Double Whammy: Women trafficking rampant in Odisha’s migrant-prone districts!

Three women getting trafficked every ten days in Odisha during the last one -year is simply numbing. Big blooper for State is it is emerging as women 'outsourcing' state in country

Bhubaneswar: The crime against women in Odisha has taken an ominous turn. Women trafficking has gone rampant in Odisha in year 2019.

The hard numbers of three women getting trafficked every ten days in Odisha during the last one -year are simply numbing. The big blooper for the State is it is emerging as women ‘outsourcing’ state in the country.

With a massive 117 women trafficking cases, the year 2019 logged the biggest spike in women trafficking since 2015. Odisha had recorded 51 trafficking cases in 2018. The cases registered in 2016 were 84.

The emerging worrying trend in the realm of crime against women in the State  has popped up recently, when Minister of State (Home) Dibyashakar Mishra made a statement in the State Assembly about a129 per cent rise in women trafficking in the State in response to a query asked by ruling party MLA Umakant Samantray. The Minister has also made a detailed statement on district-wise trafficking cases registered in the State last year.

A look at the data reveals very big. It is the migrant -prone districts in the State that have recorded the lion’s share of the women trafficking cases in the State.

Nuapada with 41 women trafficking cases topped the State in 2019. As per the State government data, Nuapada district records maximum migration in Odisha.

And, coincidentally, the district that followed Nuapada is Balangir with a total of 14 trafficking cases in 2019. The common thread here is both top as the migrant – prone districts in the State.

The sheer coincidence is not limited to these  two districts. Trafficking cases have been reported from other districts like Nabarangpur, Rayagada, Kalahandi and Malkangiri. Coincidentally, all the districts have been identified by Odisha government as migrant-prone belt in the State.

As per Minister’s statement, other districts that have contributed to the burden of women trafficking are: Sundargarh, Keonjhar, Jagatsighpur, Bhadrak, Mayurbhanj, Sambalpur and Angul.

A look at the recent data (2018 and 2019) shows only three districts – Cuttack, Jajpur and Gajapati – have recorded nil trafficking cases in the State.

What is the link between women trafficking and migration? As per a high-ranking police official, women, especially adolescent girls, were being trafficked from these districts to states like Maharashtra, Delhi, Haryana, Gujarat, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.  And the trafficking routes are Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh.

Even, it was being observed that some of the migrant workers from Odisha settled in the destination states have become active members of big trafficking rackets there, the official revealed and added that this is proving a force multiplier in women trafficking cases from the districts.

How it becomes a force multiplier? The official observed that interstate trafficking networks there not only elicit information about prospective targets but also spread their tentacles to the local network here through them.

Is policing ineffective in the districts? The big revelation, as per the high-ranking police official, is it has come to fore that the web of traffickers’ network here are in control of local goons, who at times are having nexus with local influential politicians and, sadly, with local SHOs (station house officers) playing the ball, the criminal network unabashedly continue the trade.

Why Women trafficking is flourishing? Woman trafficking has emerged as a very lucrative business where the profit is high and, unlike smuggling, the risk is low, he observed.

How the risk is low? Traffickers induce poor families in the name of job; and when parents loses all contact with their daughters, rush to police stations to file complaints, the senior police official explained. This helps them get off hook, he quipped.