Updated: February 6, 2021 9:46:14 pm
The Bombay High Court recently directed the state government to provide details on the status of setting up anti-human trafficking units (AHTU) across all districts. It also asked the central government if the proposal of the state to set up AHTUs has been accepted. A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni on January 27 passed these directions while hearing a PIL filed by NGO Rescue Foundation, working for the rehabilitation of human trafficking victims, seeking directives to the state to implement the amended anti-human trafficking law in letter and spirit.
The NGO, through advocate Chetan Mali, claimed that the state has enabled setting up of such units in only 12 of 36 districts and this was insufficient. It sought directions to the authorities to set up AHTUs in every district and hand over the investigation of all related cases to these units.
The state government, during earlier hearings, had said it was keen to coordinate with other states to strengthen inter-state cooperation on rescue, rehabilitation, safe return, transfer and reintegration of victims of trafficking and prosecution of offenders. The government affidavit further stated that while 12 AHTUs have come up, 24 new ones are being set up in the remaining 24 districts. As per the affidavit, Mumbai, Thane Rural, Thane city, Pune, Sangli, Nagpur, Ahmednagar, Navi Mumbai, Solapur city, Beed, Kolhapur and Yavatmal have AHTUs at present.
Advocate D P Singh, representing the Centre, sought time to obtain instructions regarding the status of the proposal. The court asked him to apprise it whether the proposal has been accepted or not during the next hearing on February 17.
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