Barely 82 trafficking survivors awarded reparation in last 8 years - Editorial

Background Context 

Underlining the penurious status of indemnity (reparations) awarded to survivors of human trafficking in the country, feedback (replies) collected through the Right of Information Act (RTI) inquires around 32 locations (25 States and 7 Union Territories) disseminate (disclose) that so far only 82 sufferers were awarded indemnity (i.e. compensation) form March 2011 and April 2019. Considering the number of years, this seems a neglected area and need more attention from the centre.

Only 82 human trafficking survivors awarded reparation in last 8 years

However, the total, record number of HUMAN TRAFFICKING cases registered in India between 2011 and 2018, were staggering 35,983 cases matching the NCRB reports. The disturbing fact about HUMAN TRAFFICKING is that 3 of 5 people trafficked victims were children.

Put this into the calculation, and we reach to the fact that, only a mere 0.2% of all sufferers of humans trafficking got reparation from the government in the last eight years (2011 to 2018).

The IPC Section 357-A of Code of Criminal Procedure has a provision, that mentions to provide the reparation to the sufferers of the criminal offence.

Looking at the national outage (2012) of Nirbhaya Gang Rape and Murder case. The centre allocated 1000 crore fund to fight sexual violence and abuses against individuals (especially children and adults).

Legislative and Constitutional provisions from the context of Trafficking in India 

  1. The Constitution of India, especially underneath Article 23 (1) forbids trafficking of Human Being or Person.  
  2. The premier legislation, the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 (ITPA) is especially for the prevention and avoidance of human trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation. 
  3. Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, the year 2013 has established or constituted, wherein Section 370 of the Indian penal code has been trade-off or exchanged with Section 370 and 370A IPC which gears-up for collective and complete measures to counter the threat and jeopardy of human trafficking including trafficking of youngsters (including Children's and young girls) for varied exploitation. Some of the identified forms of exploitations are … 
    1. Physical exploitation of any sort 
    2. Commercial sexual exploitation or sexual exploitation of any sort 
    3. Bonded labours and slavery 
    4. Forced organ removal 
  4. Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, which has constituted and in effect from, November 14, 2012, is a special law to protect and safeguard children from erotic (sexual) assault and or any related exploitation. 
  5. It provides comprehensive clarity (precise visibility) for various sorts of sexual assault and abuses, including penetrative and non-penetrative sexual abuses, and sexual harassment. 
  6. Some legislations are specially drafted in relation to trafficking in Women and Children's, such as … 
    1. Prohibition and Avoidance of Kid Marriage Act, 2006. 
    2. Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1994. 
    3. IPC Section 372 and IPC section 373 of Indian Penal Code (IPC), dedicated to handling the matters concerning buying and selling women for the aim of prostitution. 
  7. Some state governments also took an initiative to constitute special legislation in directions toward prohibiting human trafficking. Example: The Punjab Prevention of Human Smuggling Act, 2012.

human trafficking survivors awarded compensation

Divide in data and Under-Reporting 

  1. The World Vision report cited that existing generality data from secondary sources for human trafficking for Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE) is non-existent, as sufferers are an unseen masses and currently no justifiable survey method or measures to track it. 
  2. Approximate figures of women and girls in Commercial Sex Exploitation (CSE) greatly vary from 70k+ to 3 million in India. 
  3. NCRB data disclose and showcases only reported cases of CSE, that not all occurrences of CSE are reported to legal authorities, sometimes because, an antediluvian load of family pride of orthodox Indian families or parents hesitant to report due to loss of dignity in society or worst, parents themselves are involved in some situations. 
  4. Insufficient data obstruct and curtain work for organisations similar to one like World Vision India. 
  5. Set back to Government institutions efforts:  - Shortfall of the required knowledge and guidance makes it difficult to identify and target high-generality areas, making it hard to concentrate on prevention (avoidance) deploy efforts effectively. 
  6. Insufficiency of information makes it very cumbersome (tedious) to trace the seriousness of things or situation reported and thus, the inadequate numbers indicate that there's no immediate problematic situation. 
  7. Cracks and discontinuity in data: Globally, there is a notable data gap in reporting trafficking. it's tough for trafficking victims and sufferers to report the detail description of occurrences of the situations because many of these victims are from marginalised and vulnerable parts of the society, but tons of information is lost due to meagreness of an effective integrated information collection system. 
  8. Consolidated Data System: Unified (consolidated) reporting and use of modern high-tech technology, digital databases by police authorities would generate more appropriate national amalgamation (union) of data and information. 
  9. Once data about, First Information Reports (FIR) and charge-sheets prepared are mapped into the digital system (police database), there would be more appropriate and precise reports of trafficking crimes. 

