The Centre has decided to help build infrastructure in border areas to combat child trafficking and help in rehabilitation and protection of victims.
As part of this initiative, the Women and Child Development Ministry will provide financial assistance to States and Union Territories (UT) along the border areas to set up homes for the protection and rehabilitation of trafficking victims from neighbouring countries.
These homes would provide shelter, food, clothing, counselling, primary health facilities and other daily needs for the trafficking victims, most of whom are children and minors, officials in the Women and Child Development Ministry said.
According to the officials, India is a source as well as a destination country for human trafficking. The main source countries are Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar from where women and girls are trafficked in the lure of a better life, jobs and good living conditions on this side.
A majority of those trafficked are minor girls or young women who after their arrival in India are sold and forced into commercial sex work. These women often reach major cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad from where they are taken out of the country mainly to the West Asia and South East Asia, the officials said.
Thus, the States bordering these countries need to be more vigilant and have adequate facilities to provide relief and rehabilitation, and in order to aid this, the Ministry would provide the financial assistance.
Till now, the Women and Child Development Ministry has been providing financial assistance to all States and Union Territories under the Nirbhaya Fund to set up and strengthen Anti Human Trafficking Units (AHTU) in every district of the country. Funding has also been provided for setting up these units in border guarding forces such as BSF and SSB.
As of now, 788 AHTUs, including 30 in border guarding forces, are functional.
The trafficking victims in the border areas will also be produced before the child welfare committees to declare them fit for availing sponsorship as per the Mission Vatsalya Scheme guidelines and accordingly, the States and UTs will be requested to do the needful, he said.
Mission Vatsalya is the central scheme focused on the protection and welfare of children.