Human trafficking: the angle of victimology - a commentary.

Author:Dalvi, R.
 
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'THE CRIME PROBLEM IS THE OVERDUE DEBT A SOCIETY MUST PAY FOR TOLERATING, FOR YEARS, THE CONDITIONS THAT BREED LAWLESSNESS.' EARL WARREN

Human Rights Jurisprudence has come of age. The informed, enlightened and elite citizens as well as detainees and convicts demand and obtain protection of their human rights. They have a voice and representation. Various legislations and precedents show the wide spectrum of cases relating to human rights. However, one corner of our society--the most neglected, fragile and tortured--remain outside the long arm of the law relating to protection of their human rights. They cannot shout and our justice system does not listen. But they go through egregious torture, physical and emotional, in the prime of their childhood or youth, with none to fall back on or to pick them up from the living hell they are brought to or dumped in. They survive in the darker, drearier side of human rights violations--so violent it can be better described as atrocities. These are the unfortunate and unprivileged humans--women and children--upon whom immeasurable, unfathomable and grave excesses and aberrations take place daily by perpetrators of the crime. Girl children are trafficked into prostitution. Boy children are trafficked into forced labour and sodomization. Young women are also abducted and trafficked as domestic workers, unorganized labourers or sex workers.

This is, though, 'little children are people with Big rights': Dr. Klaus Kankel

Types of cases of such trafficking can be endless--rape, aggravated rape, incest, child sexual abuse, forced prostitution, sodomy, bestiality, pornography and a vast array of cases involving outraging modesty. [See : State of Punjab vs. Major Singh, AIR 1967 SC 63]. The rights of these women and children form an essential part of the jurisprudence of human rights which still lies in the neglected sphere.

The illustrations of violence upon such victims are like snowflakes. Each case exhibits a distinct act of violence. Some of the cases which have come to Courts show acts of assault, burning, persistent denial of food, perverse sexual conduct, forcing abortion, locking the victim, denying access to her relatives and children, abusing her child and the like.

The malaise of trafficking has been essentially because of the demographic problem which results in unemployment and the consequent poverty. This increases the vulnerability of the lowest strata of the society coupled with lack of education, care and protection and employment opportunities. Low female ratio, poor law enforcement and the demand and profit scenario aggravates women victims' situation. Sexual trafficking involves business in brothels, massage parlours, bars and includes pornography and paedophilia. Commercial trafficking and exploitation involves industrial and domestic labour and extends to organ removal for transplants, illegal adoptions, beggary and camel racing.

it is little realized that the impact and repercussions of such abuse and violence results in destroying psychology, devastating life by causing bitter shock, disgust, disbelief, suspicion, helplessness, frustration, anxiety, loss of security, feeling of guilt, fear of disclosure, confusion, trauma, hopelessness, anxiety, fear, humiliation, degradation, anger, insomnia & nightmares, depression, social withdrawal, lower self-esteem, embarrassment, betrayal of trust, self blame, guilt and shame.

ALL OVER THE WORLD WOMEN SPEAK THE SAME LANGUAGE--OF SILENCE: ANUSAYA SENGUPTA

The results of such abuses also fall upon a wide spectrum--social, psychological, sociological and economic. The social brunt of trafficking are isolation, loss of dignity, loss of safety, loss of marriage, home, job, family and social life. The physical effects are from black eye to death, burns, disability, pain, forced pregnancy, miscarriages and abortions, cuts and bruises, HIV and failed health. The sociological implications arise upon failed marriages and other relationships and the economic burdens are decreased productivity, wages lost, financial and health costs.

THE TROUBLE IS--TOO MANY PEOPLE GROW UP; THEY DO NOT REMEMBER WHAT IT IS LIKE TO BE A 12 YEAR OLD.

These recipients are the 'victims' of crime. The Canadian Criminal Code describes a victim as a person to whom harm is done or who has suffered physical or emotional loss as a result of the commission of the offence. Victimology is the science of preventing crime, protecting the victims from crime, prosecuting the crime, allowing them representation in such prosecution on their behalf, and punishing the offender taking into account the perspective of the victim in terms of the aftermath of the crime upon such victims.

In the present set-up, the courts do not allow the victim to be heard or be represented on the premise that it is for the state to prosecute the crime. The public and police prosecutors are not instructed well, are ill-informed, are callous or may even (in some cases) collude with the accused. Our experience has shown that in matters of private complaints when the victims are represented by their own chosen lawyers, the cases are fought out tooth and nail and all the points on merits are brought out before the court. However, that practice prevails in cases of the upper echelons of the society. None gives even a stray thought to the most unprivileged strata of our society.

The Society responding to cases of such victims for acceding to them the right to be treated as humans essentially requires both preventive and punitive measures.

LAW CANNOT PREVENT WHAT IT CANNOT PUNISH.

The preventive measures require that the several partners of the Society--the parents, teachers, friends, NGOs would play their part in preventing the crime altogether. If, however, a crime does take place the medical, police, legal and judicial officers are the other partners who come into play. For these partners to play their respective parts the twin requirements are awareness creation and attitudinal change. Providing safety, sanctuary, shelter and refuge to the victims essentially against re-victimization by taking recourse to the social workers and NGOs and the ultimate punishment by the Justice System to those who are seen to have committed the offence of trafficking are the sociological and legal measures.

For the 'preventive partners' the principle of ' lesser numbers, greater attention' at home, in schools and the society at large is applicable. This calls for attention to the demographic situation in the country. The larger the number of children, the lesser the attention for them. Those children are easy targets.

Once a child falls prey to a target, the principle of the three Rs--Recognise, Resist and Report--comes into play. The seminal requirements in each of the partners of the system is to recognize that the problem exists in every society, in every house. The creation of awareness of the problem translates into education for resisting the problem. Each partner must educate each child to resist the first criminal advance which ultimately results in violence upon their person. The ultimate training must be to report the crime and not to hush it up upon the mistaken notion of social ostracizing. However, if the 'preventive partners' have failed the child either due to lack of awareness of the pervading crime or due to the inability to resist it, which is primarily due to poverty or lack of education and awareness of the...

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