Interstate Cooperation to Combat Human Trafficking : Daily Current Affairs

Relevance: GS-2: Indian Constitution—Historical Underpinnings, Evolution, Features, Amendments, Significant Provisions, and Basic Structure.

Key Phrases: Prajwala, Shakti Vahini; UNODC; Modern Slavery; UNHCHR; Blue Heart Initiative; UN GIFT; Indo-Bangladesh Taskforce on crossborder trafficking;

Why in News?

  • 6 states have joined hands to combat human trafficking.
  • At the initiative of the Telangana Government, with the support of NGOs (Prajwala and Shakti Vahini) and funded by the US Consulates General in Hyderabad and Kolkata, a declaration of intent was signed for working in collaboration to combat trafficking in persons.
    • Other states which participated in this initiative are Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Odisha.

Key Highlights

What is Human Trafficking?

  • As per International Labour Organisation, Human Trafficking is defined as the forced trade of humans for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation, forced labour, organ donors, etc.
  • It is a modern form of slavery thereby denying the most basic human rights available to humans.
  • Data - as per UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime)
    • 80% of Human Trafficking involved sexual exploitation.
    • 19% involved labour exploitation.
    • $32 Bn global industry.
    • 6L to 8L people are trafficked every year.
    • 43% of the victims are trafficked inside the country.

Has COVID contributed to rising in Trafficking?

  • As per UNHCHR (United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights), COVID has increased the vulnerability of women and children due to a rise in poverty levels, loss of income, and gaps in the security net to protect them against Human Trafficking.

Present Mechanism to fight Human Trafficking

  • Legal Measures
    • Constitutional Measure - Article 23 provides for the Prohibition of traffic in human beings and forced labour.
    • ITPA, 1956 [Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act] is the primary legislation to convict crimes related to Human Trafficking.
    • Section 370 of IPC has been amended through the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013 to include Section 370 and Section 370A for a comprehensive investigation mechanism against Human trafficking.
    • States have also passed laws to address human trafficking cases.
  • Institutional Measures
    • Anti-Human Trafficking Units (AHTUs) have been established in each state on the basis of the directive of the MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs).
    • NIA (National Investigation Agency) also looks at Human Trafficking cases due to the cross-border terrorism angle.
  • Interntational/ National Initiative
    • Blue Heart Initiative of UN for generating awareness against Human trafficking.
    • UN GIFT (United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking) was launched in 2007 (to mark 200 years since the abolition of the trans-Atlantic slave trade). It aims to bring convergence in the fight against trafficking.
    • India has ratified
      • the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime (UNCTOC).
      • the SAARC Convention on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Women and Children for Prostitution.
    • India and Bangladesh have constituted a task force to combat cross-border human trafficking.
    • Ending all forms of Human trafficking remains a key pillar in Indo-US partnership.
    • Ujjawla scheme aims to put an end to the trafficking of children and women. The objective of the scheme is to prevent, rescue, rehabilitate, reintegrate, and repatriate victims trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation.

Challenges/ Concerns

  • Reducing Rate of Conviction
    • The conviction rate has declined from 28% (2016) to 10% (2020).
  • Lack of Robust and strong mechanism to investigate Human trafficking cases.
    • There are loopholes in the current legislative mechanisms which the accused exploits to go scotfree.
  • Increased vulnerability
    • Trafficking in Person’s report 2021 (by the US state department) has warned about an increase in cases of human trafficking.
  • Lack of coordination amongst states to jointly pursue cases of anti-human trafficking
    • This has also led to an increase in the rate of acquittal.
  • Lack of data for evidence-based policy making
    • Data is not collected and maintained at the level of AHTUs.
  • Evolving nature of trafficking is a challenge
    • The MHA has confessed to not collecting separate data on trafficking through cyberspace.
  • Low investment on part of legal aid results in very few survivors having access to compensation.
  • The condition of Rehabilitation is not comprehensive enough for integrating the victims back into society.

Way Forward

  • Bring the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Care and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2021
    • Transgenders have been included as a separate category.
    • Provides a comprehensive investigation mechanism to ensure the accused is punished for one's crime against society.
    • Exploitation’s definition has been increased.
  • Inter-state convergence
    • More such events as ‘ The Regional Consultation to Combat Human Trafficking ‘ should be organised for joint action against human trafficking.
  • International efforts
    • The best practices of countries like ‘Nigeria’ must be emulated to effectively target trafficking in humans.
    • Extradition treaties must be signed and implemented in spirit so that accused can be brought to swift justice.
  • Rehabilitation Amount and Conditions
    • Proper care must be given to the infrastructure and facilities provided to such homes for the effective rehabilitation of the victims.
    • NGOs like Shakti Vahini and Prajwala’s help can be taken in this regard.


  • The issue of Human trafficking is at the heart of national security due to its linkages with terrorism and organised crime. This form of modern slavery can be tackled only through joint efforts. The recent move by 6 states is a right step in this direction.

Source: The Hindu

Mains Question:

Q. ‘ Human Trafficking can only be combated by joint efforts ’? Analyse the statement in the light of the recent initiative by 6 states in India.