HUMAN TRAFFICKING AMIDST COVID-19
This article is written by Dakshta Kapoor, a Third Year B.A. LL.B (Hons.) Student at Ideal Institute of Management and Technology (GGSIPU), Delhi.
It is said that “A life of a human is not an object”. If one is brave enough to take an action against the odds of not being a slave in anyone’s life then their voice will be enough to be heard.
Trafficking in human beings is a concept that denotes something which should not be trade upon. India being a populated country used to face this problem of trafficking from time immemorial but due to the factor of jobs and employment criteria this situation often gets neglected or not reported at the first by the person experiencing it.
Despite 73 years of Independence , India is still rooted with the factors of economic crisis. Forced prostitution, Domestic labour, begging, adoption for slavery and many more such Crimes that are still prevalent in the time of this global pandemic.
There’s a need of an hour, by the government to prevent human trafficking specially in vulnerable societies. As India’s vision towards the world is changing in every aspect, the trafficking amongst the population on the other hand remains constant as the poor remain poor and in the end subject to the company of traffickers.
It is said that among the population half of them are women who are the victims of sex trafficking. The government and official concerns have to wake up before it’s too late.
During the end of the cold war era the growth between the regional conflicts declined from the borders. The group of rebels during the war turned themselves into human traffickers to fund the actions possessed by the military chiefs. Human trafficking is one of the fastest criminal enterprises that is taking over the world. This is because the criminal organization can now sell humans rather than trading just on drugs and alcohol. Moreover, countries like Brazil and Thailand’s vast number of human traffickers have been reported to date.
INSIGHTS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING
The process by which people are trapped through the use of violence, coercion, exploitation or deception for any personal gain financial or labor it is known as “human trafficking”. Where girls are forced to be groomed into sexual exploitation, men on the other hand irrespective of their age group are tricked into accepting risky jobs which generally includes forced labor in farms, buildings and factories, etc.
The ideal meaning of trafficking does not exclude women behind. In the country, women are recruited to work in private homes the reason being to trap, exploit, and abuse them behind the doors with no way to escape. People who get engaged in trafficking activities are mostly the ones trying to escape poverty, discrimination, or improve their family’s lives by supporting them financially and emotionally through their income. Vulnerable people in society are generally forced to take up unimaginable risky jobs that ultimately help them to conquer persecution or poverty.
Further by accepting precarious job offers, they work for hazardous migration discovery which results in demanding or borrowing advance from their traffickers. Both sex trafficking and compelled labor are modern-day slavery which also acts as an umbrella term for human trafficking.
TYPES OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING
The exploitation of humans which includes prostitution, pornography, sex tourism, etc. is commercial sex which is based on the principle of demand and supply. Around 4.5 million victims of sex trafficking are worldwide estimated to date. The victims often suffer from psychological traumas, venereal diseases like HIV AIDS, and socially communicable diseases.
When people are forced to provide services including sexual or otherwise against their will then this can be termed as forced or unfree labor. The same can be induced through detention violence fraud or coercion. According to ILO i.e. International Labor organization, there are approximately 20.9 million victims that are forcefully trapped in unfree labor.
Focusing on the present scenario where because of poverty humans engage themselves in such an activity which in turn affects them either directly or indirectly. Likewise, the condition of domestic laborers is nowhere around on the verge of improvement, rather the lack of legal aid and solitary conditions can easily lead them to cover any workforce they are being provided with. When domestic helpers like nannies, maids or servants, etc. compromise their work and freedom due to their daily wage supply to such extent that amount to their enslavement, this primarily leads to the establishment of “domestic servitude”.
EFFECT OF COVID 19 ON VULNERABLE SOCIETIES
“Right there in your backyard” – a common phrase that is used by anti-trafficking campaigns to convey the hidden nature of the criminal offense and fact that lies behind the crime which says anyone can be victimized by the traffickers. Covid-19 pandemic appeared with no significant savings for any person. The cost of quarantine affected once job and unemployment had under watered the situation for renters. Around 45% of men and women were targeted in this deadly virus. Further, the situation deepened the ground reality of women workers. Therefore, no such difference was ever created in terms of sex trafficking during the pre or post-pandemic era. According to the Indian news, 25% of cases on sex trafficking from the lockdown period have been reported so far.
LAWS AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN INDIA
Indian Penal Code, 1860;
Any person who wrongfully confines another person to engage them into illegal acts shall be punished with imprisonment for up to 3 years and payable within the ambit of compensation.
Whoever wrongfully confines a person using assault or criminal force shall be imprisoned for a term up to 1 year as well as compensation of Rs. 1000.
Any person who kidnaps anyone from their lawful guardian residing in India shall be imprisoned up to 7 years and liable for fine.
Whoever intently abducts or kidnaps resulting in wrongful confinement of a person shall be liable for 7 years of imprisonment along with fine.
Section 370 of IPC
The section deals with the exploitation of a trafficked person. Any person who believes to be involved in trafficking such as for a minor in terms of sexual exploitation in any manner shall be punished for imprisonment not less than 5 years which may extend to 7 years and with the fine. It can be triable by the Court of Session.
Section 354A of IPC
This section of Indian Penal Code, 1860 includes sex trafficking i.e
A man committing the above-mentioned offense can be punished for imprisonment which may exceed the term of 3 years or with the fine or both.
Section 371 of IPC
Wherever there are a habitual import and export of slaves captured, contractual, buying or selling slaves, the concerned person dealing shall be punished with imprisonment for the term exceeding 10 years or shall be liable to fine.
Section 374 of IPC
Whoever against the will includes any person in labor shall be punished with imprisonment which exceeds the term of 1 year or shall be liable of fine or both.
The above illegal involvement of any person in labor work stands violative to articles 23 and 24 of the Constitution of India.
In Peoples Union for Democratic Rights v. Union of India while discussing the scope of Article 23 of Constitution of India, the Supreme Court held that the word force in “forced labor” does not only include physical or any legal force but it can be any that comprises of economical factors that lead a person to practice such inhumane offense.
In Bachpan Bachao Andolan v. Union of India  the Supreme Court held that there should be a solicitor officer who should be solely responsible for the implementation of laws related to children. It was said that no child will be denied his fundamental rights given by the Indian Constitution. This case also includes trafficking as well as abuses a violative factor of children’s rights.
Human trafficking undermines national security, distorted market, and criminal including transnational terrorists. The only way to decrease the issue of trafficking is to have a meaningful partnership between the private and public sectors in civil society. According to the report published by the US secretary, 3p paradigm i.e. prosecution, protection, and prevention are followed to combat trafficking worldwide.
 (1982) 3 SCC 235
 (2011) SCC (5) 1