West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said a committee will be set up to prevent child trafficking in the state. The panel, which will be headed by State Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee, will also have the chief secretary, home secretary, director general of police and and members of the Congress and Communist Party of India (Marxist) on board. The members will meet once a month, reported PTI.

The Trinamool Congress chief has said reports of child trafficking were unfortunate and worrisome and asked the Assembly members not to give “political protection” to those who partook in the crime. Banerjee added that the government initiated action soon after reports of baby trafficking surfaced, arresting nearly 20 people and suspending the licenses of three nursing homes and two non-government organisations.

Banerjee’s announcement in the Assembly comes almost two weeks after the state Criminal Investigation Department busted a baby trafficking racket. Rajesh Kumar, additional director general of CID, had said that at least 50 babies have been trafficked after they rescued 10 infants from an old age home in North 24 Parganas on November 25. They also found skeletal remains of infants. The police arrested 15 people in connection with the racket.

Investigators had said that the group targeted unmarried women and poor couples. They also often stole babies after telling the mother that she had delivered a stillborn, officials said. The group sold babies to clients abroad as well. Childless couples were provided babies according to gender and complexion preferences, according to reports. While male babies were sold at around Rs 2 lakh, females were sold for half the price.

“Fair-skinned babies sold at higher rates. This gang has sold approximately 25 to 30 newborns till date, but the exact number is yet to be ascertained,” said another official who did not want to be named.