GUWAHATI, May 3 � The coastal areas of the southern India are the new hotspot for sex trafficking involving young girls and women from the North East, especially Assam.
According to a fresh finding, hundreds of girls and women are now being sourced from Assam to States like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, to be forced into the flesh trade.
The ugly and hitherto unknown dimension of sex trade, involving victims mostly from Assam, has been brought to light by a team of researchers and activists from Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi�s NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA).
A yet-to-be-released report of the BBA has found large-scale trafficking of young girls and women from Assam and its neighbouring areas, to States like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
The findings suggest that there is now a huge demand for young girls and women from the North East in the sex trade in South India, which was hardly known till recently.
Researchers and activists working on the issue have also reported an alarming exodus of young girls and women from Assam to South India in the last couple of years, where they are forced into prostitution and even marriage, besides being exploited as cheap work force in garment industries.
Investigation made by the BBA team found that the victims from Assam and some other parts of the North East have been sold to unscrupulous elements operating in those areas, after which they were subjected to both physical and sexual exploitation.
�During day time, they are employed in garment factories and other allied industries, and at night they are sexually exploited. It�s a very new and disturbing trend witnessed in the southern part of India,� Rakesh Senger, head of the victims� assistance cell of BBA, told The Assam Tribune.
Places in close proximity to Coimbatore have large-scale presence of trafficked young girls from Assam, he said.
Till recently, it was mostly to the North India that victims from the North East were lured with promises of lucrative jobs and better lifestyle. The developments in the southern India are certainly new and alarming, Senger said, adding, �The report that we are compiling will carry upsetting and unknown facets of sex trade involving girls from the North East India.�
He said that the traffickers now use new routes and the Rangiya station is one of the major transit routes.
In view of the trend witnessed in southern India, the BBA has decided to impart training to the law-enforcers, especially those dealing with human trafficking and flesh trade.
He also stated that besides the North East, a few case involving women from Sunderban and Malda has also been found, but largely, the demand is mostly for those from the North East.
A senior police officer, when asked, said that although police has no concrete information about this trend, they would certainly look into the matter. He agreed that apart from the vulnerable areas where displacement has taken place on a large scale, trafficking from other districts like Bongaigaon and Kamrup is also rampant.