“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Chief Justice Kalyan Jyoti Sengupta said as much when he shook the societal conscience to the menace posed by human trafficking. At a judicial colloquium here on Saturday, Justice Sengupta called for restoring the civic sense of people to the problem.

The colloquium was organised by the A.P. Judicial Academy in coordination with the Ministry of Home Affairs to examine human trafficking, which had become a global phenomenon and draw strategies to tackle the challenges posed to judicial, police and administrative wings of government.

In a touching address, Justice Sengupta gave a graphic account of how the syndicate lured young girls with the promise of good salary and luxurious lifestyle. Justice K.G. Shankar of the High Court recalled the case of a young girl who was booked under section 294 IPC. The girl admitted to the offence and when he was about to impose penalty on her, she pleaded to be sent to jail for three months. When quizzed, the girl said she desperately needed some rest. If she was let off with a fine, her body would be exploited further, she cried. Justice Shanker urged judges to give top priority to cases of human trafficking and show compassion to the victims who were arraigned as accused.

Justice R. Subhash Reddy, president, A.P. Judicial Academy, said human trafficking had become the third largest source of making-money after arms smuggling and drugs. He recalled a report in The Hindu about the exploitation of children by a circus company at Goa for 14 long years to show how youngsters were being abused.

Speakers touched upon human trafficking from various perspectives.

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