Advocate, Supreme Court
Human trafficking, world's third largest illegal activity after smuggling of drugs and weapons, continues to thrive despite adequate legal provisions. Although I was asked address on the Human trafficking in India and Strategies to Prevent / Break the chain of Trafficking I think I should at least talk to  you    also something about trafficking is all  about and the legal frame work and then to the strategies .

What is Trafficking?
The most comprehensive definition of trafficking is the one adopted by the UN Office of Drugs and Crime in 2000, known as the “UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children,” 2000 under the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC). This Convention has been signed by the government of India. Article 3-a) Trafficking in persons shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or of receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another persons, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.

What are Children trafficked for?
  • Labour:
  • Illegal Activities
  •  Entertainment and Sports
Magnitude of the Problem-In India, a large number of children are trafficked not only for the sex ‘trade’ but also for other forms of non-sex based exploitation. Trafficking in children is on rise, and nearly 60% of the victims of trafficking are below 18 years of age .

According to NHRC Report on Trafficking in Women and Children, -India is stated to be between 70,000 and 1 million of these, 30% are 20 years of age. Nearly 15% began sex work when they were below 15 and 25% entered between 15 and 18 years. A rough estimate prepared by an NGO called End children’s prostitution in Asian Tourism reveals that there are around 2 million prostitutes in India. 20% among them are minors.

National Crime Data-
Given the criminal nature of the act, it is no surprise that there is very little data on the extent of trafficking. According to one estimate, 50% of the trafficked victims worldwide are children.

Legal Framework to Address Trafficking in India

Article 23 of the Constitution Guarantees right against exploitation; prohibits traffic in human beings and forced labour and makes their practice punishable under law.
Article 24 of the Constitution Prohibits employment of children below 14 years of age in  factories, mines or other hazardous employment.
Indian Penal Code, 1860 .There are 25 provisions relevant to trafficking; significant among them are:
  • procuration of a minor girl (below 18 years of age) from one part of the country to the another is punishable.
  • importation of a girl below 21 years of age is punishable.
  •  provides punishment for compelling any person to labour against his/her  will.
  • Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, (ITPA) 1956 [renamed as such by drastic amendments to the Suppression of Immoral Traffic in Women and Girls Act, 1956 (SITA)). Deals exclusively with trafficking; objective is to inhibit / abolish traffic in women and girls for the purpose of prostitution as an organized means of living.

Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986
1. Prohibits employment of children in certain specified occupations and also lays down conditions of work of children.
2. Information Technology Act, 2000 Penalizes publication or transmission in electronic form of any material which is lascivious.
3. India has also adopted a code of conduct for Internet Service Providers with the objective to enunciate and maintain high standard of ethical and professional practices in the field of Internet and related services.
4. Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 Enacted in consonance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC); and Consolidates and amends the law relating to juveniles in conflict with law and to children in need of care and protection.
5. The law is especially relevant to children who are vulnerable and are therefore likely to be inducted into trafficking.
5. Karnataka Devadasi (Prohibition of Dedication) Act, 1982 Act of dedication of girls for the ultimate purpose of engaging them in prostitution is declared unlawful – whether the dedication is done with or without consent of the dedicated persons.
6. Andhra Pradesh Devadasi (Prohibiting Dedication) Act, 1989
7. Goa Children’s Act, 2003 - Trafficking is specially defined

International Laws
1. The Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989.
2. The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, 2000.
3. The Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women, (CEDAW) 1979.
4. The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.
5. Declaration on Social and legal principles relating to the Protection and Welfare of Children, with special reference to Foster placement and adoption Nationally and Internationally, 3 December, 1986.
6. SAARC Convention on Regional Arrangement for the Promotion of Child Welfare, 2002.

I  would like to raise a few quires    before  you  and they are  : what are  the factors  leading  to trafficking ? What are the SUPPLY FACTORS? What are the DEMAND FACTORS or what are the push and pull factors   and then lastly how to prevent or break the chain of trafficking?

What are  the   Strategies for Preventing / Combating of Trafficking

Prevention of human trafficking requires several types of interventions. Prevention as a strategy to combat trafficking has to focus on areas of sensitization and awareness among the public, especially those vulnerable pockets of trafficking at source areas as well as convergence of a development services to forestall conditions responsible for it.:
  1. Description of available data; to evaluate the prevention of human trafficking, protection and support for victims, and success in prosecuting traffickers.
  2. To have a resource directory of all service programs that is user-friendly and current.
  3. To deploy effective public awareness strategies.
     4. Identification of available victim programs and services;
     5.  Evaluation of public awareness strategies;
     6. Assessment of current laws; and
     7. list of recommendations produced in consultation with governmental and nongovernmental  organizations.
     8.There is a need for proactive law enforcement work
     9. A statewide intelligence database for India’s law enforcement officials regarding human trafficking leads and perpetrators is very much needed.
  10. Role   various  actors  play  -   including    Family (most Imp), Role of Religion , Role of Society , Role of State, Role of NGOs, Role of Media
      11. Awareness and Advocacy of National Planning Commission, bureaucrats, politicians and the elite of the society.
      12. The key to prevent trafficking in children and their exploitation in prostitution is awareness among the children, parents and school teachers.

Finally,  no cosmetic surgery would help. We have to  address the   root cause of the  problem  – which is not easy – It needs a paradigm shift – women and girl children should be given her rightful place in all walks of life. Her preciousness needs to recognized and proclaimed, her arrival to be celebrated.
How serious are we? 

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