Hyderabad, March 13: The figures pertaining to human trafficking in India are startling. According to the government crime data, 8,132 human trafficking cases were registered in 2016 against 6,877 in 2015. This means in a year's time, India witnessed 20 per cent rise in cases related to human trafficking. The figures related to 2017 are yet to be made public by the government. The available data shows that cases of trafficking are mostly reported from West Bengal, followed by Rajasthan.
Activists working in the field to rescue and rehabilitate victims of trafficking said that the government figures are just a tip of the iceberg. "The actual numbers could be much higher," maintain activists.
In an attempt to curb the menace of trafficking in Telangana, Prajwala, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) working in the field of anti-trafficking, the United States Consulate General in Hyderabad and the Telugu film industry (popularly known as Tollywood) have joined hands.
At an event in Hyderabad on Monday, members of the US consulate, NGO and film industry screened a series of short video clips with a motto to generate awareness on the ills of trafficking. The organisers of the event stated that the video clips on anti-trafficking will be screened in movie theatres and educational institutions to reach out to maximum people and address the issue head-on.
The United States Consul General Katherine Hadda said that trafficking and sex work are problems faced by all societies. She asked everyone to fight against the menace.
Noted film personalities from Tollywood like Allu Aravind and Amala Akkineni, and Rachakonda Commissioner of Police Mahesh Bhagwat attended the Monday's anti-trafficking event to lend their support to the cause.
In February, the cabinet approved the country's first anti-human trafficking bill. The bill is expected to be voted into law by Parliament soon. As per the new law, traffickers could be jailed for 10 years or, in some cases, for life. If convicted, they could be fined at least Rs 100,000. The legislation also mandates the establishment of special courts to expedite trafficking cases, setting a deadline of one year for trial and repatriation.
Activists say traffickers abduct or lure women and children, mostly from remote villages, with false promises of jobs before selling them off to brothels, factories or gangs which force them into begging.
"The idea of screening the video clips in theatres and educational institutions is to raise awareness against trafficking. Cinema halls are always the best places to attract people's attention on any subject. Similarly, we get to address the problem among youngsters at the educational institutions," said a member of the NGO.
So, next time when you go and watch a film in Telangana, don't just come back home with memories of enjoying your favourite movie, do something to end the menace of trafficking too.