HYDERABAD: The country’s youngest State appears to be emerging as a growing destination for flesh trade, with around 300 cases recorded under the various Anti-Human Trafficking laws, in 2018. The number of such crimes detected has increased from 2017 when 229 were reported.
According to statistics from the State police, the majority of these crimes happened in Cyberabad Commissionerate limits, with 83 cases being reported. The number has however come down slightly from 2017 when 86 were caught. This includes trafficking for prostitution, labour, or even organs, all of which are covered by over 13 different sections in the IPC and the Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act (ITPA).
While Rachakonda saw a substantial drop in such crimes from 71 in 2017 to 57 in 2018, Hyderabad saw an increase from 35 to 52 in 2018. Kothagudem emerged to be another hub, with 67 crimes reported.
The trend is worrying, say, officials, as the economic boom of Telangana and specifically, Hyderabad may be a reason for it being a lucrative destination for crimes. “Telangana is witnessing an economic boom and has one of the highest IT usages in the country. Organised criminals could be making use of this to prey on young women,” said B Sumathi, SP, Women Safety Wing. Experts, however, noted that while Telangana might be a lucrative destination, the involvement of Telugu women has drastically reduced.
“Up until a few years ago, Andhra used to be the biggest supplier in sex trafficking. This has changed now. In a recent crime syndicate busted in Mumbai, only six of the 112 girls rescued were Telugu girls. In fact, just one of them hailed from Telangana. The police, all other departments and the NGOs in the Telugu states, especially Telangana, have cut the supply short for sex trade here,” stated Sunitha Krishnan, a Padma Shri awardee who runs the Prajwala homes for trafficked victims.
In order to nip this trend in the bud, the Women’s Safety Wing of TS police is now making nodal AHT units in every district, in addition to starting ‘Training of Trainers’ attempts to target the highly-organised and digitised crime of human trafficking.
standard operating procedure to combat trafficking crimes
The Telangana Police has released a blow-by-blow module on the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to be followed for anti-human trafficking cases in Telangana. These new SOPs have been made by the Women Safety Wing, which will nodally be looking into all the cases under the ambit of AHT across the State. The module was released by Mahendar Reddy, DGP, Telangana, on Wednesday. The new SOPs not only lay down the various procedures to be followed during the search, rescue and investigation processes of human trafficking cases but also lay stress on the need for sensitivity on part of the police officials. The officials should be able to ensure that the victims do not turn hostile, or worse yet, go back to the profession of trafficking and fail to break the chain
ChildCare Institutes to have norms based on kind of survivors
After a controversy erupted last year around an article in a foreign media house, which spoke about the alleged ill-treatment and jailing of victims of trafficking in homes run for trafficking victims in the state of Telangana, the Department of Women Development and Child Welfare has now made an attempt to make a new module on the various kinds of childcare institutions in the State, and the guidelines they must follow in order to rehabilitate the children in the best manner possible based on the issue they faced.
The module with guidelines has been made by the State Inspection Committee with members from Childline-DivyaDisha, Niloufer hospital, UNICEF, Bachpan Bachao Andolan and WCD officials, who have attempted to categorise the type of childcare Institutions there can be and the specific infrastructure requirements to keep the children safe. Each home will now have individual check-lists on must-haves essentials for children