BERHAMPUR: Human trafficking has assumed alarming proportions in Southern Odisha districts, especially Ganjam, with Berhampur railway station turning into the main transit point.Ganjam is notorious for large-scale migration of workers, including children, every year. Over five lakh labourers from the district work in Surat, Mumbai and several other cities across the country, some of whom often face torture at their workplace.
Child Line sources said over 1,304 persons, including minors, were rescued while being illegally trafficked to other States from Berhampur railway station in the last couple of months. They said middlemen lure poor and gullible people with false promise of job and traffick them outside the State.
This illegal activity is rampant despite anti-human trafficking units functioning in every district police headquarters. Moreover, social welfare sections and Child Line units, which function in every district, have failed to check human trafficking.
Sources said the middlemen fan out to remote corners of South Odisha and lure gullible youths and children with jobs. They first talk to parents and convince them that all their problems will be resolved if they send their children to work in various units outside the State. The middlemen even produce fake identity cards in which they increase the age of minors to show them as majors before trafficking them via Berhampur railway station.
Coordinator of Manav Adhikar Surakshya Manch Abani Gaya blamed the administration of districts for the situation. The district-level advisory committee meeting of social welfare officers has not been held for the last few years as a result of which migration is increasing.Expressing concern over the alarming trend, Child Line director Sudhir Sabat said middlemen are also engaged in alluring girls from Southern districts which should be stopped immediately.
Recently, the district police and Child Line officials have intensified efforts to check migration of labourers and are keeping a close watch on trains leaving from Berhampur railway station.
Sources said following the crackdown, the middlemen are now using Huma, Rambha, Balugaon, Rayagada, Icchapur and Palasa railway stations to avoid any problems.