ANTI HUMAN TRAFFICKING UNIT
The Sikkim Police, formally established the Anti Human trafficking Unit in the CID branch, on 18th May, 2011 under the overall supervision of the SP/CID. The unit was provided with a separate room with basic infrastructure of an office set up and was equipped with computer-printer set and other equipments funded and provided by the 'MHA', including a camera, Bolero vehicle, and one motorcycle. The utilization certificate was subsequently sent to the 'MHA'. Currently the AHTU, Sikkim Police is manned by Staff from within the CID branch provided by the Sikkim Police, which includes an ASP in-charge of AHTU, one Police Inspector, one lady sub inspector and one lady constable. Another AHT Unit has been set up under the immediate charge of OC/Jorethang, as Jorethang happens to be an important transit point for entry to rest of the South and West Sikkim.
MAGNITUDE OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN SIKKIM
Even though the State of Sikkim is part of North east; it’s significantly different from the North East. It does not face the typical problems of North East like ethnic conflict, severe poverty and it has the highest per capita income in the country. The trafficking related cases registered in the State in the last decade (2001- 2010) also have been significantly low with only 7 cases registered under the Immoral Trafficking Prohibition Act, 1956, and under IPC. Considering the other important factors of population and the area and spread and possibility of cross border trafficking, the position of the State could be established as the least populous State with slightly over 600,000 permanent residents and the second-smallest state after Goa with total area of 7,096 km2 (2,740 sq miles). It borders Nepal to the west, the Tibet Autonomous Region/ TAR of the People’s Republic of China to the north and east, and Bhutan to the southeast. The state of West Bengal (Siliguri) borders Sikkim to its south. The difficult terrain of North and East has restricted the illegal migration from TAR. However the State shares with Nepal a porous border and the population has close matrimonial ties with Nepal affecting the demographic pattern. As far as the population growth is concerned the growth rate has been 12.36 % (2001-2011), with a density of 86 persons per square kilometer. Most of the population is rural with only 11.06 % being the urban population mostly concentrated in Gangtok, the State Capital and the only significant town.
Reportedly, the factors which lead to lesser crime committed in Sikkim, especially human trafficking, is the cultural ways and conflict-less society. However, keeping in view the factors like increasing influx and outside influence the scope for human trafficking in the state cannot be ruled out.
CHARTER OF DUTIES
The AHTU has been given a charter of duties based on guidelines of the 'MHA', they are as listed:
- Ensuring focused attention in dealing with offences of human trafficking and providing a multidisciplinary approach and a joint response by all stake holders.
- Ensuring an organized crime perspective in dealing with trafficking crimes.
- Bringing about inter-departmental collaboration among the police and all other government agencies and departments, such as women and child labour, health, etc.
- Conducting rescue operations with the assistance of NGOs whenever they receive information about trafficking activities either from police sources, or NGOs or civil society.
- Ensuring a victim-centric approach which ensures the “best interest of the victim/survivor” and prevents “secondary victimization/re-victimization” of the victim as well as ensuring a gender sensitive and child rights sensitive approach in dealing with trafficked victims.
- Functioning as the grass roots unit for collection and development of an exhaustive database on all law enforcement aspects of the crime, including information on traffickers and trafficking gangs, which they will convey to the District and State Crime Records Bureau for further transmission to the National Crime Records Bureau. Thus, AHTUs shall facilitate availability of comprehensive national level data on the criminal activity.
- Initiate formal/informal coordination with all stakeholders like NGOs, SWD, Child Development, Health and Family Welfare Department and Labour and Employment and Prosecution departments.
- Child Migration register to be opened at each P.S. & village level in Panchayat office & to be monitored regularly.
- Any trafficking related incident/case should be taken over by AHTU of that district after pre-steps taken by the police station concerned. In this regard, S.P. may pass necessary order.
- Involving the community at large in creating and spreading such awareness.
- Developing a community monitoring system to check AHT cases.
- AHT Units to collaborate with the “Childline-1098 Service” and NGOs for mutual help and assistance.
The Sikkim Police identified the various stakeholders in the State who had a role to play in SYNERGY and enlisted them under the AHTU databank. The following were identified as the Synergy partners as follows:
3. Law enforcement agencies
4. Department of Women and Child Development
9. NGOs for rehabilitation centres
10. Labour Department