Tuesday, November 29, 2022

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NHRC notices Kerala govt, DGP over repeated incidents of missing girls from shelter homes

New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission on Wednesday issued notices to Kerala government and the state’s police chief over reports that nine girls went missing from a shelter home at Manganam in Kottayam, Kerala.

Besides this, the Commission, considering that the incidents of missing girls happening repeatedly in Kottayam, has asked it’s Special Rapporteur, Hari Sena Verma to visit Kottayam and submit within two months a report, including the facts related to the instant case also. He is also expected to suggest measures to avoid such incidents in the future, NHRC said, in a statement.

The Commission has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary, Kerala, calling for a report of the incident along with the action taken report, it said.

It should also be reported whether there was any involvement of a public servant from the Department of Social Justice or Child Welfare Committee to enable the girls to run away from the shelter home, it added.

“The report must explain the reasons for the dissatisfaction and disillusionment of the missing girls with their stay in the said shelter home.”

A notice has also been issued to the Director General of Police, Kerala regarding the status of the case registered for missing girls from Manganam in Kottayam and arrest, if any.

The report must also contain the status of the implementation of the SOP for Combating Trafficking of Persons in India, issued by the Commission in the year 2017 to prevent trafficking within the State of the vulnerable sections of society. The commission expects response from the officers within two weeks, the statement added.

3rd such incident reported from Kottayam

The human rights body took suo motu cognizance of media reports that nine girls went missing from a shelter home at Manganam in Kottayam, Kerala. Reportedly, when traced by the police at the residence of one of the inmates, the girls resisted their return back to the shelter home.

This is 3rd such incident reported from Kottayam in recent months, the statement said.

The Commission has observed that going by the contents of the media reports, it appears that there is a lack of supervision and effective monitoring of the shelter home, run by an NGO, Mahila Samakhya. Despite this, it is accredited by the Social Justice Department and the Child Welfare Committee, it said.

It seems that the inmates are not satisfied or happy with their stay in this shelter home. There is a prima facie possibility of some kind of inhuman and undignified treatment being meted out to these girls forcing them to leave it.

Missing girls may be cause for trafficking: NHRC

The Commission, over the years, has been consistently advocating that missing children, including the girls, may be the cause for trafficking to be exploited sexually or into slavery for forced labour at households, massage parlors, and spas: They may be subjected to illegal adoption or child marriage.

That is why it issued a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Combating Trafficking of Persons in India in the year 2017 but it has observed that concerted efforts from all stakeholders need to be augmented to eradicate a social menace like human trafficking, it said.

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