Woman Trafficking

Kirity Roy

On 14 July 2021 Border Security Force, Frontier Head Quarter North Bengal, Siliguri released one press statement that their troops of 61 Battalion BSF apprehended a Bangladeshi woman namely Halima Begum, aged about 35 years, daughter of Abdul Hanib, resident of village Hamar, Madanpur Bhogduma, PO & PS Birganj, Dist. Danajpur, Bangladesh during the time of crossing international border from India to Bangladesh through unfenced area of Hili Border Out Post. In the said press release it was officially informed to the public that the victim woman was trafficked fifteen years ago through Malda border with the help of an Indian tout namely Samrat resident of Bihar. Samrat took her to district Mansa, Punjab where the victim was sold to an Indian national namely Mr Sarjit Singh for Rs 10,000 who exploited and kept the victim at his home for eleven years and gave birth to a child. The victim somehow escaped from the house of Sarjit Singh and reached Mansa bus stand where she met an unknown lady who handed over her to one Mr Tota Singh and he also exploited her. The victim was managed to escape from his house and somehow reached Hili, South Dinajpur district in West Bengal to cross the international border with intention to meet her family in Bangladesh and that time she was apprehended by the BSF and handed over to Hili Police Station for legal action.

From this official statement of the BSF, Frontier Head Quarter North Bengal with pictures and documents released for Press, it is revealed that victim had no intention or purpose to illegally enter in our country rather she is a victim of sex trafficking and for last fifteen years she was exploited by two Indians and gave birth one child.

In truth no person can publish in print, electronic, social media, etc. the name of the rape victim or even in a remote manner disclose any facts which can lead to the victim being identified and which should make her identity known to the public at large. According to section 228A of Indian Penal Code anyone publishing the name of a rape victim is liable to be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years and shall also be liable to fine. But here Border Security Force authority, North Bengal Frontier Head Quarter published their official statement regarding the case and disclosed the name and even photos of this victim woman and thereby revealed her identity open to all. Here, the BSF violates the general rule of law which derogates the social justice to a sex trafficked victim.

Secondly, BSF 61 Battalion apprehended the victim lady and handed over to the Hili Police station for registration a case. Here again Border Security Force authority and police officials of Hili Police Station violates the advisory issued by the Government of India vide office memorandum No. 14051/14/2011-F.VI of Ministry of Home Affairs (Foreigners Division) Government of India dated 1st May, 2012 where it was clearly stated that the foreign victims of human trafficking are found without valid passport or visa and where woman or child is found to be a victim, she should not be prosecuted under Foreigners Act and immediate action must be taken to repatriate the victim.

It is a systemic violation of law by the administration and judiciary in the state of West Bengal. On 14.07.2021 the victim was produced before the Additional Chief Judical Magistrate’s court, Balurghat in connection with GR case number 851/2021 and Hili Police Station case number 141/2021 under section 14A(a)/(b) of Foreigners Act and the victim lady was sent to judicial custody for 14 days without given a little respect to the advisory issued by the Government of India vide office memorandum No. 14051/14/2011-F.VI of Ministry of Home Affairs (Foreigners Division) Government of India dated 1st May, 2012. Victim of slavery became accused of a crime.

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Vol. 54, No. 11, Sep 12 - 18, 2021