Crime Branch is the nodal agency of Odisha police to supervise the functioning of the IAHTUs in the state. Sources said nearly 2,000 cases relating to women and child trafficking were registered at 12 IAHTUs in Odisha last year.
The home department has asked the units to identify vulnerable areas from where women are being trafficked and train young women from weak financial background, prone to trafficking, to make themselves economically sound. "The units will have regular interface with women and child development department and NGOs to find out the high-incidence districts to track the source, route and destination places of illegal trafficking of girls and women. Preventive measures will be taken to curb the menace," Sharma said.
Alarmed at the growing incidence of trafficking in women and children in Odisha, the state government in December 2009 formulated a policy to address the issue. "The policy provides adequate steps for psychological support, economic empowerment and reintegration to ensure that the rescued victims of trafficking do not get drawn into the trade again due to non-availability of other options for livelihood," said a police officer.
"Though the government established the units, child and women trafficking continues unabated. The government should appoint police officers to exclusively investigate such cases," said Rutuparna Mohanty, a social activist. "Most women and children are trafficked to Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Chhatisgarh and in some cases to Andhra Pradesh, where they are sexually exploited," Mohanty said.