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Tuesday, 24 July 2018

India needs an anti-trafficking law

Por olimurs.92

The proposal was made by the independent experts of the UN, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro and Urmila Boola. The women urgently requested the Asian country to adapt a new law on human trafficking and the protection of victims to international human rights legislation. The initiative has an antecedent in the proposal made to the Parliament by Maneka Ghandi, Indian Minister for Women and Child Welfare of a law against trafficking in persons.

The aforementioned legislation was supported by trafficking survivors and criticized by the opposition for relying on very harsh and ineffective punitive measures. The new proposal constitutes, according to both international experts, a demand for the revision of the law in accordance with human rights legislation, including the Recommended Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights and Trafficking in Persons of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, also consultations with civil society organizations, UN agencies and other relevant partners.

The researchers pointed out that the existing law gives greater importance to criminal responsibility and does not pay enough attention to the rights and needs of people who are victims of trafficking, in addition to their protection and rehabilitation.

Both in this respect emphasized that the legal text does not imply standard procedures to identify victims or potential victims of trafficking, nor programs of social integration of these. On the other hand, the opacity of some provisions criminalizing non-trafficking activities, for example, may mix sexual services with trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, or the illegal trafficking of migrants with trafficking in persons.

Finally, the women also regretted that the provisions regarding the financing of the rehabilitation of the victims of this scourge and the control of the protection systems that were in the projects of the law have not been included in the law itself.

It is worth noting that the existing law was approved last March by the Government of India, contemplating penalties of between ten years in prison and life imprisonment for those responsible, human trafficking, as well as economic fines. The project differentiates the concepts of "trafficking" and "aggravated trafficking," which includes those cases in which the objective is forced labor, begging or forced marriages.

However, according to a report this year from the US Office for Monitoring and Fighting Human Trafficking, India does not meet minimum standards in the field, however, it makes a significant effort to achieve it.