What is human trafficking?

Human trafficking is the trade of humans, most commonly for the purpose of sexual slavery, forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation for the trafficker or others.This may encompass providing a spouse in the context of forced marriage, or the extraction of organs or tissues, including for surrogacy and ova removal .Human trafficking can occur within a country or trans-nationally. Human trafficking is a crime against the person because of the violation of the victim’s rights of movement through coercion and because of their commercial exploitation. Human trafficking is the trade in people, and does not necessarily involve the movement of the person from one place to another.

According to UNODC human trafficking is “Trafficking in Persons as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”

Human trafficking in India

Human trafficking is one of the major problem in india. No concrete study has been conducted so far to know the exact number of trafficked people in India. However The New York Times has reported on the widespread problem of human trafficking in India especially in Jharkhand. Also in the report it is stated that young girls are trafficked from neighboring Nepal to India. In another article published in The Times of India – Karnataka is the third state in India for human trafficking. Other South Indian states are also the most sought after destinations for human trafficking. As per the data, more than half of the human trafficking cases are from these states. According to the latest report on human trafficking by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reveals that Tamil Nadu has 528 such cases of human trafficking in 2012.

Kids especially girl and young women, mostly from Northeast are taken from their homes and sold in faraway states of India for sexual exploitation and to work as bonded labour by the agents who lure their parents with education, better life, and money for these kids . Agents do not send these kids to school but sell them to work in brick kilns, carpentry units, as domestic servants, beggars etc. Whereas girls are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Even these girls are forced to marry in certain regions where female to male sex ratio is highly disturbed. Children from tribal areas are at greater risk of human trafficking.

Why is Human trafficking increasing in India?

Fundamental theory of demand and supply apply to this. Men for work generally migrate to commercial cities and from here the demand of commercial sex is created. To fulfill the supply all sorts of efforts are made by the suppliers like abduction etc. thus, young girls from poor families are at a higher risk. Reasons for increasing human trafficking are:-

Forced marriage

Girls and women are not only trafficked for prostitution but are sold like commodity in other parts of india and even abroad where female ratio is less as compared to male ratio.these are then forced to marry.

Bonded labour

Though debt labour is not known much but it is illegal in India and is prevelant in our society. According to the INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANISATION there are more than 11.7 million people working as forced labour in south Asiatic region. People running out of cash generally sell their children and get paid for this purpose.


UNODC offers practical help to States, not only helping to draft laws and create comprehensive national anti-trafficking strategies but also assisting with resources to implement them. States receive specialized assistance including the development of local capacity and expertise, as well as practical tools to encourage cross-border cooperation in investigations and prosecutions.

The adoption in 2000 by the United Nations General Assembly of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking In Persons, Especially Women and Children marked a significant milestone in international efforts to stop the trade in people. As the guardian of the Protocol, UNODC addresses human trafficking issues through its Global Programme against Trafficking in Persons. A vast majority of States have now signed and ratified the Protocol. But translating it into reality remains problematic. Very few criminals are convicted and most victims are probably never identified or assisted.

Efforts to prevent human trafficking in different parts of world

AFRICA-Founded in 1987 ESAM, is a nonprofit organization formed to “fight the abuse and neglect of children, young people, and women” Based in Benin, West Africa this charity was officially recognized on May 17, 1990.

AUSTRALIA-In 1994, Australia passed the Child Sex Tourism Act. This act prohibits any citizens or residents of Australia to engage in any sexual activity or intercourse with any person under the age of sixteen anywhere in the world.

BRAZIL-The Brazilian Criminal Law code outlines the standards on the trafficking of women in chapter five articles 227, 228, and 231. In June 2000, the government created a Plan for Combating the Abuse and Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents. This plan has become the national guide for sexual violence and protecting the rights of children.

