Human trafficking rears ugly head in Indo-Nepal border
Darjeeling: An open border, coupled with the Indo-Nepal Friendship treaty of 1950, is making the Indo-Nepal border highly vulnerable to human trafficking. Repatriation and rehabilitation of trafficked victims, especially children, back to Nepal is emerging as a major challenge.
A "Consultation of cross-border repatriation of children from Nepal" was organised in Siliguri, attended by Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) top brass and NGOs.
The main aim of the consultation was to formulate a Standard Operation Process (SOP) to repatriate victims back to Nepal. An SOP already exists with Bangladesh, which is followed when a cross-border trafficking victim is repatriated to Bangladesh.
"Whenever we intercept any person from the porous and open Indo-Nepal border trying to indulge in human trafficking, the perpetrator immediately seeks refuge in the Indo-Nepal Friendship Treaty and claims that the they have come to India for education (in case of children) or for job (in case of youths and adults), with the consent of parents and relatives. In most cases they are forced into prostitution or cheap labour," stated Srikumar Bandopadhyay, IG, North Bengal, SSB.
The only way to prevent this is to create a strong intelligence network and to create awareness. "SSB is the lead agency working in this sector. We keep a close tab on the borders and also the airport," stated the IG.
The SSB has also come up with a short film which cautions people, especially children, not to fall into the trap of traffickers who usually lure their victims with promises of lucrative jobs and money. "We are screening this movie in all border areas, targeting students of Classes 8 to 12, the vulnerable group," the IG said.