Human Rights Issues

[op-ed snap] The anti-trafficking Bill is necessary

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | mechanisms, laws, institutions & Bodies constituted for the protection & betterment of these vulnerable sections

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Global Slavery Index

Mains level: Various laws against trafficking and their effectiveness in curbing it


Context

Human trafficking in India

  1. According to the Global Slavery Index, India has more than seven million victims of modern slavery
  2. It is an alarmingly high number, even for a large country like India

Why increase in trafficking?

  1. The cases of trafficking that enter the criminal justice system are just the tip of the iceberg
  2. The number of victims is increasing each year, while the conviction rate of perpetrators continues to be abysmally low
  3. Traffickers are not scared of being penalized for the brutality and violence they subject their victims to
  4. The natural outcome of all this is that trafficking is one of the lowest risk crimes, not just in India, but all over the world

India’s steps towards curbing trafficking

  1. The Lok Sabha has recently passed a new Bill for countering human trafficking
  2. Section 370 of the Indian Penal Code defines trafficking and penalizes offenders
  3. There exists the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act (ITPA), 1956, which deals with cases of sex trafficking, and the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, which deals with offences of forced labour

Problems with current provisions

  1. Except for certain provisions of the ITPA, no law has provided any relief or rehabilitation to the victims of the offence
  2. With no witness/victim protection mechanism and no rehabilitation schemes, prosecutions suffer for lack of evidence
  3. This handicaps the criminal justice system’s efforts to secure convictions

Changes in the new bill

  1. The new Bill has been drafted with a victim-centric approach
  2. The new law focuses solely on the trafficked persons
  3. The focus is on the protection and rehabilitation of the victims
  4. It does not encourage the institutionalization of victims. Rather, it encourages reintegration, with provisions to ensure the protection of vulnerable survivors and that they are not re-trafficked
  5. The new Bill has a robust framework in place to ensure the human agency of trafficking survivors is not snatched away; their dignity has been given prime importance
  6. The Bill also calls for the creation of specialized units within the criminal justice system
  7. This is a proven method worldwide when it comes to increasing the efficiency of efforts to combat crimes like human trafficking

Socioeconomic causes behind crimes

  1. Most crimes have their roots in socioeconomic problems
  2. Poverty and unemployment make people vulnerable to being trafficked

Way forward

  1. Human trafficking is an extremely serious offence
  2. Its enormity calls for a stringent mechanism to counter it
  3. New Anti-trafficking law is not a perfect law, but it certainly is a better law than before
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