Multi stakeholder response to human trafficking
Human Trafficking is an organized crime and one of the gravest violations of Human Rights transgressing boundaries of official jurisdictions and other man made restrictions of time and space. The list of traffickers and exploiters is endless. It is indeed a "high profit - low risk business". Very often, victims remain un-noticed, un-cared for and their concerns not addressed. People are often not concerned because they are unaware of the extent, dimensions and implications of Human Trafficking.
The prevailing 'culture of silence', 'culture of tolerance' and the 'culture of non-concern' not only permits but, promotes and perpetuates Human Trafficking and gives a free hand to the traffickers to continue with impunity, the merchandising of human beings.
Law Enforcement Agencies are mandated to respond to the challenges of this trans-national organized crime. However, the very complex nature and manifold dimensions of human trafficking requires concerted and synergic response especially in the context of rehabilitation of the trafficked persons. Therefore, the anti-human trafficking response cannot be exclusively left to the domain of a police official at the police station. What is appropriate is an integrated and holistic response by a host of agencies including law enforcement officials, agencies concerned with justice delivery, social welfare and development, as well as civil society organisations, the media, academicians, etc.
A synergy of efforts is therefore indispensable during the '3 Ps' of anti human trafficking, namely, Prevention, Prosecution and Protection.
- A multi-pronged prevention strategy for creating awareness, sensitization and dealing with vulnerability factors of specific areas/communities can be effectively implemented with the involvement of the concerned government departments, law enforcement agencies, NGOs, media and corporate/business houses. Preventing re-trafficking is an area where NGOs along with the assistance of corporate/business houses can play a stellar role by ensuring the economic rehabilitation of rescued victims/survivors. Prevention also calls for addressing the demand factors, which includes demand for child labour, demand for children in sex tourism, etc. Captains of industry and the tourism sector can play a substantial role in this area.
- An effective and successful prosecution is not the responsibility of law enforcement agencies alone, but can be brought about by the combined endeavors of NGOs (for e.g. by preparing a victim to face a court room situation, etc.) and the media (for e.g. by a continuous follow-up on the progress of the trial, by being vigilant to ensure that justice is delivered with celerity, certainty and surety).
- Protection of the rights of the victim during the criminal justice system processes (investigation and trial) can be effectively undertaken by all the stakeholders involved. The care and attention of the rescued person can be broadly classified into two; firstly, counseling, de-traumatisation and psychosocial and medical attention. Secondly, empowerment programmes and providing sustainable livelihood options. In these areas, every one can be a stakeholder, with a specific role to play; this includes law enforcement agencies, civil society organizations, media, political personalities, celebrities, business houses, academics, and every citizen who is concerned with human rights issues.