Trafficking in Women and Children

The Commission has requested its Member, Justice Sujata V. Manohar, to serve as its Focal Point in respect of the Human Rights of Women, including such matters as Trafficking in Women & Children. Among the activities initiated by the Focal Point is a programme calling for Action Research on Trafficking in Women and Children in India, which is being conducted jointly by the Commission and UNIFEM, the latter having offered to bear the entire cost of the programme.

The main focus of the Action Research programme would be on Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE), though other purposes of trafficking would also be considered, especially since such purposes are often interchangeable with CSE. The other objectives of the programme would be to concentrate on the areas and routes of trafficking, transit points, the role of law enforcement agencies, NGOs and others in detecting and curbing trafficking. It would also analyse the reasons for trafficking and the measures necessary for the prevention of trafficking. The research would review the existent laws (national / international), recommend whether new laws should be enacted and whether existing laws can be strengthened. It would also analyse issues relating to the repatriation and rehabilitation of women and children once they are rescued. The initial information-base for the study would be police records, media reports of missing persons, reports of the National and State Commissions for Women, the records of NGOs and those of the Border Security Force. In order to obtain the requisite information from these sources, a number of NGOs/institutions will be identified from the effected districts of the following States, namely, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Pondicherry, the North-Eastern States, and the six cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Hyderabad. Information will also be collected from the victims of trafficking, especially those who have been rescued on those who are still in situations of exploitation, such as prostitution, bonded labour, begging, etc. The source area for this information would be rescue homes, red light areas, night shelters, juvenile homes and the like.

In consultation with UNIFEM, the Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi has been identified as the nodal NGO to coordinate the entire research programme; it is expected to work closely with other NGOs / institutions identified in each of States/cities mentioned above. Given the criminal nature of the problem, it is proposed to identify a senior Police Officer as a resource/nodal officer with the Commission to act as a link between the Commission and the identified nodal NGO.

With a view to starting the proposed Action Research, a one-day Technical Consultation for the National Level Action Research on Trafficking in Women and Children was held at the Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi on 9 October 2001. It was inaugurated by the Chairperson of the Commission. The Workshop focussed on finalising the methodology for the proposed Action Research.