Co-author: Smt. Madhumati Agrawal, Advocate
Today, as we observe the 7th “World Day against Trafficking in Persons“, Human Trafficking remains the 3rd largest organized crime in the world. With over 40 million lives being affected globally, each year this parasitic multi-billion crime industry gains from our not-so-adequate actions, sustaining on our susceptibility & times of uncertainty.
Victims have been targeted for their vulnerabilities & with a COVID-19 induced economic recession, this number is alarmingly rising. Females continue to be the most affected. One in every three persons being trafficked is a child. This primarily is because females & children are assumed to be easy “targets”. Trafficked persons, especially young women & innocent children witness the cruelest manifestations of exploitation in the form of forced labor, slavery, beggary, forced prostitution, sex tourism, violent pornography, harvesting their organs for trade, and whatnot.
With a lot of boons to the world, technology, digitalization & connectivity has their bane too. Every second, digital platforms are being used by the traffickers to lure potential victims into their trap of false hopes & aspirations. Traffickers play their game of “Hunting” & “Fishing” through advertising exploitative services & deceptive offers of employment.
Romeo pimps use social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram to masquerade themselves as romantically interested in vulnerable juveniles, pulling them into the well. Threats, physical force, blackmailing, and psychological manipulations are other means to ease their business.
It is often argued that “What can I do? The govt. & laws are there to deal with it.”
Unarguably, there are many international conventions, covenants & treaties, central legislative measures in the form of laws such as the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956, statutory public bodies such as N/S HRC, governmental organizations & NGOs but we need to realize that laws are meant to create deterrence.
Laws alone cannot solve a multi-dimensional issue particularly like that of an organized crime – Human Trafficking. The role of international organizations like the UNODC (United Nations Office On Drugs And Crime), the country’s administration, the legal system, NGOs, & activists, however, are limited in their respective domains.
Hence, we as responsible citizens must understand the need for equally addressing the issue of Trafficking in Persons. Doing the needful in an inclusively collaborative approach is the way out. Just complaining about the problems and not acting within our limited capabilities is no way out.
We as informed citizens and more essentially as humans, spreading awareness about Human Trafficking and its evil manifestations can make a lot of difference. As it is said “change begins at home”, delicate subjects of this kind can be made a dining table discussion.
The more we talk, the more we discuss, the lesser would be the stigmatization, more awareness, and a falling graph of such crimes.
Think of this next time you avoid involving yourself in such sensitive subjects because you don’t want to get into hot water.