‘In trafficking cases, consent of victims immaterial’

  • Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
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  • Updated: Feb 15, 2013 02:20 IST

Consent of the victim will no more be alibi to escape punishment for trafficking as the government in the recent promulgated ordinance on criminal law says that any trafficking willingly or forced is because of vulnerable condition of the victims.

The ordinance for the first time also addresses the use of this "lack of choice" of the victims terming the consent immaterial and prescribes heavy penalties for the offending persons or traffickers.

The ordinance also says traffickers can face a maximum of ten years of imprisonment and upto one's natural life in case of trafficking of a child or more than one person.

The earlier punishment for trafficking was maximum of three years and life imprisonment in case of trafficking children for sexual exploitation.

The ordinance also makes employing trafficked persons a crime with an aim to curb child trafficking for employment.

Employers knowingly employing children and adults for labour can face maximum imprisonment for seven and five years respectively, the new law says. 

"Prescribing such a strict punishments would act as a deterrent for trafficking and also hit the organised crime of trafficking, the third largest organised crime after small arms and drugs," said Bhuvan Ribhu of NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan, which has run a campaign seeking stricter for human trafficking of any kind.

The government seems to have agreed that human trafficking is not restricted only for sexual exploitation. Therefore, the definition of trafficking covers child labour, slavery and  forced removal of organs.

With this the government seems to have given recognition to that the fact that of people due their poverty and illiteracy are vulnerable to new forms of trafficking and the change brings the Indian law at part with the United Nations Protocol to End Trafficking in Persons.

In India, over 100,000 children go missing each year and hundred of thousand of girls are trafficked for prostitution and forced labour. The ordinance may help to curb trafficking menace.


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