The trafficking of women and children is on the rise in Goa, reports The Hindu. Being a prime location Goa acts a source as well as a transit route for human trafficking. Girls from around 14 states and neighbouring countries have been moved since the last three years, says a study conducted by non-governmental organisations. The study was conducted by collaborating with different NGOs and government agencies monitoring the situation. According to the study, the sex trafficking racket is a well organised network which requires special attention by the law enforcing authorities.
The Director of an NGO ARZ, Arun Pande says that girls from north eastern states and countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and other countries, and from vulnerable sections of the society are brought to Goa on the pretence of employment at the Casinos, massage parlours, hospitality sector etc and then are forced into sex trade. He continued that nearly 100 girls were rescued which amounts to not even 10% of the number of girls trafficked in the sex industry. Due to the lack of joint effort of the NGOs, law and order agencies, various licensing authorities under tourism trade, and stake holders of tourism like the taxi operators and society at large, the problem is getting aggravated.
Goa is getting established as a market for sex tourism, especially for domestic tourists. Maverick Fernandes of Church affiliated Centre for Responsible Tourism said that foreigners were also found indulging in child sex.
As a reply to a recent RTI query the State Police mentioned that in Calangute, a famous tourist village in Goa, about 560 people were arrested for involvement in illegal activities. Criminal cases were filed against them for sex crimes and trafficking in 2014-15. Most of these people were from Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Chennai, Kerala and Delhi.
The NGOs believe that the Crime branch headed by the Superintendent of Police has been actively working on this problem but according to the law, all the police stations should work in their jurisdictions to control the menace. Police raid the places, the culprits are arrested, the girls rescued with the help of NGOs and sent to government rehabilitation centres. As reported by The Hindu, most of the illegal activity relating to the trade like bookings and transactions take place over the internet, the crime branch arrests the touts on tip offs, books cases against them but after getting bails they change their locations, claims an anonymous police source.
The human trafficking is like a venom spreading through our society and every step taken to curb it should be followed by many more. Human lives are precious and the agencies working for them should be lauded for their services. A fully functional network of collaborators is the need of the hour to fight this illegal activity that has been gripping our world.