Though there was no increase in overall crime rate, as was anticipated in the aftermath of the quakes, a surge in incidents of human trafficking, kidnapping and black marketing was seen in the last one and a half months, according to police statistics.
Hundreds of children orphaned by the earthquakes have become more vulnerable to trafficking.
According to police data, incidents of human trafficking have increased by 50 per cent after the quakes. The law enforcement agency registered as many as 15 cases of human trafficking during the period of mid-April to mid-May after the mainshock on April 25, compared to 10 cases between mid-March and mid-April. Similarly, police have already dealt with six incidents of the crime from May 15-29.
Police officials admitted that cases of trafficking in women and girls had surged after the mega disaster. Vigilance was upped in quake-affected areas, makeshift camps, transportation system and border areas to curb the crime, said officials.
Police have rescued at least 41 minors, including 15 girls, who were being trafficked out of the country in the name of ‘rescue and rehabilitation’ with a promise of better life. As many as seven suspects, including a woman, were arrested for attempted trafficking.
“There has not been any exponential increase in overall crime rate, as we had feared after in post-disaster situation, but reports of human trafficking, suicide and black marketing have been received,” DIG Kamal Bam Singh Bam, Central Police Spokesperson, said.
Similarly, police dealt with seven cases of kidnapping and hostage-taking during the period of mid-April to mid-May compared to five from mid-March to mid-April. However, officials would not relate the kidnapping and hostage-taking to the quakes.
A section of businesspersons cashed in on the post-disaster situation by black marketing and profiteering, mainly in food and tarpaulins. As many as 19 cases of black marketing were reported during the period of mid-April to mid-May against only one from mid-March to mid-April. The statistics show that cases of public crimes, arms and ammunition, rape, theft, drugs smuggling, swindling and attempted murder have decreased. The incidents of murder increased from 52 to just 53 between one month before and after the disaster.