Legal protection against Human Trafficking in India
Human trafficking is the trade (sell and purchase) of human beings for the purpose of sexual slavery, bonded and forced labour or for any commercial sexual exploitation and prostitution. Under human trafficking, men, women or children are made believe that the concerned person will provide them with a good job in a different country or place. They blindly believe the traffickers and are then sold by them to other people. Trafficking is the third largest organized crime in the world.
Identifying a Human Trafficking Victim:
- Seems anxious, fearful or paranoid. Avoids eye contact.
- Tearfulness or signs of depression.
- Unexplained bruises or cuts or other signs of physical abuse.
- Inconsistent details when telling their story.
- Inability to leave their job or residence. Says they cannot schedule appointments.
- Is under 18 years and providing commercial sex acts. Or at any age unwillingly providing commercial sex acts.
- Never is alone and/or always has someone translating or answering questions on their behalf.
- Presents with secrecy or unable to answer questions about where they live.
- Is afraid of law enforcement or receiving help from an outside entity.
Human Trafficking Laws in India:
- Through the Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act (ITPA), the Indian Government penalizes trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation, with prescribed penalty of 7 years’ to life imprisonment.
- India also prohibits bonded and forced labour through:
- Bonded Labour Abolition Act,
- Child Labour Act, and
- Juvenile Justice Act.
- Sections 366(A) and 372 of the Indian Penal Code, prohibits kidnapping and selling minors into prostitution respectively. Penalties under these provisions are a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine.
Causes of Human Trafficking:
- Men for work generally migrate to major commercial cities.
- To fulfill the supply all sorts of efforts are made by the suppliers like abduction etc..
- The economic injustice and poverty.
- Debt labour is not known much but it is illegal but prevalent in our society.
- Social inequality, regional gender preference, imbalance and corruption are the other leading causes of human trafficking in India.
- Parents in tribal areas send kids for better life in terms of education and safety.
- Girls and women are not only trafficked for prostitution but also bought and sold like commodity in many regions of India where female ratio is less as compared to male due to female infanticide.
- These are then forced to marry.
Women and Children:
According to the Ministry of Women and Child Development, 19,223 women and children were trafficked in 2016 against 15,448, the previous year.
The highest number of victims recorded in the eastern state of West Bengal.
9,104 children were trafficked last year, a 27% increase from the previous year.
The National Crime Records Bureau showed that almost equal numbers of children and women were trafficked.
Thousands of people, largely poor, rural women and children are lured to India’s towns and cities each year by traffickers who promise good jobs, but sell them into modern day slavery.
Some end up as bonded labour or domestic workers, or forced to work in small industries such as textile workshops, farming or are even pushed into brothels where they are sexually exploited.
Statistics in India and World
Around 80% of the human trafficking across the world is done for sexual exploitation and the rest is for bonded labor.
India is considered as the hub of this crime in Asia.
As per the statistics of the government, in every 8 minutes a child goes missing in our country.
In 2011 about 35,000 children were reported missing.
Constitutional and Legislative Provision in India:
- Trafficking in Human Beings or Persons is prohibited under the Constitution of India under Article 23 (1)
- Protection of Children from Sexual offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, which has come into effect from 14th November, 2012 is a special law to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation.
- The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 (ITPA) is the premier legislation for prevention of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation.
- Criminal Law (amendment) Act 2013 has come into force wherein Section 370 of the Indian Penal Code has been substituted with Section 370 and 370A IPC which provide for comprehensive measures to counter the menace of human.
- There are other specific legislations enacted relating to trafficking in women and children:
- Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006,
- Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976,
- Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986,
- Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994,
- apart from specific Sections in the IPC
- State Governments have also enacted specific legislations to deal with the issue. (e.g. The Punjab Prevention of Human Smuggling Act, 2012)
Measures taken by the Indian government to combat Human Trafficking:
With a view to tackle the menace of human trafficking, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India has undertaken a number of measures such as:
Administrative measures and interventions
Anti Trafficking Cell (ATC):
It was set up in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in 2006 to act as a focal point for communicating various decisions and follow up on action taken by the State Governments to combat the crime of Human Trafficking.
To improve the effectiveness in tackling the crime of human trafficking and to increase the responsiveness of the law enforcement machinery, MHA has issued comprehensive advisories to all States/UTs:
Ministry of Home Affairs’ scheme :
Ministry of Home Affairs under a Comprehensive Scheme srengthening law enforcement response in India against Trafficking in Persons through Training and Capacity Building has released fund for establishment of Anti Human Trafficking Units for 270 districts of the country.
Strengthening the capacity building:
To enhance the capacity building of law enforcement agencies and generate awareness among them, various Training of Trainers (TOT) workshops on combating Trafficking in Human Beings for Police officers and for Prosecutors at Regional level, State level and District level were held throughout the country.
In order to train and sensitize the trial court judicial officers, Judicial Colloquium on human trafficking are held at the High court level with an aim to sensitize the judicial officers about the various issues concerning human trafficking and to ensure speedy court process. So far, 11Judicial Colloquiums have been held.
The new Act:
The law could have far-reaching benefits, like curbing the informal labour industry and ensuring that fair wages are paid.
The draft’s unveiling has also already added to an ongoing debate on whether prostitution should be legalised.
The draft also indicates a welcome move away from the antiquated, bureaucratic, and loophole-packed legislature that currently exists in India.
If the bill succeeds in reducing human trafficking in South Asia, it will lead to a decline in child labour practices.
How and where to lodge a complaint against human trafficking?
Central bureau of Investigation
Human Rights Law Network
To lodge complain, call on 24×7 Helpline No. 011 – 24368638 for reporting “Illegal Human Trafficking especially Trafficking of Children & Women”.