Successful intervention by BSF’s Anti-Human Trafficking Unit (AHTU) to prevent child marriage on the Indo-Bangladesh border

On May 21, 2024, through the vigilant efforts of the Border Security Force’s Anti-Human Trafficking Unit (AHTU) in collaboration with the local police and the Mary Ward Social Center, Kolkata successfully intervened in the forced marriage and rescued the minor girl from the border village of Panitar on the India-Bangladesh border in West Bengal.

In Panitar village, located in the jurisdiction of Ghojadanga Border Outpost, 102nd BSF Battalion under the South Bengal border, a distressing situation was looming when reports of an impending marriage involving a minor girl, Chhabina Khatun (name changed), surfaced on May 20.

Rapid action was launched upon receipt of this crucial information. The AHTU team, in coordination with the Basirhat police station and the famous NGO Marry Ward Social Center in Kolkata, quickly intervened to remedy the situation.

Arriving at the Marrige site in Vill-Braminpara (Panitar), near the post office, PS-Basirhat, the collaborative efforts of the AHTU and the local police were instrumental. Through diligent investigation and engagement with the villagers, with the invaluable assistance of a Basirhat police representative, the truth was uncovered.

The AHTU and the police managed to foil the minor’s attempted marriage. The family members involved were sensitively contacted and informed of the serious repercussions of such actions. Emphasis was placed on the legal provision that marriage should not take place before the girl attains the age of 18. Clear warnings were issued about the potential legal consequences if they persisted in their attempt to marry off the minor.

South Bengal Border DIG and Public Relations Officer AK Arya said this commendable intervention highlighted the unwavering commitment of the BSF AHTU towards safeguarding the rights and welfare of vulnerable people, especially minors. Their proactive stance against child marriage is a beacon of hope in the ongoing fight against human exploitation and trafficking.