• Shreya Sinha


Updated: Aug 28, 2020

By- Arunabh Srivastava, 2nd Year Student of Symbiosis Law School, Noida

Human Trafficking means trafficking of persons within a state or across borders without their consent. Earlier, this term was given the name Slavery, but certainly, in today’s world, we have been quite successful in the abolition of slavery. However, human trafficking is a broader term. Human trafficking is done for sexual exploitation, forced labour, etc.

Human Trafficking has been taken care of by the United Nations (UN), The United Nation General Assembly (UNGA) meet in 2000 adopted the protocol to prevent, suppress, and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children. It was criminalized in a convention of the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime (UNCTOC), 2013, which has been ratified by most of the member nations. This Convention has been duly ratified by India as well. This adoption would help member nations draft and build strong impositions on human trafficking offenders. To decrease such activity, the Convention asks for the strict following of 3P’s, i.e., Prevention, Protection, and Prosecution.

1. Prevention: This deals with the prevention of Human Trafficking in states.

2. Protection: This deals with the protection of victims of Human Trafficking.

3. Prosecution: This deals with the prosecution of Human Trafficking offenders

The global report on trafficking of persons released by United Nations Offence on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) states that the most common form of human trafficking is Sexual Exploitation, which amounts to approximately 79% of the total human trafficking cases. The victims of Human Trafficking are predominantly women and girls. In about 30% of the nations, women make up the largest proportion of trafficked persons. Surprisingly, in some nations, women trafficking is the norm. The second most common form of human trafficking is forced labour, which amounts to approximately 18% of the total human trafficking cases. This is a sad reality but, worldwide, almost 20% of the victims of human trafficking in the form of forced labour are children.


There are many types of Human Trafficking, but these are the most common:

1. Forced Labour:

When a family is unable to take care of their child, due to lack of money, or any other reason, they usually give up the child to an adoption agent, who in turn sells the kid to someone else, who uses this child for forced labour, many a time in harsh workplaces, without caring about the child’s health. The purchased child is often offered only minimum nutrition and is refrained from being educated.

2. Sex Trafficking:

Women are misinformed about job opportunities across the border and are supplied to other countries for prostitution. Meanwhile, the contractor keeps the salary of such prostitutes, to never lose his control on them.

3. Debt Bondage:

People who are in debt, and are desperate to pay it off, often become victims of such debt bondage. In this, a person desperate to pay off his debt often gets influenced by employers offering good jobs across the border. They agree to the terms of the job and accompany the employers to the location of their expected employment. Still, after they are brought up to the location, the employees take all their all documents and make them work as housekeepers, and ensure that their movement remains restricted.

4. Child Sex Trafficking:

Any child found helpless on the street roaming around, is often the first target for hunt. These children are often abducted and seduced and are coerced to participate in the prostitution ring, which generates a lot of profit.

5. Trafficking for removal of organs:

In many countries, there is a long waiting list for organ transplantation, which is seemed as an opportunity by the offenders to exploit the desperation of patients. The health of victims is at risk as the operations are carried out in clandestine conditions without any proper medical follow up. The increased amount of people living with diabetes is likely to increase the requirement of organ transplantation, which may result in this crime becoming more lucrative.


According to reports of UNODC, India remains the top country in Human Trafficking in South Asia. As per National Crime Report Bureau (NCRB), In 2018, 2465 cases of Human Trafficking were reported pan India, while 5264 victims were rescued in 2018. Reports show that Boys (below 18 years) are trafficked more as compared to girls. India had acted diligently on this topic long back in 1956 by enacting the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act (ITA), 1956. Certain punishment for offenders had also been defined under Section 370 and 370A of IPC. Besides this, India has responded to this problem with due diligence, as it has duly ratified the UN Convention, SAARC Convention and bilateral mechanism which deals with drafting of strong laws to prevent cross border transport of victims. To tackle this menace, the Home Ministry of India has taken several measures such as:

1. Setting up the Anti Traffic Cell (ATC):

It was set up to improve the effectiveness of tackling the crime of Human Trafficking, and to increase enforcement of law machinery, MHA would also conduct meetings with Nodal Officers of Anti Human Trafficking Units, which are nominated in all states and Union Territories.

2. Release of Funds for establishment of Anti Human Trafficking Units (AHTU):

The introduction of AHTU in 270 districts would strengthen law enforcement.

3. Strengthening of capacity building:

Various Training of Trainers (TOT) workshops for police officers, prosecutors at Regional, District, and State level would be set up on combating Trafficking in human beings by creating general awareness and enhancing capacity building of law enforcement agencies.

4. Judicial Colloquium:

To train trial court judicial officers, Judicial Colloquium on Human Trafficking is held at a high court level. Such colloquium aims to sensitize judicial officers about various prevailing issues concerning to Human Trafficking and to ensure a speedy process of the court. Eleven such colloquiums have been set up at Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odessa, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu till date.


Human Trafficking is a broad term that points out the flaws in intact and strong enforcement of the law. Human Trafficking has been the result of the illicit mindset of some people, which in turn causes life-threatening experience for other Human Beings. For this, a strong imposition and execution of the law play an essential role. Thus, there is a strict need for govt. to prepare action plans that can help the law in restricting human trafficking.

(Disclaimer- The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Child Rights Centre.)

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