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Bangladeshi trafficking victim’s repatriation cannot be stalled: Calcutta High Court- Mrit News

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The survivor has been in Liluah Home at Howrah for safe custody since December 2017.

The survivor has been in Liluah Home at Howrah for safe custody since December 2017.

The Calcutta High Court has granted relief to a trafficking survivor, pointing out that successful completion of the trial in the cases cannot be cited as the reason to stall repatriation of the victim to her own country.

The petitioner, a Bangladeshi national, had approached the Calcutta High Court challenging an order where her repartriation was rejected on grounds that it would affect the ongoing trial in the cases.

“Success in the trial cannot be a ground to stall repatriation of the victim lady to her own country. After all, she is a victim in this case and while the accused are at large, the victim is languishing in protective custody,” Justice Jay Sengupta said in the order. The High Court thus set aside the earlier order that Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Bongaon, North 24 Parganas passed on 19.03.2021.

The High Court’s order, earlier this month, had pointed out that the Bangladeshi national was trafficked to India “for the purpose of exploitation in the flesh trade”. She was rescued and a case was registered December 9, 2017 under Sections 370, 371, 120B, 34 of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 3, 4, 5, 7 of The Immoral Traffic Act. The survivor was sent to Liluah Home at Howrah for safe custody on December 10, 2017. In the meantime, a charge-sheet was submitted but the investigating agency could not apprehend the accused.

While trafficking from economically backward regions of the State remains a matter of concern, there are also incidents of Bangladeshi nationals being trafficked to India. The South Bengal Frontier of BSF guarding the West Bengal-Bangladesh border has rescued 33 victims, mostly Bangladeshi nationals (28 women and 5 minor girls) and registered a total of 29 cases in the year 2021.

Nihar Ranjan Raptan, director of Goranbose Gram Bikash Kendra (GGBK), an organisation working for the rehabilitation of trafficking survivors said that a number of Bangladeshi women are lodged in various State-run homes not only in West Bengal but also in other parts of the country such as in Mumbai and Pune. “The survivors do not want to stay in the homes and sometimes they tell wrong addresses and give identity as residents of West Bengal just to return home,” Mr. Raptan said.

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