A total of 2,447 people who fell victim to human trafficking were rescued in the state of Maharashtra during 2017-2019. Out of 2,447 victims rescued in the state in this period, almost 88% were intended to be forced into prostitution. The other victims were alleged to be made beggars or bonded labourers.
As per experts, the number of such cases is high in Maharashtra as compared to other states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Experts stated that the number of cases is on the rise as they are being reported more actively.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), agencies in Maharashtra rescued 40% of trafficked victims from sexual exploitation. As many as 5,240 people were rescued across the country, out of which, 2,146 people were rescued from Maharashtra. Of the national figure, 678 were minors and 4,562 adults, of which 153 minors and 1,993 adults were rescued from sexual exploitation in Maharashtra.
In the remaining cases, the fates awaiting the victims include begging, servitude, and forced labour or marriage. There has been a gradual rise in rescues in the state during this period.
Across the country, 678 rescued victims were minors and 4,562 were adults, media reported. The NCRB report revealed that the number of sexual exploitation victims was 474 in 2017. The number rose up to 726 and 946 in 2018 and 2019. Among the states, Maharashtra is followed by Rajasthan as a distant second and then Delhi, Bihar, and Andhra Pradesh.
While Maharashtra topped the list of rescues, the other spots were occupied by Rajasthan, Delhi Bihar and Andhra Pradesh. D Sivanandhan, former IPS officer said, “It seems like more registration of cases is being done in Maharashtra, and thus detection is more. It is like our state’s comparatively high COVID cases, which is simply because Maharashtra is testing more than many other states, naturally resulting in a higher caseload being reflected in national data sets.”
Experts say human trafficking in India likely affects 2-6.5 crore people, the majority being women. Jaimini Kumar Srivastava from the National Human Rights Commission said, “We have sent an advisory on human trafficking to Union ministries and all states and UTs for implementation and sought action-taken reports.”