Mumbai

‘Technology a big challenge to tackle trafficking’

Speakers at a judges conclave on Securing Justice and Protection of Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation in Mumbai on Saturday.

Speakers at a judges conclave on Securing Justice and Protection of Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation in Mumbai on Saturday.  

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Speakers at a judges conclave concur on need for infrastructure and sensitivity to handle matters related to women, children

Retired judges of the Bombay High Court on Saturday spoke about the need to sensitise all stakeholders dealing with victims of commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) and to move beyond traditional methods of handling trafficking as technology is widely being used these days to traffic victims.

These concerns were voiced at a day-long judges conclave titled ‘Securing Justice and Protection of Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation’ organised by Maharashtra State Commission for Women (MSCW) and anti-trafficking organisation, NGO International Justice Mission at BKC.

Justice (retd.) Anand Nirgude spoke about being sensitive to women and said, “the solutions in law are not enough to dispense justice. One has to get sensitised to understand the issues of women victims. I urge every stakeholder in the legal fraternity to become sensitive as the first loss for victims of CSE is that of their courage and self respect, therefore we must empathise with them and help them come forward.”

Justice (retd.) A.H. Joshi spoke about investigating agencies being fully sensitive towards victims. He said, “public prosecutors are extremely over worked and investigating officers keep getting transferred, but judges should take a call, not grant adjournments, and hear matters sensitively. He said there should be at least one judge in every district to hear matters related to women and children.”

Justice (retd.) Roshan Dalvi touched upon the requirements for criminal justice system in order to deal with such cases. She said, “we need infrastructure and sensitivity” and added that the troubles for judiciary in handling the menace are “that cases are not reported, not pursued, survivors are sometimes tutored and many times also turn hostile.”

Justice (retd.) V.M. Kanade said sensitisation of judicial officers is essential and emphasised the need for a model to set up child-friendly courts with a design which has playground and training centres which help them depose.

Vijaya Rahatkar, chairperson, MSCW said, trafficking has become a great concern as technology is widely used to traffic victims. We will not be able to fight alone therefore it is important to involve all district level officers in this collaborative process. Melissa Walavalkar, director of operations at IJM said, “CSE of women and children is the most brutal form of exploitation and violation of their fundamental rights.”

The MSCW and IJM launched a curriculum for public prosecutors titled: “Commercial Sexual Exploitation: Laws, Procedures and Best Practices.” It consists of The Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, The Indian Penal Code, The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children Act); the roles of the Juvenile Justice Board, the Child Welfare Committee; Challenges that arise in Commercial Sexual Exploitation Trials, Survivors of Commercial Sexual Exploitation and the Justice System.

As per the curriculum in 2016, the National Crime Records Bureau data showed that 15, 379 persons were trafficked in India. Of the total number of 1,145 persons trafficked in Maharashtra, about 90% were for the purposes of CSE.

The Ministry of Women and Child Development in it’s 2014 annual report estimated that three million women and children are trafficked in India each year. In 2009, India’s federal police issued a statement estimating 1.2 million children alone were living in forced prostitution in India – not counting the adult women who are trafficked.

The 2017 National Crime Records Bureau report reveals that 71% of human trafficking cases are reported.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 8:30:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/technology-a-big-challenge-to-tackle-trafficking/article30064707.ece

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