State women and child development minister Sashi Panja said on Thursday that firmer laws and prosecution of offenders could curb rising incidents of child trafficking in Bengal.
“Prosecution of offenders is one area in which the state is lagging behind. Firmer laws need to be framed so that offenders are not let out easily,” she said during the release of guidelines for the formation and strengthening of Child Protection Committees (CPC) at a Kolkata event.
The minister added that data collection was another area her department was working on. “A major stumbling block in data collection is that police lodges missing complaints for lost children. It is only during investigation that it is revealed that the child was trafficked to another state,” she said.
“The CPCs will be formed at every block and village level. They work at the lowest level and are the most effective. The committees, comprising panchayat members, police officers and NGO workers, will keep a track on the entry and exit of strangers in a particular area or block,” Panja said.
She added that the Trafficking Advisory Committee under West Bengal Task Force would work towards signing inter-state MOUs to retrieve trafficked children.
“It has so far tied up with Maharashtra. But, more often than not, the victims belonged to Bangladesh,” Panja said.
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