Did you know that 30,000 Indian women are forced into human trafficking every year? According to Vijaya Rahatkar, president of Maharashtra state women’s commission, there are around 27 lakh women who have fallen victims to human trafficking. She was speaking at a press conference on Sunday (July 23) to inform about a two-day international conference on women trafficking that will be held in Mumbai on July 27 and 28 in collaboration with the International Justice Mission.

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“It is a healthy sign that the government has included the issue of women trafficking within its agenda of five-year plan. This means that problem would henceforth have a more comprehensive approach at the government level,” Rahatkar said.

She reiterated the fact that the majority of women who fall prey to human trafficking hail from countries like Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh and others.

“Women are trafficked to countries like Ghana as farm labourers and Arab countries as slaves, including sex rackets. It is from Russian countries that women come to India for sex trade,” she said.

Rahatkar mentioned that in India, the problem of human trafficking is the highest in Kolkata, followed by Mumbai where 10,000 women are brought into the city every year

“Around 1,700 representatives from various bodies around the globe would be coming to share their experiences on trafficking. The commissions, committees and all such highest level bodies, including NGOs, pertaining to women, child and human rights in the states along with the ministers of the state and centre and secretaries of the concerned departments including ministry of external affairs shall also participate,” she said.

“The main aim of the conference is to brainstorm on the existing government policies, the pending bill on the trafficking and current approach to the situations. We shall compile a set of suggestions and present it before the government for drafting them in the future policy-making decisions.

“We need to create a code of conduct for the police while dealing with trafficking-related crimes,” she said, emphasizing the crucial role police authorities can play in dealing with this menace.
Rahatkar stressed on the fact that changing the outlook of the society, approach of the criminal justice system and government policy is required for rescue and rehabilitation of the victims.
“Government or any particular unit or agency cannot be blamed or held responsible. All the concerned forces are required to come forward with a wholesome approach to tackle the situation,” she said.
Offering a ray of hope, Rahatkar pointed out that rehabilitated victims have got a new lease of life after becoming air-hostess and gram panchayat chiefs after being brought back in the mainstream.
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