Cops to be taught humane approach to trafficking victims

April 18th, 2008 - 8:32 pm ICT by admin  


New Delhi, April 18 (IANS) Victims of trafficking need to be handled more humanely during and after rescue operations, policemen to be reoriented in their training are to be taught. With around 200,000 people trafficked in the country annually, the Centre for Social Research (CSR) has prepared a manual for police seeking to train them to be more humane towards trafficking victims during and after rescue operations.

“While the law demands viewing trafficked persons as vulnerable victims in need of protection and support, assumptions and stereotypes that result in the judgement and accusation of trafficked persons are still widely prevalent and in dire need of change,” said Ranjana Kumari, human rights activist and CSR director.

The manual, supported by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the central government, was unveiled on the occasion of CSR’s annual day here Friday.

To be used in police training colleges across the country, the manual has been designed specially to make the policemen understand the importance of approaching human trafficking from a multi-disciplinary human rights perspective with emphasis on issues of child rights and gender sensitivity.

The manual stresses the negative perception of the police against the victims/survivors and aims to act as a reminder to the policemen to work as ‘delivery agents’, ensuring that justice and basic rights of the survivor are delivered.

In India, it is estimated that over 3 million girls and women are working in the sex industry against their will at any given time. For several years, women’s groups in India have been trying to persuade the government to amend the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act to provide stringent punishment to the offenders, including the “client”.

“Unless the demand side is tackled properly, human trafficking cannot be checked. It is unfortunate that because of a few ministers who are showing resistance, the government has not been able to introduce provisions in the law to punish the client,” said Kumari.

Due care should be taken to ensure that trafficked women, particularly children, are not unnecessarily harassed or intimidated during the course of rescue operations, she added.

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