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Girl and Women Trafficking in India

Trafficking is defined as a trade in something that should not be traded in for various social, economic or political reasons.Thus we have terms like drug trafficking, arms trafficking and human trafficking. The concept of human trafficking refers to the criminal practice of exploiting human beings by treating them like commodities for profit. Even after being trafficked victims are subjected to long term exploitation. The crime of trafficking manifests itself through the following

According to a recent survey women are bought and sold with impunity and trafficked at will to other countries from different parts of India. These girls and women are sourced from Dindigal, Madurai, Tiruchirapalli, and Chengalpattu in TamilNadu, Gaya, Kishanganj, Patna, Katihar, Purnea, Araria and Madhubani from Bihar, Murshidabad and 24 Parganas in West Bengal, Maharajgunj from UP, Dholpur, Alwar, Tonk from Rajasthan, Mangalore, and Gulbarga and Raichur from Karnataka. These women and girls are supplied to Thailand, Kenya, South Africa and Middle East countries like Bahrin, Dubai, Oman, Britain, South Korea and Philippines. They are forced to work as sex workers undergoing severe exploitation and abuse. These women are the most vulnerable group in contracting HIV infection. Due to unrelenting poverty and lack of unemployment opportunities there is an increase in the voluntary entry of women into sex work.

Trafficking both for commercial sexual exploitation and for non-sex based exploitation is a transnational and complex challenge as it is an organized criminal activity, an extreme form of human rights violation and an issue of economic empowerment and social justice. The trafficking of women and children causes untold miseries as it violates the rights and dignity of the individual in several ways. It violates the individual's rights to life, dignity, security, privacy, health, education and redressal of grievances.

Methods and strategies of prevention

The UN's Protocol contains a number of provisions aimed at preventing trafficking. State parties are required to establish policies, programmes and other measures aimed at preventing trafficking and protecting trafficked persons from re-victimization. The existence of vulnerable situations of inequality and injustice coupled with the exploitation of the victim's circumstances by the traffickers and others cause untold harm to the trafficked victim who faces a multiplicity of rights violations.

Therefore policies, programmes and strategies that address prevention have to be unique with a focus on and an orientation towards all these issues. Accordingly the prevention of trafficking needs to be addressed not only in relation to the source areas but also in the demand areas the transit points and the trafficking routes. Strategies in all these areas have to be oriented towards the specific characteristics of the situation and the target groups.

  • The best method of prevention is its integration it with prosecution and protection. Prosecution includes several tasks like the identification of the traffickers bringing them to the book, confiscating their illegal assets. Protection of the trafficked victim includes all steps towards the redressal of their grievances thus helping the victim survive, rehabilitate and establish herself/himself. Thus prosecution and protection contribute to prevention.

  • The strategies should address the issues of livelihood options and opportunities by focusing on efforts to eradicate poverty, illiteracy etc.There should be special packages for women and children in those communities where entry into CSE may be perceived as the only available option. Education and other services should be oriented towards capacity building and the consequent empowerment of vulnerable groups.

  • Gender discrimination and patriarchal mindset are important constituents and catalysts of the vulnerability of women and girl children. This manifests itself in several serious violations of women's rights such as high incidence of female foeticide and infanticide and the discrimination against women in healthcare, education and employment. Since these are vulnerability factors that trigger trafficking prevention strategies need to be oriented accordingly.

  • Natural calamities and manmade disturbances do exacerbate the vulnerability situation. Therefore relief and aftercare programmes need to have specific components focused on the rights of women and children.

  • At the micro level the prevention of trafficking in the source areas requires a working partnership between the police and NGOs.Public awareness campaigns and community participation are key to prevention programmes.Prevention is best achieved by community policing.

  • Political will is an essential requirement to combat trafficking.

  • Creating legal awareness is one of the most important functions of any social action programme because without legal awareness it is not possible to promote any real social activism. Legal awareness empowers people by making them aware of their rights, and can work towards strengthening them to develop zero tolerance towards abuse and exploitation.

  • Immigration officials at the borders need to be sensitized so that they can network with the police as well as with NGOs working on preventing trafficking.

  • Help lines and help booths are very important for providing timely help to any person in distress. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is considering collaboration between government agencies and NGOs for setting up help lines and help booths that can provide timely assistance to child victims. It will be appropriate if the Child lines all over India, NGOs working on child rights, missing person bureaus and police help lines are linked together as a formidable tool against trafficking.

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