In the wake of a rise in number of women trafficked from West Bengal to Maharashtra, the state department of women and child welfare will soon sign a pact with its counterpart in the eastern state to ensure proper rehabilitation of the victims.
Officials said most of such women, who are sent back to Bengal, end up in Maharashtra due lack of adequate mechanism to help them enter the mainstream. Most of these women are pushed into sex trade, while a few work as house helps.
"Women from Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are also brought here. In the near future, we will have agreements with them too. But since 25 per cent of the victims are from WB, the process was initiated with that state first," said an official from the state department.
Elaborating on the situation, V K haire, inspector from Juhu police station, said their team had rescued two women during a raid some time ago. However, he found the same names in the list of women rescued by the Khar police after some time."
There are 14 observation homes in Maharashtra where rescued women are kept before they are sent to their home state/countries.
However, the rehabilitation process gets complicated due to multiple factors such as raids independently conducted by police, where child welfare department is not kept in the loop, Bengali-speaking Bangladeshi nationals claiming themselves as WB residents, direct release of victims from courts. In such cases, the likelihood of these women falling prey to traffickers is very high.
Now, a memorandum of understanding between the two states offers some hope. Ujjwal Uke, principal secretary of the state women and child department said, "We are still finalising the details of the MoU. If such women are rehabilitated properly, it might in reduce instances of repeated trafficking." Uke said the process is expected to be completed in two weeks.