarthi said the Fund will initially provide immediate relief and help in rescuing victims. Rehabilitation and reintegration of the victims could be taken up afterwards, he said.
"We are still formulating the modalities. It will take some time to see how the Fund actually shapes up," he added.
Expressing concern at the increase in number of trafficked and rescued victims from Assam, Satyarthi said the largest number of girls rescued from brothels, and as child brides and domestic helps by his organization in the last 2-3 years were from Assam.
"The entire Northeast is becoming a hub of human trafficking and it is a big concern," he added.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner further said safe repatriation of rescued girls is a big problem for rescuers, especially when the girls need to be sent back a long distance, and there are numerous instances when the rescued girls are 'stched back' by traffickers mid-way.
"The government agencies have to be more effective to ensure that the girls return safely. But we can't wait for the government to act alone, we also have to help in ensuring it," he said.
Satyarthi urged for a dedicated officer in New Delhi Assam Bhawan to act as a nodal officer to ensure safe repatriation of rescued victims and said Chief Minister Gogoi has made a positive assurance in this regard.
Pointing to the abysmally low conviction rate of 0.8 per cent of total identified cases of trafficking, Satyarthi said capacity building and sensitization of law-enforcing agencies are vital.
The Nobel laureate also asked the State government to create a statewide action plan with definitive role, responsibility and accountability of government departments on trafficking, and has extracted a positive response from the Chief Minister in this regard.
"I have also urged for constitution of a high-level steering group, headed by the CM, to monitor it and he has agreed to it," Satyarthi added.