Efforts to curb human trafficking continue to fail

The promise of marriage, employment and a better life by traffickers are easy techniques used to convince gullible women and girls who are then dragged into the thriving sex trafficking.

Every year, on July 30, the whole world joins hands dedicating the day to human trafficking. From a 5-year-old kid to a 16-year-old youth, in the 21st-century generation, no one is entirely safe from the deadly menace of human trafficking. 

With each passing year, Bengaluru is becoming a hotspot for child trafficking rings. However, West Bengal, Odisha and Jharkhand are still the top states where kids and youth are trafficked across the country and beyond.

As far as the government is concerned, even they are unable to provide any apt solution in this situation. This war against this crime must continue till the last victim is rescued and rehabilitated and the last perpetrator is brought to justice, is what the Vice-president of India, Venkaiah Naidu, had said recently while speaking about the perils of human trafficking.

This year, the theme for World Day Against Trafficking in Persons is: "Human Trafficking: Call Your Government To Action". 

Escalation in numbers

According to the National Crime Records Bureau's last crime statistics issued in 2016, there were 2,172 victims and 3,921 were arrested.

Children comprise a quarter of human trafficking victims in India, whereas women constitute up to 80 per cent of the total number of victims. Women who are trafficked are generally pushed into the harrowing life of prostitution.

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Migrants seeking employment abroad in construction, domestic work and other low-skilled sectors often face forced labour and land themselves into the vicious cycle of human trafficking.

The promise of marriage, employment and a better life by traffickers are easy techniques used to convince gullible women and girls who are then dragged into the thriving sex trafficking.

India continues to dominate the world in terms of being the hub and an ultimate destination for human trafficking as stated in a report published by the US Department of State.

Efforts taken to arrest the problem

Despite the implementation of tight border security, extending aid to victims and drafting bills to arrest this socio-economic issue, this dreadful trade still continues to thrive.

Last year, a bill with the aim of curbing trafficking of persons was passed in Parliament. However, according to civil society, the bill was blatantly flawed and is not helping the cause at all.

Established in 2000, the Rescue Foundation aims to investigate, rescue and rehabilitate victims of trafficking. Report suggests that a number of victims have already benefitted from this foundation in terms of receiving legal aid, counselling and other rehabilitation programmes.

In February 2014, an anti-human trafficking web portal was also launched by the government, creating a platform for those interested in sharing information.

Societal factors 

United Nations defines trafficking as any activity leading to recruitment, transportation, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of threat or use of force or a position of vulnerability. Shockingly, human trafficking has been categorised as the largest organised crime after drugs and arms trade around the globe.

The plight of social inequality, regional gender preference, poverty and corruption often triggers this kind of organised crime in society.

Apparently, child labour in India is illegal but kids are allowed to do 'light work'. Therefore, in the name of 'light work', a large number of kids are trafficked for bonded labour, making India one of the cheapest places in the world in terms of hiring manual labour. Organ trade, begging and sexual exploitation also accounts for the proliferation in numbers of children and youth being trafficked in this country.

To eliminate the curse

As stated in the 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report, to tackle this crisis, establishing anti-human trafficking units in all districts should be mandatory. Further to that, setting up protection programmes and compensation schemes by central and state governments to ensure the well-being of victims is also crucially important.

At a time when the entire globe is keeping an eye on India and its development, the government must come out with relevant and rational steps to overcome the situation. If not, it can be seen as a major failure of the government and this is definitely not good news for India.

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