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India eyes anti-trafficking pacts with GCC, Nepal

NEW DELHI, October 7, 2015

India wants to sign agreements with countries like Nepal and the Gulf nations such as UAE to curb human trafficking and improve the rescue and repatriation of victims, a senior home ministry official said on Wednesday.

Kumar Alok, joint secretary at the ministry of home affairs, told an anti-trafficking conference that India and neighbouring Bangladesh had signed an anti-trafficking pact in June and New Delhi was keen to do the same with other nations.

"The MoU (memorandum of understanding) with Bangladesh is for prevention of all forms of trafficking and there is a taskforce made up of officials from both countries which has been set up to look into this," Alok told delegates.

"We are also planning to have similar kind of MoUs with other countries, especially with neighbouring countries like Nepal and Gulf countries because we find the Gulf is being used as a destination," he said, adding that talks with the UAE were likely "very soon."

South Asia, with India at its centre, is the fastest-growing and second-largest region for human trafficking in the world, after Southeast Asia, according to the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

More than 150,000 people are known to be trafficked within South Asia every year, but the trade is underground and the real number is likely to be much higher.

Traffickers or "agents" often take advantage of poor communities, luring victims from villages with promises of good jobs and a better life in the cities.

But the reality is very different. Thousands of women and girls are trafficked in India alone, many of them from Nepal and Bangladesh, and sold into forced marriage or used for bonded work as prostitutes or maids. Some end up in Gulf nations.

Alok said the number of registered human trafficking cases in India rose to 5,466 in 2014 from 3,940 the previous year, citing data from the National Crime Records Bureau.

The pact signed with Bangladesh in June aims to strengthen co-operation and information sharing to ensure speedier investigations and prosecutions of traffickers and organised crime syndicates in either country.

It also covers issues such as better border checks to catch traffickers and save victims and how to work together to send home and rehabilitatd victims more effectively.-Reuters




Tags: India | GCC | Nepal | Trafficking |

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