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Stolen innocence

 Anil Bhat |  2015-11-22 19:19:27.0  |  0

Stolen innocence

Human trafficking encompasses a wide range of activities and persons, many of who do not even initially realise that they are going to be trafficked. This book elaborates the term “trafficking” with a view to properly understand its trends, dimensions, and gaps in policy and law that need to be plugged and aims to initiate fresh discussion on human trafficking as well as offers recommendations to curb organised international crime. 

Exploring varied dimensions of the crime it offers further classification to help effectively address the problem. It presents a new perspective of identifying assimilative interaction between social and criminal justice systems, the progressive growth in socio-criminal legislations, and the universal demand of multi-agency approach to combat trafficking. Through the Brute Mute theory, it gives an illustrative description of micro- and macro-governance, and offers a global perspective to the problem with examples and case studies. Prior to this book Mishra edited a volume titled Human Trafficking (also Sage) comprising 29 articles under six sections, by various authors. 

The Palermo Protocol was instituted to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children. Also referred to as the Trafficking Protocol or UN TIP, it is a protocol to the Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and is one of the three Palermo protocols. While the other two protocols are Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air and the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing and Trafficking in Firearms, this protocol was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2000 and entered into force on 25 December 2003. As of November 2015 it has been ratified by 169 parties.

For the first time it defined and standardised counter trafficking terminology by legalising a definition of human trafficking. On the basis of the definition given in the Trafficking in Persons Protocol, trafficking in persons has been fully covered over its three constituent elements: (a) The Act (what is done) – recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, (b) The Means (how it is done) – threat or use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or vulnerability, or giving payments or benefits to a person in control of the victim and (c) the 
Purpose (why it is done) – for the purpose of exploitation, which includes exploiting the prostitution of others, sexual exploitation, forced labour, slavery or similar practices and the removal of organs. 

To ascertain whether a particular circumstance constitutes trafficking in persons, consider the definition of trafficking in the Trafficking in Persons Protocol and the constituent elements of the offense, as defined by relevant domestic legislation.

The definition contained in article 3 of the Trafficking in Persons Protocol is meant to provide consistency and consensus around the world on the phenomenon of trafficking in persons. Article 5 therefore requires that the conduct set out in article 3 be criminalised in domestic legislation. Domestic legislation does not need to follow the language of the Trafficking in Persons Protocol precisely, but should be adapted in accordance with domestic legal systems to give effect to the concepts contained in the Protocol.

In addition to the criminalisation of trafficking, the Trafficking in Persons Protocol requires criminalisation also of  attempts to commit a trafficking offence, participation as an accomplice in such an offence and organising or directing others to commit trafficking. National legislation should adopt the broad definition of trafficking prescribed in the Protocol. The legislative definition should be dynamic and flexible so as to empower the legislative framework to respond effectively to trafficking which (a) occurs both across borders and within a country (not just cross-border), (b) is for not just sexual exploitation, but a range of exploitative purposes, (c) victimises children, women and men – not just women, or adults, but also men and children and (d) happens with or without the involvement of organised crime groups.

The author emphasises the role of civil society organisations (CSOs) because for the relevant machineries in the state, unless defined in protocol and terms of reference, human trafficking never remains the top priority, but an additional job besides other responsibilities. Human trafficking is an organised crime and it can be checkmated only through an organised professional approach. This can be achieved by proper networking, collaborating, sharing, and working in unison. While governments and international and local community groups/ organisations have been responding to the growing incidence of trafficking, the significance and strength of the CSO lies in its creativity, diversity, its localised nature with desirable links with community, voluntary spirit, its capacity and courage to question, and to challenge the dominant paradigms of development. Government on the other hand has the backing of law, protocols, and other criminal justice response machinery including police force in place to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons. 

However, the author observes that the state has failed to keep up to expectations, due to a lack of conceptual literacy, complacency, official complicity, apathy, and other genuine limitations. All across the globe Public-Private Partnership (PPP) is the golden slogan and the tested model of success. Coordinated multiagency response to human trafficking is the need of the hour where strength of both CSOs and states should be harnessed to the maximum. Rather than watching, cribbing, and letting go of the accountable partners, CSOs should take a lead and try to engage in dialogue and capitalize on the changing lookout. They can play an important role of decreasing the chasm between service providers and victims. 

There are some horrendous forms of human trafficking which need to be countered. For instance, camel racing is a sport for which in Arab States of the Persian Gulf, children are often favored as jockeys because of their light weight. Thousands of children are trafficked from countries such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Pakistan, and Sudan for use as jockeys for the Persian Gulf region camel racing industry. 

The worst category in human trafficking is the one resorted to by terrorist groups. Beginning with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam, who recruited young boys and girls into their ranks, many Pakistani terrorist groups, ISIS and Boko Haram have reportedly been involved in human trafficking of not only women for sexual exploitation, but also of young boys to join their ranks. ISIS have crossed all limits by trafficking small children to teach/motivate them to behead and burn with the use of dolls. Neutralizing ISIS will require a sincere and sustained global effort.   

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Anil Bhat

Anil Bhat

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