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Human trafficking continues to wreak havoc

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Swati Maliwal
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By Nithin Sridhar

In a country that is rooted in the principles of dharma (righteousness), the incident of a 17-year- old Delhi girl who was allegedly lured to Jaipur on the pretext of helping her land a job but instead was sold and raped for two days, depicts a ground situation that is completely in contrast with the national ethos.

17-1426573913-women-rape123-600A majority of social crimes are targeted at women and children. Along with sexual harassment, dowry, and voyeurism that women have to face day in and day out, another serious issue that affects women as well as children is the issue of human trafficking.

The National Crime Records Bureau in its 2013 report records a total of 3,940 incidents of human trafficking across India that were reported with the police. In 2009, such reported incidents were 2,848. That is, an increase of 38.3% can be noted between 2009 and 2013. Out of those 3,940 cases, 1,224 cases were those of trafficking minor girls.

Human trafficking basically refers to transportation of a person from one place to another, followed by his/her exploitation and commercialization. Such a transportation may be done using force, inducement, or coercion and the trafficked person may be pushed into prostitution, domestic labor, bonded labor, or sold to foreign customers.

Goa Children’s Act, 2003 defines child trafficking as, “Child trafficking means the procurement, recruitment, transportation, transfer,harboring or receipt of children legally or illegally, within or across borders, by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of giving orreceiving payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control overanother person, for monetary gain or otherwise.” Though this is a definition of child-trafficking, it can easily be applied to any form of trafficking.

In other words, human trafficking can be considered as a mother of crimes, as it involves elements of many other crimes like kidnapping, rape, prostitution, child labor, bonded labor etc.

Photo Credit: http://cops.usdoj.gov
Photo Credit: http://cops.usdoj.gov

Elaborating on this aspect of human trafficking, Dr PM Nair in his 2007 handbook on trafficking, writes: “Human trafficking is a crime of crimes. It is a basket of crimes. In this basket one can dig out the elements of abduction, kidnapping, illegal detainment, illegal confinement, criminal intimidation, hurt, grievous hurt, sexual assault, outraging modesty, rape, unnatural offences, selling and buying of human beings, servitude, criminal conspiracy, abetment etc. Therefore, multiple abuse and abusers located at different points of time and place together constitute the organized crime of trafficking. A host of human rights violations like denial of privacy, denial of justice, denial of access to justice, deprivation of basic rights and dignity etc. constitute other part of the exploitation. Therefore, there is no doubt that trafficking is an organized crime.

Human trafficking is a very heinous crime and a blatant violation of human rights. It brings out a human mentality that has fallen so low as to exploit another human being and in many cases they are just small children. Human trafficking must not be looked in isolation but instead it should be considered as a source of supply that fulfills the demand put forward by other social ills like child labor, prostitution, and bonded labor.

Prostitution is the single important reason why women and children are trafficked. A large number of trafficked children are sold to brothels, escort agencies, or abroad. The unscrupulous factory and mill owners who purchase children and women labors for their factories and mills are also to be held responsible.

Similarly, many rich people purchase domestic labors. A large number of women and children are trafficked to foreign countries for domestic labor as well as for sexual slavery. The minor girls are also trafficked to supply brides to certain states wherein there is a scarcity of women. All these various other crimes provide the demand that is fulfilled by human trafficking. Trafficked people are also employed by the mafia that controls begging.

Though the cases of human trafficking that are registered with the police are low, a US “Trafficking in Persons Report,” 2015 states that millions of women and children are victims of sex-trafficking in India. It says the prime destinations for female trafficking victims are Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, Gujarat, and the India-Nepal border.

In order to tackle this multi-dimensional organized crime of human trafficking, the measures that are adopted must be multi-dimensional as well. The US report recommends that India should stop penalizing the victims of trafficking and should increase the prosecution and conviction of perpetrators of all kinds of human trafficking including those of bonded labors. It further suggests that India should provide more manpower and resources to Anti-Human Trafficking Units. The state and central governments should effectively implement various protection programs for the victims and fast-track courts must be established to ensure speedy closure of the cases. The report also suggested the government to strictly penalize all official who are complicit in trafficking.

Other measures like spreading education and moral values will have long-term effect in reducing social ills. The government should also work with NGOs to prevent the trafficking at the source. Dr PM Nair suggests adoption of an integrated and comprehensive approach to deal with trafficking. He says trafficking should be dealt through persecution, protection, and prevention. With regard to prevention, he says the government should prevent trafficking not only at source but also at the place of demand as well as during transit. He states that those who are involved directly or indirectly in generating the demand i.e. customers, financers, abettors and others should all be prosecuted. He also adds that the government should take measures to prevent re-trafficking of the rescued victims.

Consequently, through a series of measures like proper monitoring, proper prosecution and others, India can go a long way in slowly reducing the rate of trafficking. It is a duty of every human to put best possible efforts towards weeding out this inhuman practice of trafficking from the society. 

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A Data Project To Predict Human Trafficking Before It Occurs By Corporate Giants

Along with IBM and Western Union, participants include Europol, Europe's law enforcement agency is also included

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Human Trafficking
People protesting against human trafficking and slavery raise their fists during a demonstration in Mexico City. VOA

Computer giant IBM Corp., financial services company Western Union
Co. and European police launched a project Thursday to share financial data that they said may one day be able to predict human trafficking before it occurs.

The shared data hub will collect information on money moving around the world and compare it with known ways that traffickers move their illicit gains, highlighting red flags signaling potential trafficking, organizers said.

“We will build and aggregate that material, using IBM tools, into an understanding of hot spots and routes and trends,” said Neil Giles, a director at global anti-slavery group Stop the Traffik, which is participating in the project.

Human Trafficking
Ethnic Uighur Muslim boy stands inside a police van in Khlong Hoi Khong of southern Songkhla province, Thailand. He was in a group of 200 people rescued from a human trafficking camp. VOA

Data collection, digital tools and modern technology are the latest weapons in the fight against human trafficking, estimated to be a $150 billion-a-year global business, according to the International Labor Organization.

The U.N. has set a goal of 2030 for ending forced labor and modern slavery worldwide, with more than 40 million people estimated to be enslaved around the world.

Certain patterns and suspicious activity might trigger a block of a transaction or an investigation into possible forced labor or sex slavery, organizers said.

The project will utilize IBM’s internet cloud services as well as artificial intelligence and machine learning to compare data and to spot specific trafficking terms, said Sophia Tu, director of IBM Corporate Citizenship.

Human Trafficking
The project will utilize IBM’s internet cloud services

With a large volume of high-quality data, the hub one day may predict trafficking before it happens, she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“You can’t do it today because we’re in the process of building out that amount of data and those capabilities, but it’s in the road map for what we want to do,” she said.

While law enforcement is teaming up with banks and data specialists to chase trafficking, experts have cautioned that it can be a cat-and-mouse game in which traffickers quickly move on to new tactics to elude capture.

Also Read: USA And Other Countries Pledge To Eradicate Illegal Wildlife Trade

Also, less than 1 percent of the estimated $1.5 trillion-plus laundered by criminals worldwide each year through the financial system is frozen or confiscated, according to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime.

Along with IBM and Western Union, participants include Europol, Europe’s law enforcement agency; telecommunications giant Liberty Global; and British banks Barclays and Lloyds, organizers said. (VOA)