BSF establishes 15 Anti-Human Trafficking Units: Indian State Minister

A Border Security Force (BSF) personnel looks through the binoculars at the 'Anti Cut-Anti Climb' fence introduced along the India-Bangladesh border on 29 January 2022ANI

The Border Security Force (BSF) has established 15 Anti-Human Trafficking Units (AHTUs) on the Bangladesh-India border for curbing and controlling infiltration, human trafficking and smuggling of any contraband, Minister of State for Home Ajay Kumar Mishra told the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

Responding to a query in a written reply, the minister also said that the BSF has taken several steps for strengthening the safety of the border area on the Bangladesh-India International Border.

Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has also provided grant-in-aid to the BSF for establishing AHTUs in the international border area, said Mishra.

The BSF has also undertaken various steps for curbing and controlling infiltration, human trafficking and smuggling of any contraband lime.

A detailed vulnerability mapping carried out along the Bangladesh-India border to strengthen surveillance.

BSF also uses advanced surveillance equipment to strengthen the surveillance mechanism besides the erection of border fences on the international border.

Installation of Border Flood Lights to light up the area during hours of darkness, use of watercraft and boats as well as floating Border Outposts for domination of riverine area of International Border are among other steps taken by the BSF.

Strengthening of intelligence network and coordination with sister agencies as well as simultaneous coordinated patrolling is also conducted jointly between BSF and Border Guard Bangladesh on the Bangladesh-India border, said Ajay Mishra.

India’s Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Kumar Mishra speaks in the Lok Sabha during the Monsoon Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on 26 July 2022

However, he said, the MHA has been supplementing the efforts of the states and Union Territories (UTs) for preventing and countering the crime of human trafficking by undertaking various initiatives.

MHA has provided financial assistance to the tune of Rs 988.6 million under the “Nirbhaya Fund” to all States and Union Territories (UTs), including the North-Eastern States and Assam, during the financial years 2019-20 and 2020-21 for strengthening the existing AHTUs and for establishing new AHTUs covering all districts of the states and UTs.

The MHA provides financial assistance to states and UTs for holding ‘Judicial Colloquiums’ and ‘State level conferences’ on a periodic basis for sensitising judicial and police officials and to make available to them updated information on the latest provisions of law relating to human trafficking, said the minister.

The MHA has also been issuing advisories and guidelines to the states and UTs on preventing and combating the crime of human trafficking on a regular basis, said Mishra, adding “these advisories are available on MHA’s website at:”

The National Investigation Agency Act, 2008 was amended in the year 2019 to authorise the National Investigation Agency to investigate cases of human trafficking under Sections 370 and 370A of the Indian Penal Code, he said.

For addressing cross-border and transnational issues of human trafficking, bilateral Memorandums of Understanding have also been signed with Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates, Cambodia and Myanmar; and multilateral instruments on human trafficking have also been signed by India, added Ajay Mishra.