Days after 42 people were rescued from human traffickers, a senior Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) officer has claimed that most of the people in Assam are migrating to other states in search of better avenues rather than being trafficked.
SSB Inspector General of Frontier Headquarters, Sanjeev Sharma said some bad elements take advantage of the economic condition of the poor people and indulge in trafficking them.
"There is not much difference between human trafficking and migration of population. When people find greener pastures and get better salaries, then they go to far away places also. It is not proper to term it as human trafficking," he told PTI in an interview.
Mr Sharma cited examples of many tea gardens, which have closed down and their workers have migrated to other places.
"The main reason is economic. If local industries are established and local tourism is developed, then there is huge potential. If such indigenous things are done here, then the locals would not like to leave their own home.
"Because of this, some migration takes place and some people exploit them too. For illicit trade also, people are taken from here. Awareness is prime to stop this," he added.
Reviewing the India-Bhutan border security scenario in Baksa district of Assam on Sunday, the IGP said the SSB is trying to ensure that no human trafficking takes place from the neighbouring nation.
On July 23, a total of 42 children were rescued from different parts of Sikkim, while efforts are on to locate 38 others who were trafficked from four villages of Chirang district along the Indo-Bhutan border.
Earlier this month, police had rescued nine girls from Kerala who were trafficked from Assam, while 37 others were rescued from Rangia and Baksa when they were being taken to Mumbai and Gujarat.
Mr Sharma further said that the SSB had taken initiative to rescue 34 people from a Gujarat-bound bus in June from Baksa.
He said that the 24th Battalion of SSB at Rangia recently apprehended seven traffickers and rescued seven juvenile girls, and assured that the force will take all possible action against human traffickers and drug peddlers active along the Bhutan border.
Altogether 107 people have been rescued in the last two months since Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma assumed office.
When asked about narcotics drug trade, the SSB IG said that no drugs is being smuggled from Bhutan, but some illegal charas farming takes place near Bhairabkunda in Udalguri district on the Arunachal Pradesh side.
The Commandant of the SSB's 24th Battalion Hrishikesh Sharma, Deputy Commandant Deepak Savita and other senior officials also accompanied the IG during the visit to the international border.