According to UNICEF a child victim of trafficking is any person under 18 who is recruited, transported, transferred, harboured or received for the purpose of exploitation, either within or outside a country. Female children are trafficked for marriage, sex-work, criminal activity, adoption and organ trade whereas male children are trafficked mainly for labour and exploited as beggars. Sometimes, trafficked children are also recruited into armed groups or for criminal activity.
Initiatives to combat trafficking of Women and Children
The Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) in an attempt to stop the trafficking of women and children has undertaken a number of initiatives.
- National Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Women and Children 1998, was formulated with the aim of mainstreaming and reintegrating victims of trafficking.
- Central Advisory Committee (CAB) was constituted to advise on methods and tactic to address the problem.
Pre-rescue, Rescue and Post-rescue operations of child victims of trafficking for the purpose of Commercial Sexual Exploitation protocol was published as guidelines for all stakeholders
- The MWCD in collaboration with NIPCCD and UNICEF has developed three manuals for 'Judicial Handbook on combating Trafficking of women and Children for Commercial Sexual Exploitation; 'Manual for Medical Officers for Dealing with Child Victims of Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation; and 'Counselling services for Child survivors of trafficking'.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has set up a dedicated nodal Cell in the MHA for the prevention of trafficking. The cell is responsible for providing state governments with the necessary research, studies and information.
- The ministry organises workshops for NGOs on issues relating to the trafficking of children for commercial sexual exploitation. A special module for counsellors of trafficked victims has been formulated.
- Suggested amendment of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 to widen its scope, focus on traffickers, human rights of victims and focus on proper implementation.
- Training all stakeholders such as police, government officials, etc. to better understand the situation and hence respond properly to suspicious activity or person.
- The MWCD runs Shelter based homes Short Stay Homes, Swadhar Homes for women in difficult circumstances
- Three pilot projects were implemented i)Pilot project to combat trafficking women and children for commercial sexual exploitation under the sanction of tradition ii) Pilot project to combat trafficking of women and children for commercial, sexual exploitation in source areas and iii) Pilot project to combat trafficking of women and children for commercial sexual exploitation in destination areas. The projects are in the process of being converted into a full scheme.
- With the Ministry of External Affairs, MWCD has endeavoured to create special task forces to combat cross border trafficking.
- Tackle trafficking of women and girls by addressing issues of poverty, illiteracy, lack of access to education and schools, lack of vocational skill and employment opportunities, the prevalence of age-old evil practices like child marriages, low status of women and girls in society etc.