NHRC seeks report from West Bengal govt on policies to prevent sex trade at Sonagachi

Date: May 15, 2021
Source: Yahoo News (ANI)
Location: New Delhi, India

 The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Saturday sought a report from the chief secretary of the West Bengal government on the policies framed to prevent sex trade at Asia’s largest red-light area, Sonagachi in West Bengal.

The NHRC also asked the West Bengal government to submit an action taken report on the compliance of the directions of the Supreme Court laid down in the Budhadev Karmaskar against West Bengal state case within six months.

The Commission also directed the Principal Secretary Department of Women and Child Development, Union Health Ministry, and the Chief Secretary of the state government to conduct a survey along with the Indian Institute of Science, over the condition of the victims of Sonagachi from social, legal and health points of view and rehabilitate them with the prohibition of prostitution in the area.

The NHRC passed the order acting on a petition and subsequent submission by noted human rights activist and Supreme Court lawyer Radhakanta Tripathy.

In his petition, Tripathy has alleged basic violation of human rights of minor girls, women suffering from rape/sexual abuse and victims of human trafficking at West Bengal’s Sonagachi area.

He, in his complaint, alleged inaction and negligence of the state mechanism. He prayed to the commission to intervene in the matter and keep surveillance over the issue, and along with all the stakeholders do the needful for permanent solution to the issue that has been continuing for decades.

In pursuance of the directions of the commission, the Kolkata Police Commissioner stated that extensive search was made by the police to trace out the victims and a strict vigil is being maintained throughout the year over the Sonagachi area to prevent human trafficking as well as sexual exploitation.

“Local Police Station and detective department of Kolkata Police also record cases as per provision of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act,” the police commissioner said.

In its report, the Secretary Department of Women and child development and social welfare, the government of West Bengal stated that the government of West Bengal has taken a series of steps to deal with the issue of human trafficking through the department of women and child development and social welfare.

Tripathy, who has been instrumental in ensuring justice to sex workers of GB Road, a prominent red light area in the national capital, in his rejoinder stated that had the state government taken sincere measures, Sonagachi would not become infamous as the largest red-light area in Asia for flesh trade and running brothels.

“The plight of the girls and women engaged in the area and the condition of their children is miserable,” Tripathy told ANI.

Tripathy requested the NHRC to investigate the case independently and sought details about the policy framed to check/prevent such types of sex-trade/brothel in Sonagachi and to submit the action taken report on the compliance of the directions of the Supreme Court.

Tripathy also requested the NHRC to direct the Chief Secretary of the state to pay due compensation as prescribed under the “Nirbhaya” scheme launched by the Central government without delay and ensure benefits of social welfare schemes to all the victims. (ANI)

Read the Yahoo News (Source) article here.