Technological development has brought human trafficking right at the door of every family, said Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis
Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has said that human trafficking is a crime against humanity and “the victims lose their dignity and die every day”.
Speaking at the ongoing International Conference on Women Trafficking in Mumbai organized by Maharashtra State Commission for Women (MSCW) along with International Justice Mission, India (IJM), Fadnavis said, “Today human trafficking is one of the largest black trade generating huge money. In the next ten years, it is estimated to overtake world drug trade and become the largest trade in the world.”
The chief minister said on Thursday that after the penetration of internet, human trafficking is now at the door step of every family and not just the poor. Due to rapid changes brought in with technology, the crime has also changed. Unfortunately traffickers are more efficient users of technology and much ahead of others, he added.
“The government and those working in the field have to forge partnerships to work together for prevention, protection and prosecution of crimes against humanity. I would like to assure you all that whatever is the outcome of the conference, whatever strategy you devise, we will be a part of it and implement it," he said.
Human trafficking is the third largest illegal trade in the world and earns traffickers $150 billion annually. India is a source, destination and transit country for men, women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking.
As per Ministry of Women and Child Development, 19,223 women and children were trafficked in 2016 as against 15,448 in 2015.With the highest number of victims being from West Bengal. In India, 1.2 million children are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation.
Nepal and Bangladesh are child trafficking routes to India and from India and Pakistan to Middle East. Women and girls are trafficked from Nepal and Bangladesh for commercial sexual exploitation. Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, and Hyderabad are prime destinations for Indian and foreign female trafficking.
Emphasising on the need to rehabilitate and empower trafficking victims, Fadnavis said that the state government has set up special trafficking cells in 12 vulnerable districts with special courts to try trafficking cases. “The detection rate has been high and conviction is 50 percent which is as good as other states.”
He also said that Maharashtra has drastically brought down incidents of child trafficking from 40% to less than 5% and added that 10,000 children under operation ‘Muskaan’ have been set free by Mumbai Police. He asked other states to follow the model.
MSCW chairperson Vijaya Rahatkar told Governance Now that discrimination against women is a worldwide phenomenon and for that reason Maharashtra Women Commission has created this biggest forum of 20 participating countries on this issue to come out with a minimum common agenda.
“This is the biggest conference organised by any government in the world. We are now looking at creating a world forum on this issue. This can be done in two ways. - target the reasons of trafficking like poverty, ignorance, illiteracy among others for prevention and for those stuck in trafficking, we will have to create a policy and take recommendations to the government. If the government accepts suggestions, it can become a law and if implemented, rehabilitation methods will come out. Those who require education will be educated and others will be trained in skill development and made self-sufficient,” said Rahatkar.
Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar, who was present on the occasion, said that apart from creating awareness on human trafficking, women have to be trained to face such situations. “At my training institute we have given self defence training to more than 10,000 women as on date. This is the fight we have to win.”