India does not attach "too much attention" to a US report saying it is not doing enough to curb human smuggling but should do "what is expected of us as an enlightened nation", Home Minister P Chidambaram said Wednesday.
"We don't take cognizance of the US report. There are 52 countries named. We don't need to attach too much attention to the report," Chidambaram said during question hour at the Rajya Sabha.
"At the same time, we should do what is expected of us as an enlightened nation," he added.
The 2009 Trafficking in Persons Report released by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton June 16 said: "India is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation."
For the first time, India, China, Russia, Sri Lanka and Egypt and other countries that have been on the on Tier 2 watch list for two years, face the prospect of being automatically moved to the Tier 3 blacklist next year without a presidential waiver if they fail improve their trafficking record, the State Department said.
India is among 52 countries on the watch list of nations that have failed to meet the minimum anti-trafficking standards but are making efforts to do so. The blacklisted countries are subject to US sanctions if they don't make greater efforts to fight trafficking.
Chidambaram, however, shot down a suggestion to frame a comprehensive law to cover all aspects of human trafficking, even as he admitted that 95 per cent of the cases related to women and children.
"The ministry of women and child development is piloting amendments to the law against human trafficking. If the bill is found unsatisfactory, members can move for suitable amendments," Chidambaram said in reply to a supplementary during question hour.
The response came after Brinda Karat (Communist Party of India-Marxist) said a "major obstacle" to preventing human trafficking was the "lack of a specific law to deal with this.
"There are different acts but there is no comprehensive legislation to harmonise the various definitions of human trafficking in line with international law. When would this happen and in what timeframe?" Karat asked.
Asked what steps were being taken to prevent human trafficking in the guise of marriages, Chidambaram said: "Whenever such cases come to light, an FIR (first investigation report) is lodged and the police investigate the case."
"Unless an FIR is filed, it will be difficult to judge whether it is a genuine marriage or a case of bride hunting," he added.
Chidambaram also said an anti-trafficking nodal cell in the home ministry would assist the states in establishing similar cells in each district to prevent the scourge.
"The states have to address the problem. We will help them but the state governments should take the issue seriously," he contended.