CAMBODIA-In 2007, the nongovernmental organization named ChildSafe opened a center in Phnom Penh open twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. This center invites children who are abused or at risk to be abused for support, counseling, medical assistance, and police complaints. ChildSafe also has a hot-line that is open at all times to report a child who is at risk for being trafficked.

FRANCE-ECPAT (End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism) France, a non-governmental organization, established in 1992 is aimed at preventing child prostitution and trafficking not only in France, but around the world.

SRI LANKA-In 1995, Sri Lanka created a special task force to study human trafficking. However, in 1997 the task force was replaced by a presidential task force. In 1998 the Child Protection Authority, CPA, was enacted. The CPA held on to all previous laws protecting the rights of children from unlawful abuse. These laws make trafficking and any other form of abuse illegal, even during war.

SWEDEN- In Sweden, the government has created a law that “prohibits the purchase of sexual services.” This law makes it illegal for men to buy prostitutes. By passing this law on January 1, 1999, Sweden was also helping to prevent the international prostitution and human trafficking. This law helped to stop trafficking in Sweden by arresting and prosecution the male purchasers not the female victims. There has been a reduction in the number of prostitutes in Sweden since 2004. Swedish citizens can be prosecuted for purchasing sexual services anywhere in the world if the country in which they did it criminalise it.

INDIA-Founded in 2007, OBANADI SEVA TRUST is a community base organization that attempts to fight human trafficking in India. This organization is based in Mysore, South India and attempts to put an end to trafficking by rescue operations, rehabilitation, and education.

Odanadi Seva Samsthe (Odanadi Seva Trust) is a social, non-governmental organisation based in Mysore (India), which has been working for the rescue, rehabilitation, reintegration and empowerment of trafficked and sexually exploited women and children. Established in 1984 by Mr. K.V.Stanley and Mr. M.L. Parashuram and registered officially in 1993, their rescue operations cover South India. The rehabilitation center is set up in Mysore in Karnataka.

Stanly and Parashu, as they are known popularly, were government officials and district coordinators of the Total Literacy Project, who, while interacting with villagers in the Mysore district, came across women who were ignored and shunned because they were sex workers. This led them to give up their jobs and start the Odanadi Seva Samasthe.

What’s being done to stop human trafficking in India?

More than 200,000 Indian children are trafficked each year and forced into domestic servitude or labor in brick kilns or embroidery factories. But while government-sponsored Anti-Trafficking Units, which are supposed to investigate human trafficking cases, continue to be established and more prosecutions are occurring, the laws are not widely enforced. Part of the problem is that it’s hard to say if one universal trafficking law can work and be enforced for a country as large and regionally diverse as India. At the same time, factors like corruption and lack of training and resources make it difficult to ensure that programs are effective.

The U.S. State Department has encouraged India to continue raising awareness about human trafficking, work to establish special anti-trafficking courts, and file and prosecute cases on the local level.

Ways to combat human trafficking!!

1. Motivate the media- Encourage your local newspaper or television station to cover stories about human trafficking. Offer your research to help generate a story that is networthy. Ask your bookstores to keep books on Human trafficking.

2. Blog about it- We can use blogs to spread awareness.

3. Share on social media- We live in an increasingly connected world. With one click we can share an informative meme, a change-inspiring photo, or a YouTube documentary with our social networks.

4. Petition! Petition! Petition!- A huge part of ending the modern-day injustice of human trafficking involves demanding more of our governments and holding accountable companies that directly/indirectly support human trafficking.

5. Organise Screenings of Documentaries- Sharing a documentary beyond the realm of the world of social media remains an excellent way to get support.

6. Write a Victim, Support a Victim- Do write about the victim and the pain which he has suffered. Even support a victim financially or by simply donating old goddies.

7. Sponsor those at risk- Because poverty is a major contributor that can lead to human trafficking, sponsoring a child or a woman in a poverty stricken area can help make difference.

8. Form a team of your own- Make a team of your friends, classmates to help you in spreading awareness around.

-Paras Mithal


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