Ram Rattan Sharma
Anti human trafficking is one of the gravest violations of human dignity apart from being a serious violation of human rights, has reached alarming heights. Trafficking has reached alarming proportions in the past two decades, globally. Trafficking of women and children for commercial exploitation, and for other abusive purposes, is rampant in India. The incidence of intra country trafficking is also very high. The constitution of India, under article 23, prohibits trafficking in any form. There are special legislations in place like the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act. Bonded labour Abolition Act, Juvenile Justice Act, etc , in addition to the provisions in the Indian penal code. The Govt. of India has proposed amendments to the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act 1956. The changes have been proposed as the existing frame work is inadequate to counter trafficking. Human trafficking can be classified into three categories: (a) Commercial exploitation (b) exploitative labour and (c) organ selling. The first category i.e. commercial exploitation could take place in brothels, massage parlours, beer bars etc. even some of the marriage bureaus are said to be trafficking women under the guise of forging marriage alliances, especially in places, where the ratio of male & female population is unfavourable . Trafficking of exploitative labour could take place in the form of labour in Industries agriculture, domestic service, entertainment, industry, etc. This could victimize children men and women. The third category pertains to organ trafficking. The cause of trafficking is two dimensional in character. First the demand factor and second, the vulnerability of the person being trafficked or likely to be trafficked, both abet human trafficking. Where there is more demand, there is higher incidence of human trafficking. Human trafficking in any form is demand driven. In association with the demand factor, vulnerability of the victims makes it easier for the traffickers to commit the crime. However, vulnerability is not the outcome of poverty alone. It is combination of several factors. These factors include illiteracy, lack of awareness of rights, disparities in income, scope of exploitation of the person, poor law enforcement, lack of public awareness etc.
The other known purposes of trafficking pertain to the entertainment , domestic work, the carpet and garment industries, fishing and brick industries, forced labour, drug trafficking , begging etc. Mainly women and children are victimized in these activities, about seventy three million children belonging to the age group of 10-14 years are engaged in child labour all over the world. Article 24 of the Constitution of India bans child labour below 14 years of age. More than 20 percent child labourers age 5-14, in India are toiling in the fields or hunting in forest for a livelihood . Mainly women and children are victimized in these activities. Children do not go to school as they have to work to add to the income of the family. With globalization and increasing competition, there is a growing demand from employers and enterprises for cheap labour of women and children. Many women and children are lured out of their homes by false promises of marriage and work .They may willingly accompany their friends or acquaintances only to find themselves trapped in a vulnerable situation. Their living conditions are deplorable with facilities provided at the work place as well as in the living quarters being below acceptable standards, wages paid are very low and sometimes, they are not paid at all. These children have no access to healthy or medical facilities. The employer takes advantage of their docility and their willingness to do monotonous jobs. Rescue of minors from any kind of illegal profession is primarily the state’s responsibility. NGO’s however have done a much better job by themselves throughout the country. Organ trafficking is not new to the world and India is considered to be one of the biggest hubs of organ trafficking. The rich people are ready to pay huge sums of money to save their lives and there are donors, who donate for the sake of earning money . The donors are mainly poor people, who are lured by very lucrative offers interms of money and Jobs. The world health organization estimated that ten percent of all transplants involved patients from developed countries who go to poor countries to buy organs.
The Govt. of India formulated a National plan of Action to combat immoral trafficking in 1998. It was formulated by the Dept. of Women and Children Development and the Ministry of Human Resources Development. A committee was formed to look into the problems of the trafficking with the help of NGO’s and other organizations, who are engaged in addressing this issue. Anti human trafficking is an era which beckons all those who are concerned with human rights violations. The United Nations office on Drugs and crimes, New Delhi in partnership with the Govt. of India and the state Govt. agencies, has stepup Anti-human trafficking units in several states. All those who are committed to human rights must join hands in this global initiative to fight human trafficking, which is causing disrespect to the society and the country.
(The author is former Dy. Librarian University of Jammu)
Ram Rattan Sharma