Two girls trafficked from Meghalaya were rescued from Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh and Malviya Nagar in New Delhi in an operation jointly conducted by the Delhi Police, Khasi Students’ Union and the 3rdBattalion of Meghalaya Police recently.
On the midnight of February 13, Wallam K Nongsiej, Vice President of the Delhi chapter of Khasi Students Union, received a tip off on Facebook messenger about a 20-year-old woman from Jaintia Hills. “The woman was kept at a private residence in Ghazipur and was directly brought to Meghalaya House,” Nongsiej told Imphal Free Press.
“The woman said she was lured by the promise of a well paying cooking job in a private company in Delhi. But when she got here, she realized she had been trafficked and tried to flee 2-3 days back” he added. He said that the rescued woman had not been physically harmed.
Based on the lead given by the woman rescued, he said, the union accompanied by Delhi Police and the 3rd Battalion of Meghalaya Police rescued three others from Malviya Nagar.
A case was registered under section 366 (kidnapping), 368 (wrongful confinement), 370 (trafficking) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code in Malviya Nagar police station on 15 February against three persons, two of whom were among the rescued, and a man hailing from Assam.
“One of the girls was the cousin of the first rescued victim who had enticed her with a job as a cook, and had received the victim in the railway station. But once they reached the place, the victim realized something illegal was going on here and escaped the place. She then contacted one of the KSU members,” Nina Rabha, the Assistant Commandant of the 3rd Battalion of Meghalaya Police told Imphal Free Press. She confirmed that all the rescued women were from rural pockets of Jaintia hills in Meghalaya.
One of the accused is the cousin of the first woman rescued and the other is the woman running the brother, and the wife of the accused from Assam, said Rabha. “We were searching for two other girls but since they already fled, we came to the conclusion that they are willing to do this work. Otherwise they would have come to us,” she added.
On Monday, the three accused were produced before a District Magistrate in New Delhi while the two victims are helping the Investigating Officer in the case in pursuing leads to arrest more culprits running the trafficking racket.
Last year, 24 persons were rescued in a trafficking case in Jowai, the district headquarters of Jaintia Hills, out of which nine were minor girls.
Donald V Thabah, General Secretary of the Khasi Students Union, however, said that the women trafficked were not only from Jaintia Hills. “The first girl who was rescued told us that one of girl had also come from Nongstoin in West Khasi Hills. Let’s see what the investigation reveals,” he said.
Thabah told Imphal Free Press that economic desperation due to a ‘job crisis’ in the state and lack of education that compels many men and women to look for jobs outside. Seeing the increasing migration to big cities, where tribal natives are often taken advantage of, the KSU is looking to expand their chapters to more cities beyond Delhi, Dehradun, Mangalore and Bangalore.
Thabah says that he is also in discussion with the Home Minister to take steps to aid community members studying or working in these cities. “If someone from Meghalaya goes to Delhi, they should first contact the President of the KSU unit in their village, who would inform the Central headquarters and put them in touch with the KSU member in that city,” he said.
“We are scared that trafficking will become a pattern, where not only naïve girls get trafficked but also become traffickers luring others,” added Thabah.
By Makepeace Sitlhou | Guwahati