BENGALURU, India, Feb 8 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - New
software for police could revolutionise the fight against human
trafficking in northeast India and speed up cross-border
investigations with Bangladesh and Myanmar, its creators said.
Police in six Indian states now have access to the Impulse
Case Info Centre software, which provides new ways of sharing
intelligence, accessing a database of wanted traffickers and
getting updates on cases.
Reports of human trafficking in India rose by 25 per cent in
2015 compared to the previous year, with northeast states such
as Assam reporting the highest number of minor girls being
trafficked, according to government data.
Years of ethnic conflict in many parts of the northeast have
made it a trafficking hotspot, campaigners say, adding that the
region is a source, destination and transit point.
Sanjeevan Devnath of the start-up DFM Info Analytics said it
took two years to develop and fine tune the software.
"The biggest challenge was the fact that our users were
going to be policemen, many of whom had never worked with a
computer before," said Devnath.
Salomi Thommy of the charity Impulse, that worked with
Devnath to develop the system, said it can provide detailed
information such as profiles of traffickers.
"The best feature is the alert mechanism that tells
investigators if there are other cases registered involving the
same trafficker they are looking for," said Thommy.
Thousands of people, mostly from poor rural areas, are taken
to India's cities every year by gangs who sell them into bonded
labour or hire them out to unscrupulous employers.
Many end up as domestic workers or labourers in brick kilns,
roadside restaurants or small textile and embroidery workshops.
Many women and girls are sold into brothels.
The software has connected India's northeastern states with
anti-trafficking units in Bangladesh and Myanmar, fast-tracking
Devnath and his team collated the statistics on trafficking
cases, building a database of traffickers, the routes they
frequently use and the vulnerable people they target.
"We have been able to solve many cases by logging into this
system," said Yankeela Bhutia, head of the anti-trafficking unit
in Sikkim. "Many traffickers are criss-crossing the borders in
the region and this system makes it easy to track them."
(Reporting by Anuradha Nagaraj, Editing by Ed Upright.; Please
credit Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson
Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights,
trafficking and climate change. Visit news.trust.org)