The rescue of five girls, who were being trafficked, from the Bagdogra Airport, has put the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) on its toes here.
The personnel have gone on an extra alert and are keeping a strict watch on girls and women who exhibit “unusual behaviour” at the airport.
Though doing so is not the CISF’s main duty, the decision has been taken after the five girls were rescued in two separate incidents at the airport last week.
All girls were being trafficked from different areas in Nepal, officials have said. Sources said traffickers have changed their modusoperandi when it comes to taking girls from this region to Delhi, other states and even abroad.
“Traffickers have slowly given up on the railway network and have started using the airways,” officials said.
Official sources said traffickers take advantage of the “heavy rush,” especially during VIP movement, as all police and other security personnel keep themselves busy to clear the rush.
“With human trafficking, another group of people also use the airport to smuggle contraband items during the rush,” the sources said.
According to the sources, a senior CISF officer saw a woman behaving strangely and suspiciously inside the terminal building last Thursday.
The CISF suspected something was wrong even as the girl was on her way to Delhi without any luggage.
“Another woman, who brought her there, asked the girl to stay inside and went out of the terminal building. Though the woman told her that she would be joining her back after buying food, she did not return,” the sources said.
With the help of an NGO, officials came to know that the girl’s uncle had arranged for Rs 30,000 for the treatment of her father, who was seriously ill.
After that the uncle suggested she join a job in India to earn money. It may be noted that there was huge rush at the airport on Friday last as West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee flew back to Kolkata.
While no trafficking cases were reported on Friday, five adult girls were under the scanner at the airport following some unusual behaviour on their part on Saturday.
One of the women was smart and she said she wished to go to foreign lands like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
Though initially, four girls, all of them from Nepal, argued and wanted the officials to allow them to board the flight, they were later grilled and they disclosed and told the officials under what circumstances they were going out of their country.
“Later after counselling, as they refused to board their flights and wished to return home, the airport authorities informed the police and handed them over to an organization.
During the rescue operation, officials revealed that an agency here confirms air tickets by paying high rates as the girls arrive at the Siliguri- Jalpaiguri areas from Nepal. Officials also suspect that a racket is active in issuing fake Nepalese identity (citizenship) cards for women/girls who are trafficked.