Imphal: In a major crackdown, over 100 Nepalese girls were rescued while they were being trafficked from Manipur to Myanmar and further to Southeast Asian as well as gulf countries. The operation was conducted by the Manipur police along with the help of NGOs based in Nepal and India.
As per confirmed sources, some of the rescued women are minors.
Meanwhile, the police have also nabbed four traffickers from different locations of Manipur.
The incident came to light after six girls were rescued in the national capital by the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) on January 30, who revealed that another group of 11-14 women had already left Delhi on the same day.
On February 1, the DCW received a call from Manipur Helpline about a group of Nepalese men and crossing the Manipur border to Myanmar. On the same day, the police team intercepted 16 girls from the Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Moreh waiting to cross into Myanmar, who were sent by Rajiv Sharma, a native of Sunauli town in Nepal, with the assistance of some unknown traffickers.
Meanwhile, Maiti Nepal, a Nepal-based NGO working on trafficking, confirmed the information of girls having been trafficked from Nepal to India, and sounded an alert to Impulse NGO Network, an India-based NGO working closely on the issue, who in turn reportedly alerted the Border Security Force (BSF), social welfare separtment and the state police on January 31.
Upon receiving specific information, the police raided several hotels in Imphal and Moreh, besides other places in the state, and rescued four more girls. Asha Kali Tamang, a suspected Nepalese trafficker, was arrested from a hotel in Manipur.
Later in the evening, 20 more girls were rescued from Raj Cottage in Moreh.
As per local media reports, four other persons including two men were arrested from Hotel Santosh in the capital, by the city police. Subsequently, 61 more girls were rescued from Hotel Junction in Imphal, which led to the arrest of another suspected trafficker.
The rescued girls have all been sent to the state social welfare department, and are being accommodated at government-registered shelter home under the UJJAWALA scheme of the centre.
As admitted by the girls rescued by the DCW, these Nepalese girls were being sent to Iraq and Kuwait via Manipur in lure of job opportunities and better living conditions.
Speaking to EastMojo, Jogesh Chandra, SP, Imphal West, said, “It is difficult to give you the exact number of victims and traffickers arrested because the operation is still on. We have been receiving information from our intelligence network, and we cannot divulge any further details. We are currently working to bust the network of traffickers responsible for this.”
With the efforts to rescue more girls, who are believed to have been brought to Manipur to be trafficked still on, the numbers are expected to rise further.
Meanwhile, 33 more girls have been rescued from the Bir Tikendrajit International Airport in Imphal and another 21 from the border town of Moreh on Saturday. This takes the total number of girls rescued to 161, said sources.