She was 14-year old when she protested against a group of men, who teased her on the road, little knowing that a few days later she would be trafficked. Trisha Roy, the victim and a resident of Madhyamgram, now aims to rescue a fellow girl from Bengal who was also trafficked.
The US Consulate in Kolkata in collaboration with the NGO Shakti Vahini is fighting human trafficking using Swayam Siddha model that allows a holistic approach by including police and educational institutions. Districts in Bengal such as North and South 24-Parganas are vulnerable to trafficking due to its proximity to the Indo-Bangladesh border.
Trisha recalled to The Statesman the fateful day and said she was moved from one state to another with an aim to traffic her out of the country, eventually. She pointed out that no police came to her help initially when they raided a place where she was kept. She recalled that the police were bribed by her traffickers. She was beaten up and drugged to ensure she didn’t run away.
Talking of the Swayam Siddha model, IPS officer Ajay Mukund Ranade, the creator of the concept, said, “Awareness plays a vital role in checking human trafficking. This model is aimed at preventing such crimes.” Commenting on whether the police must extend more cooperation to the victims and their families, he said that the government is working to ensure that police register FIRs when approached by the victims or their families. In case one doesn’t get help from police, one must approach higher authorities, he opined.
With a large portion of the border between Bengal and Bangladesh being unfenced, he said that West Bengal has its special task force who are in constant touch with the Bangladesh authorities to crack down on trafficking. “Bangladesh also needs to spread awareness on this. At present the rate of human trafficking from Bengal is under check.”
US Consul General Melinda Pavek said, “Human trafficking cannot be solved by one country alone nor can it be solved by a single entity. Governments, NGOs, police, judiciary and others in the society must work together. As the world’s largest democracies marking 75 years of diplomatic relations, India and the United States have a special responsibility to advance democracy, multilateral institutions, inclusive development and human rights in the world. As part of our integrated country strategy goals, we are committed to working together with India in the fight against global terrorism, trafficking and transnational crime.”