Police rescue 51 women being trafficked from Odisha

The women were being taken to Tamil Nadu to work in a garment factory

By Hrusikesh Mohanty
Published: Thursday 07 October 2021
Police rescue 51 women being trafficked from Odisha's Kandhamal. Photo: Hrusikesh Mohanty

As many as 51 young women, allegedly being trafficked to Tamil Nadu, were rescued from Baliguda in Kandhamal district, Odisha October 5, 2021, according to cops. Around 47 of them were from Kandhamal and four from Bhadrak district. 

Two women from these districts were leading the racket. “The duo were taking them to Tiruppur in Tamil Nadu to work in a garment factory but had no labour license,” said assistant labour officer of Kandhamal, Subhadashini Nayak. 

A show-cause notice will be issued and action will be taken against the accused, she added.

Human-trafficking has been on the rise in Odisha, especially in the tribal-dominated districts, ever since movement restrictions were eased amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

On July 21, 2021, 27 persons, including 25 women, were rescued from Rayagada Railway Station. They were being taken to Andhra Pradesh and Kerala when a joint team of Railway Protection Force and Government Railway Police rescued them. All of them were from Rayagada and Kandhamal districts, sources said.

“Human trafficking increased in the state after lockdown, mostly from the remote villages in the tribal-majority villages due to loss of livelihoods and jobs,” said Sudhir Sabat, an anti-trafficking activist.

The victims are lured with promises of jobs with decent salaries and accommodations by the traffickers, he added. “But in most cases, they are exploited by factory owners who pay them low wages and make them work overtime.” 

In several cases, young women are also sexually exploited, he said.

Odisha reported the highest number of human trafficking cases for forced labour in the country, according to the National Crime Record’s Bureau 2020 data. Last year, 741 people were trafficked from the state and at least 653 of them were trafficked for forced labourers. 

Around 44.97 per cent of the total victims trafficked for forced labour in the India last year were from Odisha. Jharkhand ranked second with 193 people trafficked in 2020, the report said.

Police in Odisha registered 103 human trafficking cases and arrested 189 traffickers in 2020, the report said. In 2019, they had registered 147 human trafficking cases,  sources said.

Sabat said many more people and children might have been trafficked from remote areas of Odisha without the knowledge of police. 

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