NHRC notices to Kerala government, DGP over repeated incidents of girls going missing from shelter homes

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New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission on Wednesday issued notices to the Kerala government and the state police chief over reports of nine girls missing from a shelter home at Manganam in Kerala’s Kottayam.

Further, the Commission, considering the repeated incidents of missing girls in Kottayam, has asked its Special Rapporteur, Hari Seena Varma, to visit Kottayam and submit a report within two months, including details of the existing cases. Related facts are also included. They are also expected to suggest measures to avoid such incidents in future, the NHRC said in a statement.

The Commission has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary of Kerala seeking a report along with an action taken report of the incident.

It should also be stated whether any public servant of the Social Justice Department or the Child Welfare Committee was involved in evicting the girls from the shelter home.

“The report should explain the reasons for the dissatisfaction and disenchantment of the missing girls with their stay in the said shelter home.”

A notice has also been issued to the Director General of Police, Kerala regarding the status of the missing girls case registered from Manganam in Kottayam and arrests, if any.

The report should also include the status of implementation of the SOP to Combat Trafficking in Persons in India issued in the year 2017 by the Commission to prevent intra-state trafficking of vulnerable sections of the society. The statement said that the commission expects a response from the authorities within two weeks.

Third such incident reported from Kottayam

The human rights body has taken suo motu note of media reports that nine girls have gone missing from a shelter home at Manganam in Kottayam, Kerala. Reportedly, when the police traced the home to an inmate, the girls protested their return to the shelter home.

This is the third such incident from Kottayam in recent months, the statement said.

The Commission observes that based on the contents of media reports, it appears that there is lack of supervision and effective monitoring of the shelter home run by Mahila Samakhya, an NGO. Despite this, it is recognized by the Social Justice Department and the Child Welfare Committee, it said.

It seems that the inmates are not satisfied or happy with their stay in this shelter home. There is a prima facie possibility that these girls have been subjected to some kind of inhuman and indecent treatment to force them to leave.

Missing girls could be reason for trafficking: NHRC

The commission has, over the years, consistently advocated that missing children, including girls, may be trafficked for sexual exploitation or for forced labor in homes, massage parlors and spas: they may be subjected to illegal are adoption or child marriage.

That is why it issued a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to combat trafficking in persons in India in the year 2017, but observed that there is a need to increase concerted efforts of all stakeholders to eliminate the social menace like human trafficking.

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