Action to be taken by RPF against Human Trafficking under Operation AAHT: Security Circular No. 03/2022
GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
MINISTRY OF RAILWAYS
Principal Chief Security Commissioners /RPF
All Zonal Railways, Kolkata Metro, RDSO, PUs, CORE,
IG Const. NR/ECoR,
Directors- JR RPF Academy/LKO, TC/MLY, TC/KGP,
Principal Chief Security Commissioner/RPSF.
Security Circular 03/2022
Subject: Action to be taken by RPF against Human Trafficking under Operation AAHT
Human Trafficking, especially of Women and Children, for sexual exploitation, prostitution, forced labour, forced marriage, domestic servitude, adoption, begging, organ transplant, drug peddling etc is an organised crime and the most abominable violation of human rights. Perhaps not many crimes are as ghastly as trading in human misery. Human rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution through fundamental mghts are inalienable, non-negotiable and universal. Therefore, trafficking in women and children is a violation of several fundamental rights viz. the right to life, right to liberty and right to human dignity.
In May 2011, Govt. of India ratified the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC) and one of its three protocols includes the protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in person, especially women and children. The UNTOC is the first comprehensive and global legally binding instrument to fight transnational organised crime which provided for a universally accepted definition of “Organised Criminal Group” and also listed the offences which are transnational in nature.
Thousands of Indians and persons from countries like Bangladesh and Nepal, especially women and children, are trafficked everyday to some destinations. They are forced to live like slaves. They survive in brothels as sex workers, in dancing bars, child soldiers, as child brides, in factories doing hazardous work, guesthouse, farms and in the homes of well off Indians, with no control over their bodies and lives. They are also being trafficked for illegal adoptions, organ transplants, working in circus, for begging and for the entertainment industry especially as camel jockeys.
The Indian Railway is one of the world’s largest railway networks over a route of 65,000 kms. and 7,500 stations. It operated around 21,000 trains everyday prior to onset of pandemic COVID-19, of which about 12,000 were passenger trains. The Indian Railways (IR) carried over 23 million passengers daily (pre pandemic level). The other side of the coin is that the Indian Railways is also the largest, fastest and most reliable carrier for traffickers across the country. Scores of women and children get trafficked every year through the well networked railways in our country.
1.0 Role/responsibilities of RPF:-
The “Public Order” and “Police” as per the VIIth Schedule of the Constitution of India are State subjects and detection, registration, investigation and prevention of crime in railways is primarily the responsibility of the State Governments that they discharge through Government Railway Police (GRP) and District Police. However, RPF with its pan India presence cutting across state boundaries, may not only supplement the efforts of GRP/Police by providing assistance as per the provisions contained in RPF Act 1957 (Amended in 2003) pertaining to crime in passenger area and against passengers, but may also act as a bridge to synergise the efforts of various GRPs/District Police. Moreover, the offence of Human Trafficking (HT) has ingredients of a Cognizable Offence and may be dealt by a member of Force as provisioned in Cr PC.
In its OM issued vide F. No. 15011/6/2009-ATC (Advisory) dated 09.09.2009, MHA has mentioned that Police should work closely with immigration authorities, Border Security Force (BSF), Railways and other transport authorities, provincial/territorial and Municipal agencies, with social services, child welfare authorities and with any NGOs involved in service – delivery for supporting and rescuing the victims (Annexure 1). Further, through OM NO F 15011/60/2011 dated 31.01.2012 it has been mentioned that the activities of various departments and agencies in the States/ UTs need to be integrated where RPF is also one of the agencies (Annexure 2). Vide its OM NO. 15011/41/2016-ATC dated 21.07.2017 addressed to Chairman, Railway Board, MHA has mentioned that the RPF & GRP personnel deployed at various Railway Stations need to be suitably sensitized about apprehending and detecting the incidents of HT (Annexure 3).
2.0 How RPF can be helpful in this endeavour –
RPF has a Pan India presence and interacts with almost 23 Million passengers daily. Railway is the safest mode of transport of the victims of HT particularly during long distance journey. During last 5 years (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 & 2021) RPF has rescued 2178 persons from the clutches of Traffickers besides rescue of several other children, women and men who could be potential victims of HT. As per the NCRB records, on an average about 2200 cases of HT are registered per annum. RPF is involved in train escorting, platform duties and several other duties in passenger area where they may identify and apprehend traffickers and rescue the trafficked persons. Focused and sincere efforts of trained RPF personnel may provide clues to bust the HT racket. The infrastructure and intelligence network of RPF can also be utilised for this purpose with minimal additional assistance as RPF is regularly working in coordination with the local intelligence units, local police other LEAs, IB, NGOs involved in rescue and rehabilitation of children among others.
Though, RPF is not empowered for investigation of cases of HT, we can collect, collate and analyse clues in respect of victims, source, route and destination of HT, popular trains being used by traffickers, identity of carriers, agents, handlers and kingpins etc involved in HT, can assist in investigation of Police and also launch joint action with AHTUs to bust HT rackets. We may also act as bridge cutting across state boundaries to help various GRPs/District police forces coordinate their detective/investigative efforts. Presently the persons rescued & offenders arrested are being handed over to the concerned Police for further necessary action and we do not follow the disposal of such cases. If we gather clues (including digital clues) from these foot soldiers of HT, verify, collate, analyse, develop and pass on actionableRead further Click here to view/download