Cuttack: The state police have failed to check trafficking of women and minor girls from the state to other regions of the country.
On occasions, police officials have been found reluctant to take prompt action on complaints of women and child trafficking in state. It is alleged that some police officials have a close nexus with women traffickers in state.
According to sources, the traffickers usually trap women and minor girls of poor families in state on the promise of remunerative jobs and better marriage proposals outside Odisha. But they often sell these women and minor girls in states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Karnataka.
Moreover, the trafficked women are being forced to engage in illegal and immoral activities, sources said.
According to available data, 1,788 minor boys and girls were missing in the state in 2015. The police managed to rescue 1,265 among them.
Similarly, 6,617 men and women went missing in 2015. The state police had managed to rescue only 2,442 persons.
Altogether 1,792 minors were untraceable in 2016 while police claimed that they have rescued 1,008 missing children.
As per the data, police had rescued 2,883 men and women out of 7,192 missing persons in 2016.
The data claimed that police had managed to trace 1,046 minors out of 1,851 missing children in 2017. Similarly, police had rescued 3, 072 men and women from 8, 554 missing persons in 2017.
It is learnt that as many as 2,370 minor boys and girls were declared missing, last year. According to data, police rescued 1,139 minors from in and outside state in 2018.
However, police had rescued 3,342 men and women out of 10,728 missing persons, last year.
As per the data, police have traced 4,458 minors out of the 7,551 missing children in the last four years. Similarly, police have rescued 11,739 persons from 33,091 missing men and women during the same time period.
“Police have rescued 59 per cent of the missing minors and 35 per cent of the missing men and women in last four years,” said a source in state police.
According to sources, most of the missing women from Odisha have been trafficked to other states.
Taking the issue of trafficking seriously, Director General of Police (DGP) RP Sharma had directed the district superintendents of police (SPs) and the deputy commissioners of police (DCPs) of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar to keep vigil at bus stands, railway stations and airports to keep tab on human trafficking.
The DGP had also asked the police officials to keep an eye on placement agencies in all 30 districts. However, police officials are yet to comply with the DGP order, sources said.
It is worth mentioning here that Delhi Commission for Women chairperson Swati Maliwal had rescued a minor girl, trafficked from Sundargarh district, from Rajasthan February 8. Some relatives of the girl had sold her to Mukesh Agrawal and Kishan Agrawal of Rajasthan. The girl was pregnant when Maliwal rescued her.
It is learnt that the minor girl went missing from Rourkela in Sundargarh district in December 2017. The victim’s father had lodged several complaints with police but no action was taken to trace the girl.
Similarly, traffickers had sold a woman from Puri district to a person in Bihar in 2017. The woman had informed the incident to her father. However, police did not take any initiative to rescue the women even after repeated requests from the victim’s father.
Finally, the state Crime Branch had rescued the woman in November, last year. “Police do not take missing and trafficking cases seriously. At best, they register a case and forget to investigate the case,” alleged a social activist.
Additional DGP Binaytos Mishra said they have asked police officials to expedite investigations on missing cases. “We are also giving importance to allegations of human trafficking. Steps are being taken to trace missing women and minor girls,” he added.