Children for Sale Rampant, Solutions to Trafikking must involve Survivors: Citizen’s Jury

Photo Credit:

The currently pending Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill 2016, which has been put out by the Ministry of Women and Child Development for discussion must include all stake holders

On June 22, 2016, HAQ and the Campaign against Child Trafficking (CACT) released a report on child trafficking in India.  At this event a public hearing was organised in which child survivors (some of whom are now adults) deposed before an eminent jury.
The Jury Members were Lushin Dubey, Siddharth Luthra and Om Thanvi. A detailed report on Child Trafikking was also released. It can be read here
A succinct Verdict was prepared by the Jury. This is what it says:
On hearing the depositions and reading the stories of those who are unable to depose due to emotional reasons, which we respect, the jury has the following observations to make:

  1. The issue is complex and not limited to just the legal aspect but also relates to social and economic issues.
  2. The issue of child tracfficking has to be tackled at its root and there has to be an environment created to prevent trafficking by empowering urban/rural communities, creating awareness and providing education to families and children. Moreover, as an act of preventive measure, providing opportunities of employment and security within the community in collaboration with the local government, NGOs and the police seems to be the need of the hour to act as a preventive measure.
  3. The next stage is of community response which must be calibrated with necessary and relevant education and training to act both as a preventive measure, and to enable adequate rehabilitation measures and acceptance of children as victims of crime, needing special care within the community. This requires proactive efforts at both the state and local government level as well as on a social level.
  4. These are different categories of trafficking – whether through coercion, kidnapping or with the consent of the parents – all of which need to be dealt with, in their distinct forms. The legal framework also needs to be reviewed to ensure complete coverage. This review must happen on a 5/10 yearly basis by viewing the impact of legal and administrative changes on the menance.
  5. Reporting of crime is an issue which has to be dealt with by the law enforcement agencies. Perhaps units akin to economic crime/crime against women (CAW) which carry out pre-investigative enquiries need to be set up. This would ensure that from the time of reporting, even if an FIR is to be deferred, the police machinery begins their work immediately.
  6. Lack of coordination between state police agencies, anti-human trafficking units (AHTUs) and other agencies tasked with child care has to be legislatively and administratively streamlined.
  7. The investigation has to be specialized, made efficacious and standardized protocols need to be adopted throughout the country to avoid state-wise variations despite the presence of central substantive and procedural laws.
  8. Investigation must be comprehensive as it often has inter-state ramifications and cannot be limited to one or the other aspect alone merely because of the convenience of the police.
  9. Integrity of police investigation and efforts need to be provided for and improved. A review mechanism should be created within each state since police is a state subject.
  10. Special prosecution efforts have to be taken keeping in view the nature of crime. The judicial process needs to be expedited and there should be timely review by the High Court.
  11. Post investigation and prosecution, there have to be adequate standardization measures for rehabilitation and compensation, including medical treatment, to ensure that all victims are provided proper relief and assistance at state cost for their rehabilitation first within the community and then in the society at large. The victims should also be able to access their right to education, including vocational training, as part of the rehabilitation program.
  12. The jury that all the concerned stakeholders, including NGOs and particularly survivors, should be properly consulted before the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill 2016, which has been put out by the Ministry of Women and Child Development for inviting suggestions, is given a final shape.
  13. The jury appreciates the work done by the organizations supporting the victims of child trafficking and the cause.

Cover Photo credit:



Related Articles