Hyderabad: Rachakonda police commissioner Mahesh Bhagwat’s work to curb human trafficking has received another international recognition. Mr Bhagwat has been has been listed in the 100 Human Trafficking and Slavery Influence Leaders.
Speaking to this newspaper about the honour, Mr Bhagwat said taking action against traffickers was “not an easy task”.
Mr Bhagwat has been been involved in anti-trafficking operations since 2004. “I started my work against trafficking in Hyderabad and then branched out to different areas of undivided Andhra Pradesh,” he said. Recollecting his journey, which included working with CID’s Women Protection Cell , he said, “It was a joint effort by United Nations and ministry of home affairs and gave me an opportunity to work in cities across the nation, namely Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai and Pune.”
He said the police needs to have cooperation from the state government and other agencies like NGOs. “Anti-trafficking is not just about rescue, but also about transportation of victims to a safe place. Rehabilitation is a big part of this effort and it is tough because often the victims escape from the centre,” Mr Bhagwat said.
The officer said the police job was limited to rescuing the victims. To give complete security to the victims, equal participation from the government is needed. “It is important to rehabilitate the victims so that they do not rejoin the trafficking network,” he said.
Mr Bhagwat said that his team also ensures that the victims get financial assistance.
He said that NGOs like Prajwala, Ankuram and HELP have helped in safe transportation and rehabilitation of rescued women and children.
Mr Bhagwat said prevention, protection and prosecution were the 3Ps of anti-trafficking. Prevention means not letting the vulnerable women and children fall prey to the traffickers. Protection involves rescuing them and encouraging to speak against the traffickers in the court of law, which will fast-track their conviction constitutes prosecution.
Mr Bhagwat said the police had recently started Odia medium schools in Adibatla, Choutuppal and Chikatimamidi for children who were trafficked from Odisha. He said these schools were being run with the help of the district collector and brick factory owners. The children are also provided with mid-day meals....