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Traffickers move online to search for victims

Social Media Platforms now a days have both good and bad impact on women and children in rural areas. During the pandemic schools were forced to shut down during the lockdown period, and classes moved online. Sneha Agarwal a 16 years old girl got a new mobile phone to continue with her studies. Beside her studies she got familiar to some social media chatting apps. The girl from Dhanbad soon met Rahul Goswami on Instagram. Their friendship went deep enough, leading her to elope with him. Five months later she was rescued from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, after relentless investigation by police. Many others, however, are missing till date.

Trafficking is at its peak in villages of Rajasthan, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh —

            women and children are being trafficked more since the last two years after being confined to digital world due to COVID restrictions.

Traffickers are scouring online classrooms, gaming platforms, matrimonial sites, dating apps, end-to-end chat apps and loan apps for potential victims.

On its part, the government has worked to create awareness through programmes like Digital Shakti, where women are taught how to be safe online. The National Crime Records Bureau has a tie-up with the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, a U.S.-based NGO. All cases of online child abuse and missing children are supposed to be reported to them, especially by manufacturers of electronic devices.

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