Monday, February 19, 2007

Nadia survey on child trafficking

The Telegraph Kolkata

Krishnagar, Feb. 6: Alarmed over increasing incidents of girl trafficking and awareness that many more might be going unreported, the Nadia administration has decided to find out the actual number of children to have gone missing over the past decade.
The survey, to begin next month, will also try to find out how many of those missing were forced into flesh trade or bonded labour.
This is the first time that such a database is being created, a district official said.
“We are certain that the actual number of missing persons is higher than the number registered with police,” district magistrate .S. Meena said.
Officials said a UNDP study had revealed that about 15 lakh girls had been trafficked from Bengal over the past 10 years.
In Nadia, the figure could run up to nearly 300,000.
The Telegraph had carried a series of reports on how girls were smuggled out of the state with the promise of a better life outside.
“For a 12 or 14-year-old girl from a labourer’s family that lives on at best Rs 1,500 a month, the lure of a job in Mumbai or Delhi, which can fetch up to Rs 1,200 a month is too much to resist,” an official said.
“These girls often go on their own. But in many cases, the parents push them into the unknown.”
Once in a while, Bengal police go to Mumbai, Pune, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh or Bihar to rescue them.
“After rescuing these girls, we often realise that their parents had not even lodged a missing complaint. We want to get to the bottom of why such disappearances are not registered. The survey will help us bust the rackets that are in operation,” Meena said.
The social welfare department and the police would jointly conduct the survey. “They will seek the help of the panchayats to trace unrecorded cases.”



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