US officials impressed by Mumbai anti-trafficking court: cable

"In just over a year of operation, the anti-human trafficking court in Mumbai has disposed of a large backlog of trafficking cases, and improved the conviction rate for traffickers.

"In 2009, the court adjudicated 438 cases, and recorded convictions in 81 cases, with more than one defendant convicted in most cases," the cable dated February 17, 2010, originating from the US consulate in Mumbai and released by WikiLeaks, stated.

"The court also ordered the closure of 11 brothels. The transfer of many of Mumbai's trafficking cases to a single court has also helped identify trafficking patterns and repeat offenders, providing key analysis for law enforcement agencies," it said.

The cable said India would "benefit" from more urban anti-trafficking courts like Mumbai's which has made an impressive impact on enforcing anti-trafficking legislation in one of India's biggest cities.

The US State Department has refused to either confirm or deny the authenticity of these cables.

The anti-human trafficking court was established in Mumbai in August 2008 to hear criminal cases under the Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act.

The Act criminalises a number of prostitution and trafficking-relating activities, including living on the proceeds of the prostitution of another person, procuring or taking a person for prostitution, detaining a person in a location where prostitution is carried out and public solicitation.

"A dedicated anti-trafficking court is able to make a significant impact in bringing traffickers to justice. With 81 convictions in one year, Mumbai's anti-trafficking court has demonstrated its intent to fully prosecute trafficking charges," the cable stated.

"In an effort to better understand the total number of convictions for trafficking related offenses in Mumbai, post is working to obtain data from the Bombay High Court on the number of appeals filed from convictions under ITPA, other related penal statutes, and the Bonded Labor Act in 2009," it said.

The cable added: "This data should enable post to assess trafficking convictions involving higher crimes outside Chauhan's jurisdiction, convictions by other Magistrate Courts across the state, and forced-labor convictions."

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