West Bengal struggles to pay trafficking survivors

West Bengal has been a major source state for human trafficking and the state recorded 18.5 percent cases across India

The West Bengal's State Legal Services Authority (SLSA) is unable to recompense survivors of terrible crimes such as trafficking, rape and acid attack as instructed because it has only rupees 5,000 left in its account.


This shortages were unveiled to the Calcutta High Court by an SLSA lawyer on July 30, 2021 when the court was hearing a case related to the non-payment of a rupees 4 lakh remuneration was awarded to a trafficking survivor in 2019.


This case of the petitioner is no exception as in August 2021, 29 survivors of human trafficking had wrote to West Bengal's Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and had complained about non-payment of compensation.


The District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) in North-24 Parganas and South-24 Parganas had awarded all of them sums line up from rupees 1 lakh to rupees 6.5 lakh.


However, five were ordered recompense in 2019, 16 in the year 2020 and eight in 2021, none of them has been paid yet.


The letter to the CM had pointed out that the SLSA was alleging fund shortage to explain the delay in payment.


Another NGO that was working with trafficking survivors, which wishes to remain anonymous had told IndiaSpend that 66 trafficking survivors related to the 25 cases which were monitored by them in West Bengal were awarded compensation since 2017.


Although, only one of them has been paid and 13 survivors have been awarded interim recompense pertaining to nine cases and only two of them had been paid till the end of August.


The Victim Compensation Fund that were set up by states under the central government's direction, is set aside for all the survivors of all brutal crimes and that require rehabilitation.


As per to the activist groups, the trafficked women are forced into prostitution and are repeatedly raped in captivity.


These women are also often boycotted by their community which makes the rehabilitation hard.


West Bengal has been a major source state for human trafficking and the state had recorded 18.5 percent, or 3,020 of the 16,283 such cases reported across the nation, in 2013, 2014 and 2015.


The state is even accounted for one-tenth of country's trafficking cases in 2017 and 2018.

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