Nirbhaya fund

Nirbhaya fund is being utilised and shared for the Sufferer (victim) Compensation Scheme – a national strategy to indemnify scorched individuals (survivors) of rape, victims (especially women's and girls') of acid burns from acid attack, and trafficking among other categories of violence and abuses for the last few years.

The amount of reparation disbursed to victims of human trafficking differs from State to State, additionally, in 2018, the Apex Court commanded the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) to surround a systematize victim compensation scheme.

The assessment also showcases the number of human trafficking sufferers and survivors who decided to apply for the Victim Compensation Scheme.

International Conventions on Trafficking 

United Nations (UN) Convention on Human Trafficking: India has confirmed the United Nations (UN) Convention (accord/treaty) on Transnational Organised Crime (UNCTOC) which cited framework and policies for Prevention (avoidances), Suppression (vanquishing) and Retribution (penalties) of Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children's.

SAARC Convention/Accord: India has approved and confirmed the SAARC Convention/Accord on Elimination and Counter Trafficking in young Women and Children for Commercial or any form of Prostitution and Sexual Abuse.

A National Task Force was established to implement the SAARC Accord. 

An educational and assessment tour for SAARC Member countries was directed to know and educate from the episodes (incidents) of the Anti-Human Trafficking Units (AHTUs) constituted in various locations (districts) strategically selected within the country. Officials of Afghanistan, Bhutan and Sri Lanka took part in the study tour.

Number of Trafficking Victims who were awarded Compensation 2011-2019

Mutual (Reciprocal) mechanism: To counter and confront cross border trafficking and combat the distinct issues concerning the avoidance of Trafficking, victim recognition and indemnity and prepare the entire process rapid & prompt and sufferers-friendly (victim-friendly) between two nations, India and Bangladesh, a special Task Force of India and Bangladesh to combat these concerns were established.

The shortfall of awareness in victims regarding compensation 

The study also cites, that there remains a shortfall of information and data provided to survivors on victim reparations, deprivation of the initiative on the part of legal services authority, low or lack of funding on the side of legal support and cooperation that leads to only a handful of CSE survivors having access to reparation.

In their evaluation, the researchers identified (pursue) the particulars of a minimum of three case studies and reports where the trafficking survivors and sufferers had received reparation.

Suffers of CSE and other forms of sexual violence's were brave enough to apply only on the condition, when they were educated about the scheme and a personal lawyer or legal service professional was involved in encouraging them in applying for the application for victim reparation, highlighting that from their release (saving and rescue) until rehabilitation (reestablishment), the survivors are communication and being in consultation with many agencies but most of them fail to take any steps to accommodate (help) them receive reparation (compensation).

Conclusion: Policies and Protocols to avoid Human Trafficking 

Robustness of capacity building: To reinforce and concrete the capacity building of administering (responsible) agencies and create integrated awareness among them, various Upskilling & Training of Trainers (TOT) camps and workshops on confronting Trafficking in Human Beings for enforcement authorities (especially police) and for Prosecutors and analysts at multiple levels such as National, State and District levels were conducted throughout the nation.

Judicial Conference and Discussion: so as to upskill and sensitives the judicature’s officers, Judicial discussion on human trafficking took place at the High-Court level.

Primary goal of sensitize the judicature’s officials about the distinct issues and occurrences concerning human trafficking and to confirm rapid courtroom process. 

Till date, eleven Judicial conferences and discussions have been conducted at following places Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.

Unfortunately concerned officials and representatives tend to discard and underestimate the problem. Having appropriate and precise data on such concerned issues is crucial to develop successful methods.

Police authorities are expected to be proactive and dynamic in registering cases under Human Trafficking. Frequently cases are filed and registered as cases of abduction and abduction and or cases of the missing person despite there is a clear proof of trafficking.

Many Non-Profits are actively participating in the activity of collecting data and information about child trafficking. Although it is not the formal data or information, definitely they are very helpful pointers. 

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