In the aftermath of the recent ethnic killings in Karbi Anglong district of Assam, there is every possibility that the region may turn out to be a fertile ground for human traffickers and where women and children in particular will become vulnerable to exploitation by criminal elements seeking profit from their misery. The government machinery including civil, police, military and medical personnel along with the NGOs must take prompt measures to prevent another tragedy from occurring. This aspect needs to be made an integral component of relief operations. Enforcement agencies in Assam and also neighboring States of Nagaland must immediately alert themselves in order to detect and deter trafficking cases.
The Assam Government needs to do more by issuing the necessary guidelines in order to minimize the risk of human trafficking in and around camps where displaced and homeless people are gathering now. Registering people in camps and ensuring security during their stays; ensuring proper security for the residents of the camps, especially women and children; and increasing the general awareness of relief workers would go a long way to spoil the designs of human smugglers.
The human tragedy unfolding in the aftermath of the ethnic strife in Karbi Anglong has every possibility to be used as the perfect business opportunity by any number of human traffickers stalking the region in search of gullible victims. It has to be remembered that though political factors may be behind the crisis, at the end of the day for ordinary people who are usually the worst affected, it boils down to the basic issue of food-shelter-clothing and about daily survival. Concerned people whether in the administration, police, human rights group, churches, and NGOs need to closely monitor the affected areas and in particular the relief camps which are usually the soft targets and where the ground situation in Karbi Anglong provides the perfect setting for trafficking networks to cash in.
Here the media should play an active role in educating about the issue of human trafficking and presenting the problem in human terms. The regional media both in Assam and Nagaland would hopefully assist in illuminating the problem which very often is typically shrouded in darkness. Further, as independent observers journalists are in the best position to visit some of the affected areas and try in unearthing the truth because—as is currently happening in the local media—by depending on news agencies or telephonic reporting the media may not be able to do justice to its role in such a crisis situation where people want to read and know the truth.