Combating Human Trafficking: Need for networking is imperative

Human trafficking cases were rose by almost 20 percent in 2016 against the previous year says the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report, but the figures could be gross underestimates as most of the cases goes unreported.

Trafficked victims were lured with false promises and trapped into domestic servitude, forced marriage, begging, drug peddling and the removal of their organs. Trafficking in persons has become a lucrative business for the traffickers with high profit and low risk which make it more dangerous for the vulnerable people.

Caritas India has recently steered a consultation to combat human trafficking issue at Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh on March 13, 2018, with the likeminded NGOs in India & cross border to strengthen advocacy initiatives of civil society against Human Trafficking.

Thematic Manager of Caritas India, Ms. Leeza shared about Caritas India Swaraksha program which is working in 4 districts of Uttar Pradesh especially the Indo-Nepal border areas where human trafficking is highest. She briefed that village leaders, children, women, and men were mobilized into different groups to combat human trafficking in the area.

“Advanced technology making it much more challenging to identify the victim and the perpetrator”, says Mr. Mohammad Aftab, Child Protection specialist from UNICEF. Traffickers are very diligent & advanced in the entire Trafficking process, which is very challenging for the law enforcement agencies like AHTUs & Police Departments & judiciaries to handle the cases of trafficking. He also mentioned that there is need to build the capacity of not only the police but also the block development officer, village development officer etc.

Deputy Mayor of Nepal Ganj, Ms. Uma Thappa shared that Human Trafficking is a very serious issue in Nepal. In the absence of Law or  SOPs, combating human trafficking becomes a challenge for India and Nepal but expressed that it can be tackled through better coordination between both the Governments.

Ms. Namuna Bhusal, Program Manager of Child Welfare shared that human trafficking is a very sensitive issue and a lot of awareness is needed to stop it.

The vision of Caritas India to create a just society was shared by Caritas India Administrator Fr. Jolly Puthenpura. He said the Anti-Human Trafficking program Swaraksha is a step towards bringing dignity to the vulnerable and underprivileged.

Shabnam Pandey, Public Relation in charge for Cabinet Minister Smt. Rita Bahuguna Joshi, Women and Child Department appreciated Caritas for raising its voice against this evil act and bringing NGOs and other concerned people together across India. On behalf of Minister Women & Child Development, UP she shared that Government is always with the Organization who are ready to combat human trafficking.

“The need for collaborative dialogue and actions is needed between India and Nepal to combat cross-border human trafficking”, shared by Writu Bhata from Indo Nepal Child Protection Forum.

Raising the issue of shelter for rescued victims Dr. Jitendra Chaturvedi, Director, DEHAT organization said that due to the unavailability of the shelter home in the target area it’s difficult to rescue a child and provide shelter. The lengthy processes in rehabilitation and prosecution is a huge challenge in this regard.

Tapoti Bhowmick from Sanlaap shared the vulnerability of Girls & Women who fall prey to traffickers and that time it becomes very difficult to plan rehabilitation plan. Each person is very unique and we need to have individualized rehabilitation plan as per the need and desire of the trafficked and rescued person.

Punit Mishra, Deputy Director -Women & Child Development Department, Uttar Pradesh also shared the challenges, Gaps & Good Practices of Govt. He said things will change as the public is getting aware through media and awareness creation which will surely stop human trafficking.

“All officials are not corrupt”, said Ministhy S Nair IAS & Chief Guest for the Valedictory session. She stressed that we need to work together by taking the support of each other because everyone has their own strength which can be tapped to combat the trafficking. She said Caritas India’s effort to combat Human Trafficking working with different stakeholders will surely change the situation. She also launched the 6 monthly Newsletter of Swaraksha Program.

Several INGOs, NGOs & Govt. officials, Media attended the Program and shared the valuable suggestions on combating human trafficking. The consultation proposed wide-ranging suggestions to take the issue forward and strengthen the fight against human trafficking. Operation Manager of Caritas India, Ms. Shimray Mungreiphy read out the adopted action agenda of the consultation.

  • Strengthen coordination and collaboration of civil society Organisations (CSOs) with the existing Govt institutions like CWC, Child Line, NCPC, SCPC, AHTU, BDO, CDO, law enforcement agencies, Judiciary, Media houses etc.., and Promote Convergence for better services.
  • Strengthen the capacity of stakeholders – Concerned govt institutions officers -BDO, CDO, Law enforcement agencies, Judiciary etc. at various levels (Block/ District, State levels) through Regular/ periodic training and interface meetings
  • Maximise the use of modern technology to combat human trafficking
  • Advocate for conducive short stay/shelter homes for a Meaningful and appropriate rehabilitation.
  • Promote appropriate sustainable livelihood options in the villages /HT hotspots for potential migrants/victims to avoid /prevent exploitation (often towards women/girls for sex and labour exploitation)
  • Advocate for regular fund flow from Govt for Rehabilitation
  • Engage and liaise with Govt-Policy decision makers for developing Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for co-ordination of Nepal and India for addressing the issue in line with SAARC framework for addressing human trafficking and developing/finalising potential /Victim friendly legislation against H Trafficking
  • Advocate for bilateral Agreement for strengthening Co-ordination between Nepal and India through rigorous dialogue.
  • Promote Documentation of Anti-Human Trafficking

The consultation was a significant step towards combatting human trafficking when Union Cabinet has approved the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection, and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018. The bill will be introduced in the Parliament in the second half of the Budget Session.