Human Trafficking: A Grave Concern Worldwide

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Human trafficking, one of the fastest-growing illegal industries, has devastating consequences for the victims, including young children and women. It impairs their physical, social, and intellectual growth, leaving them vulnerable to a set of mental disorders, drug abuse, guilt, shame, and suicidal thoughts.
The definition of human trafficking by the United Nations reads, “The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring 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 receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.”
Victims may be forced into various types of labor including hotel services, construction, health and elder care, domestic servitude, agricultural work, manufacturing, janitorial services, hair and nail salons, prostitution, and strip club dancing.

Facts & Figures:

  • Around 99% of sex trafficking victims are women or young girls, according to ILO statistics. Simply put, most of the victims are trafficked for sexual exploitation.
  • In India, over 10 million people are living through the form of modern-day slavery.
  • Every year, approximately 25,000-30,000 victims of sex trafficking die owing to abuse, torture, and neglect.
  • Notably, armed conflicts increase the vulnerability to trafficking.
  • Traffickers exploit 1 million children in the commercial sex trade every year.
  • Sex trafficking has now become a multi-billion dollar business.
  • Dominican Republic, Thailand, Costa Rica, Kenya, Japan, Cambodia, Philippines, Indonesia, Spain, Germany, Brazil, Jamaica, Haiti are some countries or destinations known for their sex tourism.
  • Primarily, the sex tourism industry is driven by extreme poverty. For instance, in Thailand, poor women and girls make up the majority of sex workers.

Constitutional & Legal provisions related to Trafficking:

  • The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 (ITPA)
  • Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013
  • Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012
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Administrative Measures:

  • Anti-Trafficking Nodal Cell (Under the Ministry of Home Affairs)
  • Periodic coordination meetings with the Nodal Officers by the Ministry of Home Affairs
  • Training of Trainers (TOT) workshops to enhance capacity building
  • To prevent human trafficking, the Indian government has ratified the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organised Crime and SAARC Convention.
In short, there is an urgent need for convergence and implementation of comprehensive child protection schemes. If India indeed aspires to be a regional or global power, it has to strengthen institutional capacity and invest in useful resources in a holistic manner.

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