CHILD AND WOMEN TRAFFICKING: DECODING IT IN PRESENT TIME
Updated: Aug 28, 2020
By- Beejal Ahuja & Shelal Lodhi Rajput, Students at New Law College, Bhartiya Vidyapeeth University, Pune & Symbiosis Law School, Pune (respectively)
"There is a reason fairy tales most commonly end with happy endings. It is because nobody wants to face the realization of human depravity.” - Asa Don Brown
There are numerous and multidimensional issues related to the protection of women and children in the present time, but the most prominent that even exists today is the issue of human trafficking, and under that also, these two are the vulnerable groups of society who suffer the most. If taking the situation of India, particularly, the status of women is subjected to many changes in the past time, the rise of feminism, and many more things on the same lines. But still, the prominent problem that exists on the global level is trafficking of women and children, which is one of the most despicable forms of violation of the fundamental right of any person that is guaranteed by the supreme law of the land, the same is also a clear violation of the most sacrosanct right that we have, i.e., human rights.
FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND TRAFFICKING
The tyranny of child and women trafficking and the prime objective behind the trafficking of them are so heinous, gruesome. The gross violation of their right to life, along with the violation of many conventions of the UN that was ratified by many states. The issue of trafficking is not only limited to a particular country; it is a global problem in a global village; it is most prevalent in the poorer and underdeveloped countries. The trafficking is the result of dynamic forms of discriminations on multidimensional grounds that is explicitly prohibited in International laws through various conventions and international framework. The violence against women and children is multifaceted but the most common amongst them is the sexual harassment, and the business of prostitution all over the world, India, or any other country is not untouched to it.
LAWS TO COMBAT HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN INDIA
The time when the first issue came in the limelight at the global level was in 1949 when the UN adopted a convention for the suppression of the trafficking in Persons and the Exploitation of prostitution, which was the only convention that is mainly focusing it for many years. The watershed in International level on the issues came by the adoption of Palermo Protocol as it defined trafficking in a literal sense with a wider perspective as a matter of International law. India also signed the protocol after 2 years of its adoption on December 2, 2002, and ratified the same in 9 years back on May 13, 2011. In the Indian context, we have some sui generis law for the prevention of trafficking-
1. Indian Penal Code
Section 366A- If anyone induces a minor girl, i.e., under the age of eighteen years to go to a particular place for having forced sexual intercourse with another person shall be punished.
Section 366B - If anyone imports a girl under twenty years of age, to force or seduce her to sexual intercourse with another person shall be punished.
Section 374 - If anyone forces or compels anyone unlawfully to labour without his/her will, shall be punished.
2. Constitution of India
Though trafficking violates various fundamental rights (Part III) of a person being trafficked. Right to life, right to social security, right to personal liberty, right to freedom of movement, association, or right to have a proper and standard living condition, etc., all these rights of the ones being trafficked are violated miserably. But here the two articles are explicitly dealing with trafficking.
Article 23 - This gives protection to humans and beggars against Exploitation and trafficking and also punishes the same under the law.
Article 24 - This prohibits children of under fourteen years from working in factories, mines, or any such hazardous employment.
3. Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act
This is the primary legislation that protects women and girls from being sexually exploited. This does not define trafficking but has specified the offences punishable related to trafficking. The acts amounting to offences under this act are-
Earning from prostitution.
Unlawfully detaining a person in the area of prostitution.
Forcing someone for prostitution.
Opening of brothels, etc. and many such offences.
4. Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act
This is specifically meant for the protection of children. It punishes trafficking and also provides care and protection to the victim.
5. The Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill
The latest instrumentality that is under process for adoption of the new law in India is The Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018.
CHALLENGES FOR THE VICTIMS
The violence is not only physical, sexual assault (like rape), but it doesn't stop here itself the other things that may also come under the same ambit, and very few people are aware about it is – stalking, voyeurism, etc. The offences against children that come in a consequential way after the trafficking is child labour, Exploitation, and most important curtailment on their freedoms. The problem of trafficking doesn't restrict itself to only the commitment of offence or crime of trafficking but then it leads to many more social evil problems that are still existent with us, the trafficking acts as a connecting dot and invites many other crimes also, like:
The aforementioned are just some prominent offences that can easily be traced out in linkage with trafficking.
FACTORS LEADING TO TRAFFICKING
There are a plethora of reasons behind this, which are listed below:
Poverty and the lower socio-economic conditions: The dynamic reason for many crimes.
Orthodox and Patriarchal structure of Indian society (Traditions, i.e., Child Marriage)
The non-efficiency and apathetic attitude of law enforcement agencies.
Lacunas in the criminal justice system, evident from a conviction in crimes in issue relating to the trafficking cases.
Objectification of women by social media and Internet Pornography.
Sex Tourism and Migration.
Discrimination amongst men and women.
There are ample of many more reasons apart from the reasons above.
According to NCRB (National Crime Record Bureau), the highest incidence of children and women being trafficked were observed from the two big cities out of which one is the economic capital of our country, i.e., Mumbai and the other city is Kolkata. The way forward to curb this issue is not just only coming up with new legislation every time, along with that, we also need to implement them strictly and end the problem from its root cause.
According to a Human Rights Commission, the main focus areas of the traffickers are debt bondage, involuntary servitude, or forced labour. Through these, they easily take and sell the children and women working there because they are in need of money, living in poor conditions, not having proper food, and much more. Here the poverty and lack of awareness go hand in hand, which results in the Exploitation of the children and their families too. To tackle these hardships, they often go for this easy way. The government needs to look into those sectors (the marginalized and poor ones) and fill that communication gap to make them aware of their rights and laws for trafficking. Because for such people, trafficking is like a lucrative trade to earn money and profit for many purposes. Why not such cases and traffickers are being taken seriously, or why not the media highlights such people and make aware to the public about the harm, instead of spreading false rumours.
The implementation of the laws should be such that there is an assured guarantee to the victims and others that there will not be any repetition of such an act. All India survey/raids should be done by the crime bureau to find out the trafficking areas, brothels, traffickers, also areas or factories where bonded labour exists, and strict actions should be taken against the same.
The trafficking is such a global evil that it does not just violate human and fundamental rights but many others if we dig out the whole vicious cycle of trafficking and life thereafter. If we talk in Indian context, the issues in the protection of the women and children are ample due to many lacunas in every aspect from society to the legislative body. To prevent this issue, there is a need for a combined call from all sides to end these heinous crimes and to safeguard the women and children from trafficking and violation of their gross human rights by proper awareness and implementation of various laws.
To end or curb out the issues in the protection of women and children, it's quite apt said by Arthur Ashe "Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can" this is the prime thing that can completely make a watershed in these issues as when the public decides to do something no other force can stop them for a good cause.