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Indian Government Update on Human Trafficking



Record Notes and Recommendations of the Meeting of the Central Advisory Committee on Combating Trafficking at New Delhi held on 24 May 2012

The Central Advisory Committee (CAC) on Combating Trafficking was formed in 1994 with the Secretary in charge for Women and Child Development as the chairperson. The Committee was formed in pursuance of the Supreme Court Judgment in Vishal Jeet vs Union of India, wherein the Supreme Court had directed that a Committee be formed both at the Central and State levels to look into the issues of trafficking particularly child trafficking. Gradually the mandate of CAC has grown and it has been expanded to include representatives from all agencies concerned, thereby becoming a forum facilitating interaction between stakeholders to understand issues relating to trafficking and to evolve strategies for combating it. A meeting of the Central Advisory Committee (CAC) on Combating Trafficking was held on 24th May 2012 at Vigyan Bhavan Annexe.

Smt. Neela Gangadharan, Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development chaired the meeting. Drawing attention to the growing problem of trafficking in the country, the Secretary MWCD shared that the menace can be effectively handled through convergence of efforts of the Centre, States and civil society organizations. She mentioned that the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Bill 2012, which has been passed by the Parliament, will go a long way in combating this problem due to the provisions included in the Bill, which link trafficking with protecting children from sexual offenses. She stated that sufficient legislative and programmatic framework exists to prevent and combat trafficking. Whereas the framework for prevention, protection and penalization is in place, strengthening of systems for their effective implementation is needed to combat this problem, the Secretary noted. Measures of the Ministry of Women and Child Development are supplemented by measures taken by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Labour and Employment at the level of Central Government, and it is the States/UTs who have the substantive mandate to combat trafficking as ‘public order’ is a State subject under the Constitution. She acknowledged that the efforts of the civil society organizations, many of whom have been working extensively in this area, have helped to combat the problem. Secretary also emphasized that poverty was a major cause for trafficking and betterment of livelihood for young boys and girls should be focused on to ensure that they are not lured into trafficking.

Elaborating on the initiatives taken up by the Ministry of Women and Child Development to combat trafficking, the Secretary stated that the Ujjwala Scheme was launched in 2008, which is a comprehensive scheme to prevent and combat trafficking, where funds and support is provided to agencies which work in the areas of prevention, rescue, rehabilitation, reintegration and repatriation of victims of trafficking. Since 2008, 188 Ujjwala projects across 19 states have been sanctioned. She however noted that the States need to be more pro-active to involve the NGOs for ensuring effective implementation of the Scheme. The Secretary also shared that the Ministry of Women and Child Development is planning to introduce video-conferencing for
sanctioning of Ujjwala projects so that the State Secretaries in charge of the programme can participate in the Project Sanctioning Committee Meetings, instead of deputizing junior officials to represent the State in such meetings at New Delhi. Increased involvement of State Government in Ujjawala projects at high level is essential.

In particular, it was very important to ensure quality and safety of the Ujjawala rehabilitation homes, wherever these had been sanctioned and supported, and ensure that they themselves do not become a place of abuse. She informed the gathering that the Ministry had already written to all Chief Secretaries to conduct a survey of all shelter homes in the State and make sure that all organisations, including orphanages and other homes whether or not funded by the Government, get themselves registered under the Juvenile Justice Act.

The Secretary also emphasized the need to look at the role of placement agencies in trafficking particularly those working in metropolitan areas for domestic workers. She suggested that a separate registration of these should be undertaken. Further State Governments should undertake a more detailed vulnerability analysis of areas which are more prone to trafficking




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