By Hrishikesh Angom
IMPHAL, Jan 8: The highest number of child-trafficking cases in Manipur was recorded in 2010 last year with as many as 139 children from the state found trafficked to other states in the name of giving free education and jobs.
There were cases of 97 trafficked children in 2009, 22 children in 2008 and only five children in 2007.
In the month of January, 2010, 54 boys from Tousem sub-division in Tamenglong district were found trafficked to Tamil Nadu and later rescued by the volunteers of Child Welfare Committee (CWC), Tirunelveli from a children home run by one Roman Catholic Missionary, Immanuel Christopher.
The boys were admitted to the children home through one local agent, N. Paul from Tamenglong who had taken Rs 6000 to Rs 7000 from each child with the false promise of giving free education. The boys were kept in miserable conditions with no proper food and education at the children home. They were also harassed both mentally and physically by the warden of the home. The culprit Immanuel has been jailed but the local agent Paul is still absconding.
Another 17 children including eight boys and nine girls from Bishnupur were rescued from Ritz Children Home, Chennai in January. The children were reportedly trafficked to Chennai through local agents, namely Samom Herojit and Keisham Rakesh after taking Rs 10,000 from each child. The girls were sexually harassed at the chidren home.
There was also another case in January, last year in which a 17-year old girl was reportedly trafficked to Tamil Nadu by four women, namely Thangjam Purnima, Salisa, Khuraijam Taruni and Leishangthem Sanarei in the name of giving vocational education. Later, the girl was rescued and the culprits were detained under National Security Act (NSA).
In the month of February, 2010, three children including two boys and one girl were trafficked to Chenna and later a combined team of CWC, Chennai and CWC, Bishnupur rescued the children from Ritz Children Home, Chennai. The trafficked children were found in a deplorable condition with clear signs of torture and harassment. The local agent in this case was Miss D. Lotus from Chandel.
In the month of April, 2010, 27 children including 18 girls and nine boys from Imphal East, Imphal West and Bishnupur were reportedly trafficked to Tamil Nadu by one Henry Ostrin and later rescued by the officials of Social Welfare Department and Child Line Imphal.
In the same month, one girl was reportedly trafficked to Chennai as domestic helper by one Angoubi from Lamsang.
In the month of May, 2010, three boys from Sekta and Keinou were intercepted by CWC Imphal East and Bishnupur at Imphal Tulihal Airport while they were being trafficked to Guwahati by two women in the name of offering jobs.
In the month of June, 2010, 12 children including nine boys and three girls were trafficked to Tamil Nadu.
In the month of July, 2010, 12 children from Bishnupur were trafficked to Chennai by one Herojit from Ithing.
Another one girl from Bishnupur was trafficked to Kolkatta as domestic worker.
In the month of August, 2010, four boys from Tamenglong, Imphal East and Imphal West districts were trafficked to Haryana through one Kalyan Ashram, Manipur.
In the month of September, 2010, three children including two girls and one boy from Churachandpur were trafficked to New Lambulane by the step-mother of the children, Nemkholhing.
Concerning the grave situation of child-trafficking in the state, the coordinator of Coalition on Childrenâ€™s Right to Protection (CCRP), A. Chinglemba stated that the state government should take up concrete measures to uplift the education system and generate more employment for the youths if the menace of human-trafficking is to be tackled. Mere vigilance of the police and other officials will not help much to counter the problem of trafficking. It is the overall development in socio-economic conditions of the people that will help to reduce the number of human-trafficking cases in the state, he noted.
Chinglemba further said that poverty stricken people are often the victims of human-trafficking and so the government should take up steps to provide them good education and help to generate employment. The failure of education system and unemployment are the major factors for human-trafficking.
The mode of human-trafficking in the state is changing from children to women. Many young girls from the state have been reportedly engaged in immoral activities outside the state including foreign countries like Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. Most of these women have been taken away from their home by some agents in the name of rendering good jobs, the coordinator of CCRP stated.
He also appealed to the people to be sensitive towards human-trafficking and make the New Year 2011 a happy and prosperous year free violence and human-trafficking.
By Hrishikesh Angom