Thursday, January 29, 2009

Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is modern-day slavery, involving victims who are forced, defrauded or coerced into labour or sexual exploitation. Annually, about six to eight lakh people—mostly women and children—are trafficked across national borders which does not count million trafficked within their own countries. People are snared into trafficking by many means. In some cases, physical force is used. In other cases, false promises are made regarding job opportunities or marriages in foreign countries to entrap victims.
Human trafficking is a multi-dimensional threat—it deprives people of their human rights and freedoms, it is a global health risk, and it fuels the growth of organised crime. It has a devastating impact on individual victims, who often suffer physical and emotional abuse, rape, threat against self and family, passport theft, and even death. But the impact of human trafficking goes beyond individual victims, it undermines the safety and security of all nations it touches.
India is a source, transit and destination country for women, men and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual and labour exploitation. Indian men and women are trafficked into situations of involuntary servitude in countries in the Middle East and children may be forced to work as beggars or camel jockeys.
Why India Targeted?
In India, human trafficking is one of the fastest growing destinations where people are forced into slavery. It affects every continent and most countries. It involves the movement of people through violence, deception or coercion for the purpose of forced labour, servitude or slavery-like practices. As per the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), India is one of the top three migrant-sending nations in which cases also include defrauding of people in other countries. Most of the illegal immigrants are from Punjab. Kabootar is the Punjabi code for the illegal immigrant who goes overseas in a group on a visitor visa or a sticker visa (fake visa) and then simply vanishes.
India is also a growing destination for sex tourists from Europe, the US, the UK and a number of Western countries. Internal trafficking of women, men and children for the purposes of sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, bonded labour and indentured servitude is widespread.
A number of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in the country, especially in nearby States as Assam, West Bengal and Tripura are of serious concern. The illegal migrants have changed in the border areas demography of India to a great extent, creating ethnic imbalance.
Need of the Hour
The Government needs to designate and empower a national law enforcement entity to carry out investigations and law enforcement operations against trafficking crimes with nation-wide jurisdiction.
Recently, the Government has decided to include the exploitation of human being under the garb of religious or social practices as cases of trafficking under the proposed amendments to the Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act (ITPA), 1956. Under the proposed amendment, the law against trafficking of women will get more teeth.

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