Human Trafficking : A Floating Slave Trade

Human Trafficking

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Introduction: Human trafficking is the modern-day form of slavery. While India pledges to collaborate for its elimination, its patterns change in accordance with shifting socioeconomic conditions. After the narcotics and arms trade, human trafficking is the third biggest organized crime, and it has become a major issue all around the world.

The extent of trafficking in human beings

Traffickers continue to target the most vulnerable members of our societies, both men and women, who are trapped in bonded and forced labour, sexual exploitation, domestic slavery, organ removal, illicit activities, and so on. Due to the criminal aspects of human trafficking, it is extremely difficult to determine the true extent of the issue.

Despite the fact that the majority of victims are women, traffickers do not discriminate; men are forced to work heavy workloads, children are forced to steal and beg, and both girls and boys are forced to engage in sexual exploitation. Even after they come out of that situation of long-term exploitation, the victims still have to deal with various repercussions.’

Indian human trafficking statistics

Human Trafficking

While reliable numbers are hard to come by and human trafficking is frequently a crime that goes unreported, around 80% of victims worldwide who are trafficked for sexual exploitation are women. More than 8000 incidents of human trafficking were recorded in India in 2016, 64%  were female and 48%  were under the age of 18 (according to the National Crime Record Bureau’s report periods), and the figure has been increasing every year.

Orissa, West Bengal, Telangana, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, and Assam are now the states in India that are most impacted. People from lower socioeconomic strata and those who fall under the SC, ST, and OBC categories are more likely to be the targets of such malpractices.

High levels of human trafficking are mostly caused by factors such as lack of education, poverty, political turmoil, corruption, a weak judicial system, etc. Social evils including forced marriage, bonded labour, sexual exploitation, the organ trade, sex trafficking, depression, anxiety disorders like PTSD, and others frequently have both mental and physical impacts.

The NCRB reports that in 2016, 23000 people—including 182 foreigners—were rescued from the grip of human traffickers. Baby Tara (Falak), who was saved by Delhi Police in 2012, was one of the most dreadful victims of human trafficking. The case was made public when a teenage girl who had also been sold to a brother brought a two-year-old infant to the AIIMS.

The Delhi Police investigated the matter and discovered that Falak’s biological mother was Munni, a 22-year-old woman who was also sold by her husband. When Munni was sold, she was reputedly forced to leave the baby with the teenager. This nationwide attention-grabbing tragedy exposes the shocking and terrifying world of human trafficking, including child prostitution and minor maltreatment.

The most heartbreaking aspect of this incident is that India is afflicted by widespread poverty and a lack of good education, resulting in a slew of human rights violations, particularly against women & girls.

Some landmark cases related to human trafficking

There have been numerous notable instances involving human trafficking and child labour, such as:

M.C. Mehta v. State of Tamil Nadu

In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that requiring mandatory education is an effective way to address the issue of child labour. Due to a lack of resources, poor citizens often choose not to send their children to school. Therefore, the issue of child labour won’t be resolved unless a family is provided with a reliable source of income.

Since such parents are unable to provide for their children’s education, the state has a responsibility to step in and fulfill this duty.

Lakshmi Kant Pandey v. Union of India

The Supreme Court stated in this case that it is evident in a civilized society that the significance of child welfare cannot be overstated, since the welfare of the whole community, its development, and advancement is dependent on the wellness and well-being of its children. Children are considered a “Tremendously Important National Asset,” and the nation’s future is dependent on how its children develop and grow. As a result, the Supreme Court established detailed criteria to govern inter-country adoption and implementation.

The Indian Constitution.

Human trafficking, including forced labour, sex trafficking, domestic slavery, forced marriage, begging, child pornography, and organ trading, is prohibited in India under Articles 23(1) & 24 of the Indian Constitution.

Indian Penal Code

Sections 366A, 366B, 370, and 374 of I.P.C deal with the problem by forbidding traffickers from imposing harsh sentences on criminals.

International Convention

In 1950, the Indian government also ratified the International Convention for the Prohibition of Illegal Traffic and the Exploitation of Others’ Prostitution. The Prohibition of Immoral Traffic in Women and Girls Act was enacted in India a few years later, in 1956. The Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, also known as ITPA, was passed in 1986, significantly amending and amending the previous law.

POSCO Act, 2012

Children are intended to be protected against sexual abuse, including both penetrative and non-penetrative assault, by the Protection of Children from Sexual and Offences Act (POSCO) Act, 2012. The Juvenile Justice Act, the Prevention of Child Labor Act, and the Bonded Labour (Abolition) Act are other laws that are intended to criminalize trafficking.

However, in July 2018, the Lok Sabha enacted the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection, and Rehabilitation) Bill 2018 to eliminate the trafficking of individuals, particularly women and children.

The Bill provided for the prevention, rescue, and rehabilitation of trafficked persons. This law provides a way for rehabilitation centers and organizations in different places in the country. Seizing bank accounts and property, making better relations with another country to mitigate and tackle cross-border trafficking, and creating designated courts for time-board prosecution of offenders are the aims and objectives of the case.

This legislation is both crime-centric and victim-centric in that it both protects victims as well as prosecutes criminals. Despite these efforts, incidences of human trafficking have increased, implying that the law to prevent human trafficking has to be improved further.

Although there is no scarcity of relevant laws throughout the country, there is an issue of inadequate comprehension and unfaithful enforcement of laws, which is critical for everyone to comprehend. Because India lacks legislation to govern the usage of Facebook, WhatsApp, and even Twitter in certain circumstances.

As a result, social networking is becoming a new weapon for human trafficking. Institutions such as the National Commission on Human Rights must also become more proactive, fund research on the topic, and assist in the creation of effective anti-human trafficking legislation. Women’s and children’s constitutional rights must be protected, and all necessary steps must be taken to prevent human trafficking.

As a result, it is critical to have rigorous monitoring and specific procedures, as well as strong interventions and dedication, in order to attempt to clean out this crime around the world.

Conclusion of the Human Trafficking

Addressing human trafficking, especially when it involves minors, is not just a legal or law enforcement matter—it’s a moral imperative. It demands a coordinated, multidisciplinary approach that prioritizes prevention, prosecution, protection, and partnerships at the local, national, and international levels. Only through such collective efforts can we hope to eradicate this grave violation of human rights and ensure a safer and more just world for all.

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