LETTER TO THE EDITOR FOR ISSUE DATED MAY 11 2024

HUMAN TRAFFICKING IS HUMAN SLAVERY!

At a day-long State-level conference on human trafficking organized by the  Goa Police Anti-Human Trafficking Unit (AHTU) in Panaji on May 10, 2024 Goa’s  DGP Jaspal Singh said although human trafficking is a growing and serious problem in Goa it is still not yet contained properly. The conference was attended by government department staff,   NGO representatives, police, doctors and others interested in the subject. Human trafficking is reportedly the second largest organized crime in India today.

It is perceived as a continuation of old-world slavery and continues across the world in most reprehensible ways – largely targeting women and children, wherever cheap labor is required as also the sex and entertainment industry.

Speakers at the conference included Rajesh Mani (social activist and expert trainer, Anti- Human Trafficking, Gorakhpur), Roy D’Souza (public prosecutor, Mapusa), Enakshi Ganguly (co- founder of HAQ and honorary professor at National Law University, Odisha), Arun Pandey (director, Anyay Rahit Zindagi or ARZ), Ezilda D’Souza (superintendent of Police, AHTU) and oathers.

The gamut of issues presented and discussed ranged from prevention, investigation, care of victims trafficked, cross-border trafficking based in Indo-Nepal territory; challenges faced during trial by the prosecution and responding to  change in scenario in human trafficking, phenomenon of sex trafficking, interventions by state and challenges faced. The most aggravating factor in dealing with human trafficking, according to Rajesh Mani, is that in fear and intimidation most victims retract the evidence for prosecution. The perpetrators of human trafficking are very cleverly organized and linked; now cyber crimes are playing a role in emerging scenarios. Several laws exist to deal with human trafficking but they don’t do the  job for which they have been enacted – that is to punish the criminals at large.

LONDON, VIBRANT CITY

BRITAIN is still as if in the 90’s when British romantic comedy “Notting Hill” played. I had a great day spent exploring famous Notting Hill, Portobello Road and the sights around about here.

My visit to “Lisboa” took me to the oldest Portuguese grocery shop selling Portuguese codfish – that is, bacalhau, also octopus, cheese, sausage, ham, deserts, a variety of regional wines and much more. This  delicatessen is a haunt of the rich and famous and Holland Park residents, and my visit was particularly enchanting.

Later, I savoured some authentic Portuguese cuisine at nearby “Sporting Restaurant & Tapas” — a very lively party place dedicated to all the fans of the Sporting Clube de Portugal. The staff is ever so very warm and hospitable, something the Portuguese are known for.

My day ended with a visit to High Street Kensington where one can feel the buzz of high fashion, sophistication, glamour and affluence. Another great day went in experiencing new things and making new friends. It’s been a learning curve all along. These most vibrant and happiest memories will be always cherished.

–Aires Rodrigues, Ribandar

FOR CAPT VIRIATO FERNANDES

IF FOR the environment of Goa you pine, then Capt Viriato should be on your mind — to save the flora and fauna as well as also protect precious land. The people of Goa stand to benefit in all ways, if Capt Viriato represents the south Goa Lok Sabha constituency.

We hope you came out in large numbers to cast your vote for Viriato to make Goa a better place to live in. The promises of an armed forces veteran is what the people of South Goa should heed to in order to restore Goa’s place of glory, so that it will be restored as the “Rome of the Orient.”

We hope you did not hesitate to make this wise decision. Steady the fortunes of Goa by the hand that cares and will protect your interests. Vote for green Goa and to prevent Goa from greying further. Make no mistake, Capt Viriato will be at your beck and call in times of trouble.

–Stephen Dias, Dona Paula, Goa

GOVERNMENT STOPS PENSION?


 IT reported that the Navy suddenly cancelled the pension payment of a naval doctor in Goa. He was forced to leave service in 2012 as he had a disability that arose due to his service. He has fought a legal battle for his pension since the Navy did not restore his pension even after having assured the Armed Forces Tribunal that it would do so. This is not a stray example.

 This is shocking, since we sing praises and admire our defence personnel but do not pay their pension. This is despite an annual increase of crores of rupees in the defence budget. Hence, it is not the dearth of money but something else that leads to stoppage of pension.     
 
Incidentally, how can government (Central or State) or its ministries withhold or stop the pension of a retired person? The pensioner may take recourse to legal means by spending from his meagre resources while the mighty government “fights” him in the courts using his own money! The pension amount is part of their salary for which they had slogged for decades and is the rightful due and eligible to a pensioner.

Ironically, a person who is suspended for some wrongdoings while in service gets 50% of the salary while sitting at home. If he/she is proved innocent then the arrears are paid and the full salary is restored. Therefore, no person’s pension should be stopped and, in the event, if there are some cases against the pensioner or errors in payment, then the pensioner should be paid 50% of the rightful dues and after a time the remaining payment could be restored or otherwise reduced. 

–Sridher D Iyer, Caranzalem

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