With a view to dealing with the issue of human trafficking in a holistic manner, Andhra Pradesh government on Saturday decided to set up five Anti Human Trafficking Units (AHTUs) across the state.

Four of the five units will be set up in districts, including Eluru in West Godavari, Guntur, Anantapur and Karimnagar and one at the Women Protection Cell of the CID in Hyderabad, Principal Secretary (Home) P Gautam Kumar said.

Among other things, the AHTU will deal with three important aspects of trafficking namely, prevention, protection and prosecution. It will act as a ‘field level functional unit’ to address the issue.

These units will deal with human trafficking as an ’organised crime’ on the ‘basket of crimes’ concept (involving offences of wrongful restraint, wrongful confinement, selling and buying minors for prostitution, begging, bonded labour, gang rape, subjecting women and children to commercial sexual exploitation etc), a government notification said.

The AHTUs will be directly controlled and supervised by Superintendents of Police who will review the progress of these units on a monthly basis and submit a report to the state nodal officer of Anti Human Trafficking (AHT).

The Additional Director General of Police, CID will act as the state-level Anti Human Trafficking nodal officer who will supervise the work done by AHTU. He will also co-ordinate the intra-state and inter-state operations to bring traffickers to justice, to rescue victims and to take up measures for the rehabilitation of victims in consultation with Women and Child Welfare Department.

AHTUs will also conduct rescue operations with the assistance of NGOs, Women and Child Department and Labour Welfare Department whenever they receive information about trafficking either from police sources or NGOs or from civil society.