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Human traffickers active in Mizoram

Aizawl, Jul 29, 2018 : Human trafficking is active in Mizoram despite several steps taken by the state government and police, police officials said on Saturday.

"'Backward states like Mizoram are vulnerable to human trafficking and most victims are lured with the promise of lucrative jobs," a senior police officer said.

According to Mizoram CID, crime branch, records, at least 24 cases of human trafficking have been registered under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act since 2000, of which 22 have been chargesheeted, one is pending and one was registered this year. The records say 38 people, some of them aged below 14, were victims of human trafficking while at least 46 people, including 16 non-tribals, were arrested in this connection during this period. Such cases were highest in 2004 and 2005 with four cases registered by the state police every year. However, no cases were registered in 2003, 2007, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

"'The actual number of cases could be much higher as it is certain that many cases went unrecorded,"' the police officer said.

This year, one case has been registered so far. A Rohingya Muslim from neighbouring Myanmar was arrested at Vaiphai village in south Mizoram's Champhai district in February for allegedly trafficking two girls, he said.

The police said the highest number of human trafficking cases in the state were of girls being forced into prostitution.

In 2011, a Mizoram police team, led by Joseph Lalchhuana, superintendent of police, CID (crime), had rescued four girls who were forced into prostitution in Mumbai, a police officer said.

One of the girls hailed from the Mizoram-Assam border town of Vairengte and the other three were from Lunglei district in south Mizoram. All four were lured into going to Mumbai by a Mizo girl, identified as Zodingliani, 28, and her two non-tribal accomplices, Shodit Hasta Thapa, 28, from Nepal and Gopal Dhokal Mandal, 32, from Mumbai. The trio promised the girls jobs in beauty parlours but sold them into flesh trade.

The police had arrested 10 people for human trafficking in 2011, which is the highest number of arrests in a year so far.

A study conducted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in 2013 revealed that traffickers in Mizoram employ agents and have accomplices in the rural areas to lure girls from villages and from Myanmar with promises of lucrative jobs outside the state.

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