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A Comprehensive Overview of the Legal Framework Against Human Trafficking in India

Trafficking refers to an unlawful commerce. Human trafficking is the practise of trading with other people. Humans are trafficked for the purposes of forced marriage, forced labour, domestic servitude, commercial sexual exploitation, organ or tissue harvesting. The third-largest organised crime in the world, behind the trafficking of narcotics and the trade in weapons, is human trafficking.

The major purpose of human trafficking worldwide is sexual exploitation, and women and children are the most common victims of it. There are many reasons why people are trafficked, but unhappily, the Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act (ITPA), which was passed in our nation, only combats human trafficking when it is carried out with the intention of sexual exploit

Therefore, to stop human trafficking in India, the whole legislative requirements pertaining to it must be reinforced. People's human rights are violated as a result of human trafficking, and they also risk becoming victims again. To ensure that the laws against human trafficking are effective in preventing the crime, they must be tightened.

The use of force, fraud, or deception to recruit, transport, transfer, harbor, or receive individuals with the intention of exploiting them for profit is known as human trafficking. This crime, which takes place in every region of the world, can make victims of men, women, and children of any age and from any background. The dealers frequently use brutality or false work offices and phony commitments of training and open positions to deceive and force their casualties.

Framework For Legal Action Against Human Trafficking

Apart from the provisions of the Constitution, which is the fundamental law of the country, there are a variety of laws enacted by the Parliament and some State legislatures in India.

Constitution of India

  • Article 23- Protects against exploitation, prohibits traffic in humans and beggar and makes this practice punishable under law.
  • Article 24- Protects children below age 14 from working in factories, mines or other hazardous employment.

Indian Penal Code

  • Section 366A of the Indian Penal Code defines trafficking as "inducing any minor girl under the age of eighteen years to go to any such place with intent to forced or seduced illicit intercourse with another person." There are approximately 25 provisions for trafficking in the Indian Penal Code.
  • Under Section 366B, it is illegal to import a girl under the age of 21 with the intention of coercing or seducing her into having sexual relations with another person.
  • Section 374 imposes punishment on anyone who unlawfully forces another person to work against their will.

The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act of 1956

Is the primary piece of legislation aimed at preventing sexual exploitation of women and girls. The Goa Children's Act of 2003, which is a state law, is the only source of definition for the term "trafficking." As a result, despite the fact that the ITPA is the primary piece of legislation that deals with commercial sexual exploitation of children, it does not define trafficking.

Offenses determined are:
  • Keeping a sibling or permitting premises to be utilized as a house of ill-repute
  • Living on the income of prostitution
  • Endeavoring, getting or taking individual for prostitution
  • Confining any individual in premises for prostitution
  • Prostitution nearby open spots
  • Enticement of an individual in care
  • Youthful Work (Disallowance and Guideline) Act, 1986
The Demonstration denies work of kids beneath unambiguous age and in specific determined occupations. Employing children under the age of 18 is also punished.

Data Innovation Act, 2000

  • The demonstration punishes transmission of any such material in electronic structure which is improper and lustful. Pornography is also addressed by this law.
  • Electronic publication or transmission of material containing sexually explicit acts is punishable under Section 67A.
  • Area 68B- Rebuffs distribution or transmission of material portraying kids in sexual unequivocal demonstration in electronic structure.

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act of 2000
Applies to vulnerable children who are more likely to be trafficked victims. It safeguards minors who require care and protection.

It is against the law and punishable under the Karnataka Devadasi (Prohibition of Dedication) Act of 1982 to dedicate a girl to prostitution, either with or without the consent of the dedicated individuals.

Andhra Pradesh Devadasi (Precluding Devotion) Act, 1989
This regulation precludes any function devoted as Devadasi in any way and forces a punishment of detainment for a very long time and fine.

The Goa Children's Act of 2003
Provides a precise definition of this law in Trafficking. The term "sexual assault" encompasses all forms of sexual exploitation. Minors and children staying at the hotel are the responsibility of the manager and owner. The publication of pornographic materials and child safety are subject to stringent regulations.

Landmark judgments in India's fight against human trafficking
In People's Union for Democratic Rights v. Union of India, (1982) 3 SCC 235, the honorable Supreme Court defined forced labor while discussing the scope of Article 23 of the Indian Constitution. The following is stated in this decision:

Therefore, the meaning of the word "force" must be interpreted to include not only physical or legal force but also force resulting from the compulsion of economic circumstances, which force a person in need to provide labor or service even though the compensation is less than the minimum wage and leaves him with no other options.

