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Cablegate: New Police Unit in Kolkata to Improve Enforcement of Human

VZCZCXRO2109
PP RUEHBI RUEHCI
DE RUEHCI #0195/01 1841054
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P R 031054Z JUL 07
FM AMCONSUL KOLKATA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1584
INFO RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 1509
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI 0667
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI 0663
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA 0429
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 0437
RUEHGO/AMEMBASSY RANGOON 0289
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 0356
RUEFHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/US CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA 0012
RUEHC/USAID WASHDC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0044
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHCI/AMCONSUL KOLKATA 1952

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KOLKATA 000195

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KCRM KWMN PHUM ELAB SOCI IN NP BG
SUBJECT: NEW POLICE UNIT IN KOLKATA TO IMPROVE ENFORCEMENT OF HUMAN
TRAFFICKING LAWS

REF: NEW DELHI 6588

1. (U) Summary. On June 28, the Criminal Investigation
Department (CID) in West Bengal launched the state's first
Anti-Human Trafficking Unit (AHTU) at its headquarters in
Kolkata in a concerted effort to combat trafficking of persons
in the state. Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee
inaugurated the center and urged senior police officials to
place importance on anti-trafficking efforts. The creation of
the AHTU is part of a program for police training and
capacity-building undertaken by the United Nations Office of
Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in partnership with the GOI's Ministry
of Home Affairs and is supported by USD 2.5 million in USG
funding. A second AHTU in the state in Berhampore, near the
border with Bangladesh, is to open in the next month. End
Summary.

2. (U) Inaugurating the AHTU, Chief Minister Buddhadeb
Bhattacharjee said that human trafficking is not just a law and
order issue but that poverty, illiteracy and social backwardness
are the root causes of this problem. West Bengal, sharing
international borders with Nepal and Bangladesh, experiences
intra- and inter-state trafficking as well as cross-border
trafficking. Addressing a gathering of police, government
officials and NGO representatives, Bhattacharjee said,
"Trafficking is a global problem. It should not be considered a
job of some officers in the unit. All senior officers should
take this problem seriously." He also urged police officials to
work in collaboration with various government departments,
non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as well as students, who
could help raise awareness and campaign against trafficking.
NGOs like Sanlaap have welcomed the initiative. Sanlaap
Director Indrani Sinha told post that Sanlaap has already
started working more closely with police officials and has even
conducted joint training programs on anti-trafficking, and
jointly worked on rescue operations of trafficked victims.

3. (U) Deputy Inspector General (Special) CID Sanjoy Mukherjee,
who is currently responsible for the Kolkata AHTU, said that it
will include three inspectors and six sub-inspectors, who will
be supervised by an officer with the rank of deputy
superintendent of police. The work of the unit will include
conducting raids, investigating crimes, arresting traffickers,
rescuing trafficked victims and arranging for their
rehabilitation with the aid of the state government and NGOs.
For the AHTU in Kolkata, the UNODC has provided a vehicle,
computer system, cell phones, grants for honorariums to NGOs, as
well as funds for post-rescue care and attention of victims of
trafficking. Mukherjee also said that a second AHTU will soon
be set up in a month's time in Berhampore, Murshidabad district,
about 250 kilometers north of Kolkata, near the Bangladesh
border. The Kolkata unit will look into trafficking incidents
reported from the southern parts of the state while the
Berhampore unit will deal with those reported from the northern
districts.

4. (U) UNODC Project Coordinator for Human Trafficking, P.M.
Nair told post that the Chief Minister is very sensitive to the
issue of trafficking in women and children and has assured him
of his government's cooperation to deal with this menace. Nair
said that he has suggested to the Chief Minister that the
achievements of the Kolkata AHTU in the coming months in terms
of cases registered, arrests made, and victims rescued and
rehabilitated, could be held up as an example of how a special
unit to tackle trafficking can make a difference. This practice
can then be institutionalized and AHTUs be set up in every
district of West Bengal with help of funds sought from the
federal government's police modernization program.


KOLKATA 00000195 002 OF 002


5. (SBU) The AHTU in Kolkata follows the creation of similar
AHTUs in trafficking-prone areas of Andhra Pradesh and Goa.
Nair said that the next state which is going to have an AHTU is
Bihar. Following the formation of an AHTU in Andhra Pradesh
three months back, 501 trafficked persons were rescued,
including 91 children, and 697 traffickers were arrested. Nair
also said that recently a trafficker was convicted in Andhra
Pradesh, which is a rare occurrence in India given its
cumbersome legal system.

6. (SBU) Comment: The new AHTU in Kolkata reflects national and
state efforts, with the support of US funding and UNODC
expertise, to bring greater police focus on the problem of human
trafficking. Police typically have not aggressively enforced
anti-trafficking laws but the creation of this special unit
represents a tangible step in combatting trafficking in persons
in West Bengal.
JARDINE

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