Anyay Rahit Zindagi (ARZ) – a Goa based anti-human trafficking NGO has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for exchange of their cash in ‘state custody’ to new currency.
Goa has 15 inmates who are victims of human trafficking at the state run shelter home Apna Ghar who have deposited about Rs 50,000 in state custody. In majority of the cases, the victims have deposited in denomination of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 said Arun Pandey Director of ARZ .
“Some of the victim’s are from Nepal, Bangladesh – they don’t even have any identity. This is the hard earned cash of the victims that is seized by the authorities from victims or their handler’s while they were being exploited in brothels. Its unlikely they are going to be released before December due to legal proceedings. Even if they do, under new scheme of things (Demonetisation) – they will be rendered cash-less,” Arun Pandey Director of ARZ said to The Indian Express.
“Under Section 21 (Licence to operate Protection Homes) of the Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act (ITP), while the Superintendent of the shelter home rightfully receives cash or other material possession (for safekeeping purpose) of the rescued victim’s and maintains a register against their name – the cash is not deposited in the banks and remains dormant with custodian,” Pandey said .
In majority of the cases, the victims have deposited in denomination of Rs 500 and Rs 1000, he added.
“This scenario is not just the case of Goa, but similar is the case across the country. Agencies like us from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata have repeatedly brought this matter to respective District Magistrate, State Government’s attentions. But it have not evoked any response,” he said.
“While in Goa there are 15 inmates at Apna Ghar (protection home), with about Rs 50,000 deposit, across the country there are 1000 odd victims currently in shelter homes with lakhs or nearly crores of rupees in shelter homes custody, what will happen to that,” Pandey asked.
The NGO has urged the Prime Minister’s office to intervene in the matter and facilitate in the exchange money of Rs 500 and Rs 1000.
The Indian Express, tried to contact an official connected with the shelter home, who while admitting that Apna Ghar has apprised the District Magistrate (DM) of the matter, said that no communication had been reverted by the official or the state department.