RAIPUR: Chhattisgarh is among top five states in the country, as far as figures for women and girl trafficking is concerned. Add to this, a sluggish counter trafficking response by state government is only worsening the situation, a recent survey by (UNODC) has revealed. Studies on trafficking across 14 Indian states have revealed that Delhi serves as transit point of the girls. The UNODC report blames the state government for improper monitoring of Integrated Child Protection Scheme, as it took two years to initiate State Child Protection Agency in 2012, despite the state signing a memorandum of understanding with the centre in 2009.
SCt lawyer and principal author of the report, Ravi Kant, who visited Chhattisgarh during the survey, told TOI that “Centre has been pro-active in assisting state to tackle the problem but its implementation at the state level has been very slow”.
“Ministry of women and child development gave Rs 39 crore for child welfare schemes which includes establishment of anti-human trafficking units, child welfare committees, special juvenile police units, shelter homes, trafficked victims” rehabilitation schemes and many more but these remained mostly underutilized,” he pointed out.
Even the Project Approval Board (PAB) in February 2013, had disapproved reimbursement to the state for its expense on Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS), due to incorrect statement of expenditure submitted by Chhattisgarh government to stabilize the balance sheet. The government has till date not initiated the Victim Compensation Scheme, wherein the trafficked victim is supposed to get an immediate relief of Rs 50,000 and later of Rs 3 lakh followed by rehabilitation, alleges the UNODC report.
Without proper Child Welfare Committee and institutional protection measures for women and children, the situation will continue to be grim, warns the report.
In 2011, 20 women were rescued and brought back to tribal Jashpur. Nearly 50 cases were registered but the biggest challenge remains to be the reluctance of the victims themselves to register a case. The report also points that the demand for Chhattisgarh children for domestic work is very high in national capital as compared to children from other places as “they come cheaper, complain less and have no demands”. The recruiting agencies deploy local touts in the states to convince victims. The supply racket has become a thriving business for the many agents in contact with the Manjhi, Manjwar and Urao tribes of some 30 odd village panchayats, including 18 situated on the top of the Mainpat hills in North Chhattisgarh.
According to Ravi Kant, it all started from migration of young girls for labour purposes and slowly the migration was controlled by middle men and agents. The report also quotes former chief minister Ajit Jogi saying that 20,000 girls from tribal region have been sold by traffickers in last eight years in cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai offering a mere Rs 500-Rs 2,000 as advance to the poor tribal girls” parents. Besides, there have been some recent reports on trafficking of young girls for the Mumbai sex market that point to the problems of migration and atrocities faced during migration are increasing at a tremendous rate.
Talking to TOI, Subrat Sahu, secretary, department of women and child welfare development, “The funds sanctioned have been utilized by their department but they can”t comment about other departments.”
Unicef has also raised the issue with district administration at Jashpur to help fight the menace , especially in state”s northern part comprising Surguja, Korba, Jashpur, Koriya and Raigarh—the districts infamous for human trafficking.
TOI has been consistently reporting, how young girls from Chhattisgarh are forced into prostitution and are subjected to physical abuse in metros and abroad. Among the northern districts, Jashpur with 70% cases tops the list.