IMPHAL | Feb 1
In a major breakthrough, police rescued altogether 101 trafficked girls and arrested six suspected human traffickers in separate incidents today.
“This is the biggest rescue operation ever taken place in the region rescuing the highest number of trafficked women,” said Keisham Pradipkumar member Manipur Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MCPCR).
In the first incident, altogether 40 Nepali girls were rescued by a team of Tengnoupal police and arrested a suspected trafficker who was accompanying the rescued girls, from Moreh town today morning.
The girls were believed to have been on their way to be trafficked to different cities of South Asian and Middle-east countries through Myanmar.
The Tengnoupal district police carried out the drive in suspected vehicles and hotels located at Moreh town bases on the intimation send by NGO based on Nepal to Delhi Women Commission regarding the illegal human trafficking of large number girls from Nepal for flesh trade.
The combined team was led by Moreh SDPO, Sandip Gopaldas Mohurle, assisted by ASI, T. Paominlun Haokip; Immigration Check Post, Moreh SI, Ningthoujam Rajivkumar Singh, along with two women police namely, M. Mema Devi and H. Subadani Devi of Moreh Police Station in the presence of civil representatives under the supervision of Tengnoupal SP, S. Ibomcha.
Initially, the police team intercepted 16 girls from the Integrated Check Post (ICP) Moreh waiting to cross into Myanmar.
“The 16 girls were rescued from Integrated Check Post, Moreh. They were sent by one Rajiv Sharma, Sunauli town, Nepal with the assistance of some other unknown traffickers,” said Tengnoupal SP, S Ibomcha in a statement.
The police team in their continued operation further rescued four more girls and arrested a suspected trafficker from a hotel.
The arrested man has been identified as Asha Kali Tamang, 42, son of Jita Lal Tamang from Pangkarpu 03 Jugal, Sindhupalchok, Nepal.
Later in the evening, 20 more girls were rescued from Raj Cottage, Moreh who were trafficked by one Madan from Nepal. However, the trafficker is still at large, said a source.
Speaking to IFP, Montu Ahanthem, convener of Manipur Alliance for Child Rights (MACR) said, “This is a major rescue operation at which without the help of police it would have been impossible.”
He revealed that one of its member L. Pisak who is currently in Delhi provided the information that the Delhi Women’s Commission had rescued three Nepali girls from Delhi.
These three girls had disclosed that a large number of Nepali girls were being taken towards India on January this year, he added.
“Maiti Nepal, a Nepal based NGO working on trafficking, who confirmed about this information and an alert was sounded. As per the Maiti Nepal, after questioning the three rescued girls from Delhi, came to know that other girls were travelling towards North East to cross the border towards Myanmar,” said Ahanthem.
He informed that the rescued girls from Moreh will be accommodated at Ujjwala Home run by Center for Development Activities (CDAC). The deportation of the girls shall be processed after proper verification, he said.
The MACR convener said that the state has now become one of the gateways of human trafficking. The government should take a serious note of it and include certain provision in the Act East Policy to curtain this issue.
In a separate incident, four other persons including two male who are the prime suspect involved in illegal human trafficking were arrested from hotel Santosh located at Paona Bazar by a team of City police.
Subsequently, 61 more girls were also rescued from Hotel Junction located at Keishampat Thokchom Leikai by a team of Imphal West police and arrested another suspected trafficker.
Sources said verification process is going on in different hotels of the state, to check if there are more trafficked girls.
“It is high time NGOs and Police are working hand in hand to combat human trafficking, a biometric device which can detect fake Adhaar cards must be available to special Police check post in Moreh border. NGOs trained in anti-human trafficking should be allowed to open facilitation centres along the vulnerable points like Khudengthabi and Moreh check post. Anti-human Trafficking Unit (AHTU) posted at Imphal airport is one of the best trustworthy units in India, however, it needs motivation and support, women AHTU Police should be attached with to handle the women victims conveniently,” Keisham Pradipkumar.
He said that the Act East or Look East whatever the nomenclature, human traffickers besides drug traffickers and gold smugglers have been yielding best opportunities offered by the so-called free border trade protocols and recent time free movement facilities towards Myanmar townships.