New Delhi: To combat child trafficking in the state, the Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (ASCPCR) will launch a mobile application — ‘Sishu Suraksha’ (child protection) — on 14 November, which is celebrated as Children’s Day.
The app, which will run on both Android and iOS platforms, aims to make the filing of complaints on child sexual abuse, assault and trafficking easier.
Giving details about the app, ASCPCR chairperson Dr Sunita Changkakati told ThePrint ‘Sishu Suraksha’ has various categories under which complaints can be filed.
“We are also planning to add a ‘follow up’ feature in the application once it is launched so that people can keep track of the cases,” she said.
On Tuesday, the ASCPCR chairperson in a press conference in Guwahati said there has been a 55 per cent increase in the number of child trafficking cases in the state in 2019.
According to the commission’s data, Assam had only 11 registered cases of child trafficking in 2018, but 17 such cases have been reported already until 10 November this year, she said.
“The highest number of cases is reported from Sonitpur (three cases) and Chirang (two cases) districts this year. Udalguri and North Lakhimpur have one registered case each. However, this cannot form a conclusion as this data is based on cases reported to us. Even though Dhubri has no registered case, it still suffers from child trafficking,” Changkakati told ThePrint.
She, however, said the good thing is that the increase in the number of registered cases shows the growing level of awareness among people about child trafficking. “Parents who had earlier not reported about the kidnapping of their children are now coming out and filing complaints with the commission,” she said.
‘Anti-Human Trafficking Units are not active in Assam’
To create more and more awareness about the crime, the ASCPCR chairperson said the commission has started organising zonal-level workshops.
“We plan to have a national-level workshop too in order to reduce jurisdiction issues. Through the national workshop, we plan to sign an MoU (memorandum of understanding) with other states as most of the times the child is sent away from the home state,” she said.
Criticising the Anti-Human Trafficking Units (AHTUs) in Assam, Changkakati said they are not “active” at all. She further said they must stop complaining about “limited resources” and work towards the implementation of anti-trafficking laws.
AHTUs come under the home ministry. They are integrated task forces, which comprise police officials and those from the women and child welfare department, and work in collaboration with local NGOs.
Changkakati said unlike the crimes under POCSO Act, where justice can be immediately delivered, anti-trafficking laws have loopholes, which delays justice.
“In most cases, the perpetrators go unpunished even after the crime is reported due to lack of proof. More often the proof required acts as the biggest hurdle and therefore there has not been stringent implementation of (anti-trafficking) laws until now,” she added.