Poverty-stricken persons are subjected to many problems in society, they are exploited for various illegal activities. One of such horrid situation is exploiting for prostitution, begging, labor, marriage, organ removal in a forceful way. Not only the persons from a rural background, but also many persons are kidnapped, abducted, or by way of a fraud doing such things. Human trafficking is one of the most International crimes committed leading to violation of human rights. Belarus, Venezuela, Russia, Libya, Syria, Yemen are some of the nations were Human trafficking is common. In India, Sikkim, West Bengal, Tripura, Rajasthan, Bihar, Lakshadweep, Punjab, Jharkhand, Nagaland, Orissa, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Daman & Diu, Kerala are the States where it is popular. Let us see the necessary steps taken by the Indian government to prohibit it.
After the horrid event of gang-rape at Delhi, a committee called Justice Verma Committee was set-up, it led to numerous changes in the criminal law, as a result of which the Criminal Amendment Act, 2013 came into existence. Whenever a person is exploited for sexual or monetary benefits against their wish that amounts to the trafficking of humans in general. Let us see the effect of the changes made in the Criminal law on the recommendation of the committee on human trafficking in detail below.
Section 370 of the Indian Penal Code was replaced by the sections 370 and 370A of the Indian Penal Code by the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013.
When any person exploits a person by using threats or force or coercion in any form or through abducting or performing fraud or deception or through abusing his power, or via inducement (I.e.) receiving or giving any money or some other benefits to getting consent from the person who has the control over that person to recruit, transport, harboring, transfers, receiving, then he has committed the offense of trafficking.
This brought a wide change in the aspect by expressing the term ‘exploitation’ in a defined manner. It incorporated even the trafficking of children who are exploited in any form that comprises physical, sexual, slavery, confinement or removing the organs forcefully. Though the victim gives his/her consent, it cannot be held into consideration.
The following are the punishments concerning the range of offenses committed under section 370 of the Indian Penal Code.
Section in IPC offence punishment
370(2) Trafficking of a person
7 to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment
370(3) Trafficking of more than one person. 10 years of rigorous imprisonment to life imprisonment + Fine
370(4) trafficking of a minor 10 years of rigorous imprisonment to life imprisonment + Fine
370(5) trafficking of more than 1 minor 14 years of rigorous imprisonment to life imprisonment + Fine
370(6) trafficking of minor in more than one occasion Imprisonment of Natural-life
370(7) Public Servant or police officer involved in the trafficking of any person Imprisonment of Natural-life
The following are the punishments in respect to the range of offence committed under section 370 A of Indian Penal Code. This section deals exploitation of a trafficked person.
Section in IPC offence punishment
370(1) Exploitation of a trafficked child 5 to7 years of rigorous imprisonment
370(2) Exploitation of a trafficked person 3 to 5 years of rigorous imprisonment + Fine
CONSTITUTIONAL AND LEGISLATIVE PROVISIONS RELATED TO TRAFFICKING IN INDIA:
• Article 23(1) of the Constitution prohibits the Trafficking of human beings.
• The foremost legislation which being enacted is The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 (ITPA) which prevents the exploitation of persons for sex work.
Section 3 and 18 of the Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act, 1956 had provisions for punishment for taking and procuring persons for the sake of prostitution.
• Another significant act to be known as the Protection of Children from Sexual offenses (POCSO) Act, 2012. Many definitions for a term like, sexual harassment, sexual abuse of someone in varying forms that covered penetrative, and non-penetrative sexual assault
• Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994, Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986. These are some of the special legislations that are enacted about the trafficking of women and children.
• Even some State government has enacted some acts to deal with this. Example: The Punjab Prevention of Human Smuggling Act, 2012.
• The following are some of the sections in IPC that provide the different aspects in trafficking of humans.
Section in IPC offence
363 A Kidnapping or Maiming a minor for the purpose of begging
366 A procuring a minor girl for sexual exploitation
366 B importation of a girl from a foreign country for sexual exploitation
371 Habitual dealing in slaves
372 Selling minor for purposes of prostitution
373 Buying minor for purposes of prostitution
The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) assisted the States to implement certain regulations in their respective place to control trafficking in humans with respect to their protocol.
Bodhisattwa Gautam v. Subhra Chakraborty, wherein a person had promised to marry a woman and even went through a wedding ceremony which later turned out to be false, compensation was ordered to be paid by the perpetrator of the crime to the victim. In another case of PUCL v. Union of India compensation was ordered to be paid where children were trafficked and bonded for labour. Protection of children from trafficking in person has been in debate for quite a while now and there are innumerable cases dealing with the issue. In Gaurav Jain v. Union of India ,a PIL filed to grant protection to children of sex workers and to keep them away from such a vulnerable and harmful environment, the Court agreed otherwise. In Lakshmikant Pandey v. Union of India which examined the vulnerability of children being trafficked in adoption rackets due to lack of an effective mechanism to protect them, the court created an appropriate mechanism to fill the gap, especially in the context of inter-country adoptions.
Though we have these many laws to regulate and control human trafficking in India, the crime rate has not decreased. To achieve the desired goals of the made amendment, the well-functioning of the judiciary and each individual is important. The government alone cannot do everything, every individual in the society is responsible for the welfare of society.
Credit: -SHREE LATHA SAMPATH
Clg name: TAMILNADU DR.AMBEDKHAR LAW UNIVERSITY [SCHOOL OF EXCELLANCE IN LAW], CHENNAI.