In this Public Interest Litigation, M. C. Mehta v. State of Tamil Nadu 1996 6 (SCC) 756, the Supreme Court outlined actions that should be taken to assist victims of child labor and their families. The High Court expressed:

'We are of the view that the culpable business should be requested to pay remuneration for each kid utilized in negation from the arrangements of the Demonstration an amount of Rs 20,000; and this should be done by the Inspectors, whose appointment is outlined in Section 17 to ensure compliance with the Act's provisions.

For each child employed in violation of the Act, Section 17 inspectors would ensure that the employer pays Rs 20,000, which could be deposited in a fund called the Child Labour Rehabilitation and Welfare Fund.

Even if the employer wanted to let the child go from his current job, the employer would still be responsible. A fund like this might be appropriate, either district- or area-wise. The money will be put into a corpus, and only the money from it will go to the child in question. The child's earnings on the corpus deposited could be the quantum. Funds can be deposited in a high-yielding scheme of any nationalized bank or other public entity to increase income.

Prerna v. State of Maharashtra: 2003 "No Magistrate can exercise jurisdiction over any person under 18 years of age whether that person is a juvenile in conflict with the law or a child in need of care and protection as defined by Sections 2(1) and 2(d) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000." The Bombay High Court set seven guidelines in this judgment for the protection of child victims and for the rehabilitation of the rescued child.

At the principal conceivable case, the Justices should do whatever it takes to learn the age of an individual who is by all accounts under 18 years old. The Magistrate is required to refer the case to the Juvenile Justice Board if the offender is a juvenile in violation of the law, or to the Child Welfare Committee if the offender is a child in need of protection and care.

Under Section 17(2) of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956, a Magistrate should have their ages determined the first time they are brought before him by individuals rescued under the Act or found soliciting in a public place. The Magistrate is obligated to refer the case to the Juvenile Justice Board if the offender is a juvenile in violation of the law, or to the Child Welfare Committee if the offender is a child in need of protection and care.

Any adolescent saved from a house of ill-repute under the Shameless Traffic (Counteraction) Act, 1956 or found requesting in a public spot ought to just be delivered after a request has been finished by the Post trial supervisor.

The rescued juvenile should only be released into the care and custody of a parent or guardian after the Child Welfare Committee has determined that the parent or guardian is qualified to do so.

The procedure outlined in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 should be followed for the rehabilitation of the rescued child if the parent or guardian is found to be unfit to have care and custody of the rescued juvenile.

A juvenile produced before the Child Welfare Committee after being rescued under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956, or found soliciting in a public place cannot have an advocate present on their behalf. Just the guardians/watchman of such adolescent ought to be allowed to make portrayals before the Youngster Government assistance Board of trustees through themselves or through a backer named for such reason.

A backer showing up for a pimp or house of ill-repute guardian is banned from showing up in similar case for the casualties protected under the Shameless Traffic (Counteraction) Act, 1956.

In the case of Bachpan Bachao Andolan v. Union of India (2011) SCC (5) 1, the Indian solicitor general argued that each state government should appoint an officer in charge of enforcing child protection laws. It was held that no youngster will be denied of his key privileges ensured under Constitution of India and bring to kid traffic and misuse.

Budhadev Karmaskar v. State of West Bengal, (2011) 11 SCC 538

In this judgment the High Court named a board to screen and recommend recovery conspire for dealt sex laborers and dealt casualties. In a case involving the brutal murder of a sex worker, the Supreme Court rejected the accused's appeal, stating:

We unequivocally feel that the Focal and the State Legislatures through Friendly Government assistance Sheets ought to plan plans for recovery all around the country for truly and physically mishandled ladies ordinarily referred to as whores as we are of the view that the whores likewise reserve an option to live with poise under Article 21 of the Constitution of India since they are likewise individuals and their concerns additionally should be tended to.

To ensure that the laws against human trafficking are effective in preventing the crime, they must be tightened. To stop people from becoming victims, human trafficking must be made known to those who live below the poverty line throughout the nation. The country may host a number of national and international seminars and conferences so that the general public and the government can work together to stop human trafficking.

In order to prevent them from becoming victims of human trafficking, the government must provide protection for the most vulnerable members of society. Only those who fall below the poverty line become victims of human trafficking, thus the crime may be considerably reduced if the government assists the underprivileged members of society and offers them access to suitable job and education.

People's perceptions of the idea of human trafficking remain clouded and ambiguous even today. It should be promoted by the government, the media, and educational institutions; special attention should be paid to educating the most vulnerable members of society.

Despite the fact that India has a number of anti-human trafficking laws, none of them are all-inclusive and cover the protection of victims as well as all forms of trafficking.

  1. Prof. S.N Mishra, Indian Penal Code, Central law Publications
  2. Pandey.J.N, Constitutional Law Of India 77 (52nd Ed 2015)

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