‘One stop crisis team’ formed to tackle human trafficking

Principal District Judge A. Nazeema Banu addressing a workshop in Madurai on Wednesday.

Principal District Judge A. Nazeema Banu addressing a workshop in Madurai on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: S. James

A ‘One Stop Crisis team’ has been formed to combat bonded labour and provide effective legal assistance to victims.

The move was announced at a workshop on human trafficking conducted by District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) and International Justice Mission, an NGO, on Wednesday.

The team, constituted upon instructions of Tamil Nadu Legal Services Authority, included Superintendent of Police N. Manivannan, District Revenue Officer P. Selvaraj, members of labour and social welfare departments, advocates, para legal volunteers and social activists.

Community Partnership Manager Sam Jebadurai said the primary role of the team would be conduct periodical inspections to check for bonded labour. The team must also be involved in spreading awareness among local communities about laws that protect victims of human trafficking.

Elaborating on various sections of the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, Principal District Judge and Chairman of DLSA A. Nazeema Banu said: “Free movement, which is an integral part of the Constitution, is restricted for bonded labour. It also involves forfeiture of property.”

The Act had several penalties for forced extraction of work and that no one should be forced to do such work.

Mr. Manivannan highlighted the various penalties available to the public to combat trafficking under the Indian Penal Code. He said people were commonly trafficked for sexual exploitation and forced labour. “Members of the district administration, police and revenue must come together to address the issue and awareness must be created.”

Deputy Commissioner of Police (L&O) V. Sasi Mohan said areas with abject poverty and political instability were susceptible to trafficking. He highlighted the instances of Sudan, Bangladesh and China as examples.

“In India, however, the skewed sex ratio and the large gender disparity causes such crimes. It is common to see women being forced to enter marriage. The low literacy rate among women is another cause. Men are usually trafficked for the purpose of cheap labour,” he said.

Not many people in distress came forward to state their position. “We must attempt to identify them and address the situation. We can at least try to help child labourers,” he said.

Rehabilitation measures, including provision of counselling, psychological care and reconnecting with family members, needed to be stepped up, he added.

He hoped that with the integration of stakeholders, the situation would change.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 7:25:51 PM |

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