NAINITAL: Taking a strict stand on 'rampant human trafficking in the state', Uttarakhand high court (HC) on Thursday asked police officials to "invoke provisions of the Money Laundering Act, 2008 against the persons who are involved in human trafficking, and also attach their properties." The division bench of justices Rajiv Sharma and Alok Singh while hearing an appeal against acquittal of a man who was charged with trafficking a girl from Nepal. also asked the state government to "carry out a verification of children, particularly minor girls and women coming to India from Nepal and counsel them properly."
The court also cited a TOI story 'Government sitting on 'secret' report on national, global trafficking racket in Uttarkhand' which was published on December 5, and directed the state government to "constitute a special investigation Team (SIT), if not already constituted, headed by a senior superintendent of police to investigate the matter within four weeks and to register FIRs against the persons, who were/are involved in human trafficking of boys/girls from shelter homes (as mentioned in the report)." The judges further recommended to the central government to "frame laws based on the model law against trafficking in persons, as drafted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in relation to trafficking, victim and witness protection."
In another significant direction to curb begging on the streets, the HC asked the Uttarakhand government to "ban begging throughout the state by bringing a suitable legislation on the analogy of the UttarPradesh Prohibition of Beggary Act, 1975." Pointing out that "minors are often kidnapped by organised gangs to force them into beggary", the court directed the police department "to conduct DNAs of the parents as well as of the children of the beggars to ensure that the children found in their company are their own children."
Further, the court directed that all the anti-human trafficking units in Uttarakhand "must be headed by a person not below the rank of DSP/CO, and have one inspector, two sub-inspectors, three ASI and 10-15 constables and 50% of these officers should be sensitized women"
Among other directions given by the court were setting up of a photo bank to trace missing children and to display the data on an official website. In order to ensure the safety of the victims of human trafficking, the bench directed the state government to "provide safe and proper accommodation and basic health care to them." The HC also added that the trial of such cases should be held in camera and the state should also involve gram panchayats at the grass-root level to trace missing children.