HUMAN TRAFFICKING.. the second most organized crime in the entire world after trade of drugs and arms.
Imagine someone deciding your value and selling you off to someone whose totally unknown to you, to a unknown place, somewhere where you’re forced into something you never dreamt of in your wildest nightmares, imagine landing up there one day ! Seems disastrous, isn’t it? every year 11th of January is recognized to be a day for spreading awareness on human trafficking and hence I deemed it fit to bring up this topic.
This is merely the beginning of a never ending nightmare, which zillions of girls and women face each day, across the world. Girls and women are sold off to prospective buyers and pushed either into flesh trade, or into bonded labor. Irrefutable is the fact that trafficking of women and children is a grave violation of human Rights and one of the most serious organized crimes of the day, transcending cultures, geography and time. The response by the agencies concerned in addressing the issues has been far from satisfactory, which has exacerbated the violations and harm to the trafficked persons. No wonder, the vulnerable sections have become more prone to trafficking. The spate of incidents reported from different parts of the country, where thousands of children remain untraced, is a symptom of the serious dimension of trafficking. In order to address this issue, there is a need for empowering the Law Enforcement agencies, i.e., police, prosecutors, judiciary, correctional administrators, development administrators as well as the social activists and the media so that they are fully empowered with knowledge, skills and appropriate attitude. There is a vast difference between human trafficking and prostitution.
In the language of trafficking, India constitutes a country of origin, transit and destination for trafficked persons. In 1996, a report published by the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, Asia Pacific, reported that there were 2.3 million women in prostitution in India, a quarter of whom were minors, in over 1,000 red-light districts all over the country. Recent trends disclose the alarming fact that the age of entry into sexual slavery is rapidly decreasing, against the backdrop of steadily rising numbers of both women and children being inducted into commercial sexual exploitation.
Trafficking is the illicit and clandestine movements of persons across national borders, largely from developing countries, and some countries with economies in transition, with the end goal of forcing women and girls into sexually or economically oppressive and exploitative situations for profit of recruiters, traffickers, crime syndicates and other activities (e.g. forced domestic labor, false marriages, clandestine employment, and false adoption).’ – United Nations General Assembly, 1994. It also maybe called the recruitment and transportation of a person, within and across national borders, by means of deceit, violence or threat of violence, abuse of authority or dominant position for work or services which may result in forced laboror slavery like practices. Victims of trafficking are exploited and tortured for the financial gains of their exploiters. An estimated 5 lacs of women and children are trafficked every year with an annual increase of 10% of which 20 – 30 % are below 13 years of age. Children are mainly trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation, begging, child labor or for adoption purposes. Trafficking takes place either from state to state or through international borders. In most of the trafficking cases that are tried in court, the children are rescued after they have been trafficked to some place. The Government of India penalizes trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation through the Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act (ITPA). Prescribed penalty under the ITPA – ranging from seven years’ to life imprisonment – are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those for other grave crimes. India also prohibits bonded and forced labor through the Bonded Labor Abolition Act, the Child Labor Act, and the Juvenile Justice Act. Indian authorities also use Sections 366(A) and 372 of the Indian Penal Code, prohibiting kidnapping and selling minors into prostitution respectively, to arrest traffickers. Penalties under these provisions are a maximum of ten years’ imprisonment and a fine.
Trafficking does not mean prostitution. They are not synonymous. In understanding trafficking, one should delink it from prostitution. As per the existing law, Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act 1956 (ITPA) prostitution becomes an offense when there is commercial exploitation of a person. If a woman or child is sexually exploited and any person gains out of the same, it amounts to commercial sexual exploitation (CSE), which is a legally punishable offense wherein the culpability lies against all exploiters. Trafficking is the process of recruiting, contracting, procuring or hiring a person for CSE. Therefore, trafficking
is a process and CSE is the result. In the past decade, the volume of human trafficking has grown to the extent that it is now the third largest form of transnational organized crime after firearms and drugs. In India, the scale of commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking is steadily rising despite the existence of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956.
Trafficking is an organized crime. Therefore, prevention and combating trafficking is possible only if the law enforcement agencies deal with the issues from the perspective of organized crimes. An essential aspect of organized crime is that there are multiple crimes and multiple criminals having direct or indirect linkages. Therefore, investigation of one crime should lead to other crimes and other criminals. Similarly investigating one suspect /criminal should lead to other crime/criminals. This is possible only when the intelligence emanating from each instance is collated, consolidated and disseminated. Since the investigations of crimes are mostly done at the junior level in the police hierarchy, who may not have much networking and liaison, especially outside their limited jurisdiction, the police managers/leaders have to take initiative in consolidation and dissemination of criminal intelligence. Given the dimensionsof trafficking, intelligence should be all pervading and cannot be segregated into distinct pockets of source, transit and destination areas. Moreover intelligence includes both strategic and tactical components.
My only prayer to this cruel world is.. that the little girl you’ll are trafficking is someone’s piece of heart, is someone’s hope, someone’s dream. She is the one who is someone’s daughter, sister, wife, mother and much much more. She has all the rights to live normally and freely, she has all the rights to fulfill her desires, her family hope’s that lingered upon her, and by doing this, you’re proving nothing but how slavery is still prevalent in this so called FREE world.