In a PIL seeking the constitution of anti-trafficking cells for the rescue and rehabilitation of women allegedly trafficked into India from Nepal and Bangladesh,the Bombay High Court on Thursday said that the security threat involved in the case cannot be ignored.
Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Roshan Dalvi were hearing a petition filed by India Centre for Human Rights and Law (ICHRL) with Maiti,a Nepalese organisation working against cross-border trafficking. The NGOs stated that women from Nepal and Bangladesh were trafficked to other countries using India as a transit destination. They had cited cases of 69 Nepalese women who had been arrested at the airport in India for traveling with fake documents.
The security angle also needs to be looked into, Justice Dalvi said. What if terrorists enter in the same way? she said adding that the Intelligence Bureau must be alert about such trafficking into the country.
In case of allegedly trafficked women,ICHRLs lawyer Gayatri Singh said the women enter India by crossing the border from Nepal or Bangladesh and before they are sent to countries in the gulf,their traffickers prepare bogus passports which are detected sometimes by the immigration officers. Some women have even traveled to other countries on these documents and come back, Singh told the court.
Singh added instead of booking the women for criminal offences,the women should be taken into custody and produced before a magistrate who should determine whether or not they are trafficked.
Justice Dalvi said Immigration Officers should be trained to deal with such cases sensitively. You cannot just hand them (allegedly trafficked women) over to the police, she remarked.
Singh said in cases where the women get arrested at the airport,it is their alleged traffickers that pay the bail amount and get the women released.Chief Justice Shah said,Instead of granting them bail,they should be sent to corrective homes or the government should make arrangements to send them back to Nepal.
State governments counsel S K Nair,however,said that 50 such women arrested between 2008 and 2011,have been acquitted for want of information as the Royal Nepalese embassy has not been responsive to the governments correspondences regarding the women.