Government of India to Set Up & Strengthen AHTUs & WHDs in States Across the Country
New Delhi: On October 22nd 2019,the Empowered Committee (EC) under Nirbhaya Framework, chaired by Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development, favourably appraised two proposals to develop systems for operationalization of Women Help Desks (WHDs) in police stations, for expansion of Anti-Human-Trafficking-Units (AHTUs) to all districts, and for identified officers for dealing with crime and policing matters pertaining to women and children at district and States/ UT levels across the country. The Ministry of Women and Child Development pursued the matter with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) which submitted proposals for WHDs in ten thousand police stations and for AHTUs in the remaining districts of India, for funding out of Nirbhaya Fund, at costs of Rs. 100 crores each.
Setting up and strengthening Anti-Human Trafficking Units (AHTUs) in all districts of States & UTs:
The EC considered and recommended the proposal for setting up AHTUs at cost of Rs. 100 crores for safety and security of women and girl victims of trafficking, with the condition that a proper monitoring and reporting mechanism should also be put in place. 100% cost of setting up of these AHTUs has been recommended to be borne by the Central Government under Nirbhaya Fund as per the MHA proposal. The EC has also suggested that psycho-social counselling and legal counselling and aid should also be made available through these AHTUs to the beneficiaries. The MHA has also been requested to ensure nomination of State level nodal officers for coordinating and monitoring the functioning of AHTUs and sharing their data with the EC and the Ministry of WCD.
Setting up/ strengthening Women Help Desks (WHDs) in Police Stations in all States & UTs:
The EC considered favourably and recommended the proposal for setting up Women Help Desks in Police Stations in all States and UTs at cost of Rs. 100 crores to be funded 100% by the Central Government under Nirbhaya Fund. WHDs would be gender sensitive desks for grievance redressal of women through the policing system, as well as catalysts for improved community interaction of the police with focus on crime against women and children. They would also help create a conducive atmosphere for distressed women and girls to approach the police stations without any hesitation and fear. The EC has suggested that these Women Help Desks should preferably be headed by women police officer not below the rank of Head Constables, and preferably by women officers not below the ranks of JSI or ASI. Further, training, orientation and sensitization of both men and women police officials working at or in relation to WHDs at police stations, should also be taken up. Presently, as per the proposal of MHA, WHDs have been approved for ten thousand police stations. However, the EC has suggested that the facility may be expanded to all the police stations in the country may be over a period of time or in phases. MHA has also been requested to ask the States and UTs to notify Nodal Officers at District and State levels as early as possible to coordinate the functioning of the Women Help Desks and share the data with EC.