The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has registered its first case connected with Human Trafficking, under the Prevention of Immoral Traffic Act, 1986, on September 17. The accused Mohammed Yousuf Khan, his wife Bithi Begum and one Sojib were arrested. The three were native of West Bengal but were living in Hyderabad.
The three are accused of being involved in illegal trafficking of Bangladeshi women to Hyderabad and sexually exploiting them. They are accused of running a prostitution racket with illegally trafficked Bangladeshi women. Owing to cross-border connection of the case, it was handed over to the NIA. They have been charged under section 370A (2) of the IPC and section 3,4 and 5 of the Prevention of Immoral Traffic Act 1986 by the Chatrinaka Police Station.
Offences under Section 370 and 370A of Indian Penal Code (IPC), relating to human trafficking were added to the NIA schedule as part of the recently amended NIA act.
According to a statement released by NIA, the three accused were running the prostitution racket near Kandikal gate, Baji Nagar, Uppuguda, Hyderabad, The Hyderabad city police carried out a search operation based on credible inputs, on the premises on April 21, 2019, arrested three accused and rescued five victims from the spot. The case was subsequently transferred to Central Crime Station, Hyderabad on August 9.
Thousands of Bangladeshi women, largely poor and rural are lured to take the rocky route to India in search of freedom and cash. Women and children of all ages are being trafficked to India mostly from Jessore, Satkhira, Khulna, Bagerhat, Kushtia and southern districts. They are sold to various brothels or pimps in Kolkata, Mumbai, Goa, and Pune, among other Indian cities.
West Bengal state, which shares a porous border with Bangladesh is a known human trafficking hub. It has registered more than one-third of the total number of victims in 2016. Around 500,000 Bangladeshi women and children aged between 12-30 years have been illegally sent to India in the last decade.
In a first, Modi government has been planning to provide banking facilities to sex workers and human trafficking survivors. It has been contemplating initiating a process to see how the survivors of human trafficking and those involved in commercial sexual exploitation could be brought into the framework of ‘financial inclusion’.
The clandestine nature of the job and the stigma surrounding it refrains female sex labourers to benefit from any financial services provided by the Centre. Economic exclusion of these sex workers from government and other formal financial institutions is both a cause and an effect of their occupation.