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Andhra Pradesh : Anti-trafficking units filed 125 cases in 2021

VIJAYAWADA: The Andhra Pradesh government has established 13 Anti-Human Trafficking Units (AHTUs) in the State by allocating Rs 1.60 crore in FY 2020-21.

According to a study conducted by NGOs Sanjog and Tafteesh ‘AHTU Watch 2022 – What has changed?’ through the data received through Right to Information (RTI), 125 cases of human trafficking for Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE) were registered in AP by AHTUs during 2020-21.

Of the 125 CSE cases, 99 were registered under Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 and Sections 370, 370A, 372 and 373 of the IPC.The report said 13 AHTUs are housed in Disha Police Stations. Nodal Officers of AHTUs have been appointed and each AHTU has one inspector, two sub-inspectors, two head constables and two constables.

The RTI response stated that as per GO Rt. No. 317, the State government has sanctioned Rs 1.60 crore towards setting up and strengthening AHTUs in Andhra Pradesh for FY 2020-21, but there is no data on the utilisation of the funds.

The study revealed that 1,300 cases were registered by police against sexual offences (sexual offences against adults and children u/s 376 IPC and POCSO) in 2019, 1,362 in 2020 and 1,565 in 2021 and of them trials were pending in 1,046, 1,077 and 744 cases, respectively.

The conviction was limited to 6, 2 and 0 in the years 2019, 2020 and 2021 and the accused were acquitted in 55, 17 and 11 cases in those years.It is clear that there are many more acquittals than convictions, with the majority of cases pending trial or under investigation.

Further, there are many more cases of sexual assault registered than cases of CSE and the acquittals outweigh convictions in cases of sexual offences (Section 376 and POCSO), with the majority of cases pending trial or under investigation.Pompi Banerjee, the researcher, said that the number of AHTUs in AP should increase from 13 to 26, one per each district. She said that the full-time staff must be allocated for AHTUs.

Tafteesh AP state partner Ramamohan Nimmaraju and also the secretary of HELP, an NGO, appreciated CID Additional DGP Suneel Kumar for his efforts in strengthening AHTUs by starting services in all the erstwhile districts. He suggested all the police stations in the state must transfer ITPA and AHTU cases to AHTUs for the convenience of resolving them easily and ensuring 100 percent conviction. He said the ATHUs should foucs more on trafficking cases.

99 cases under Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act : 125 cases of human trafficking for Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE) were registered in AP by AHTUs during 2020-21. Of them, 99 were registered under Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 and Sections 370, 370A, 372 and 373 of the IPC.