In the red light areas where there is organized prostitution there is nothing called “consent” or “out of choice”-It is all about exploitation and organized crime which subjugates Women and Children

Ravi Kant President, Shakti Vahini –  Advocate Supreme Court of India

Prostitution in India is controlled by mafia, criminal elements & organized crime syndicates. A close scrutiny of various red light areas across the country prove that it is a crime syndicate which is completely focused on generating high profit for the operators of the sex trade. It uses various form of exploitation to prey upon the victims. The demand for young girls in this trade vigorously fuels the trafficking of minor victims from across the country and neighboring states. There are several cases of sex trafficking of minor girls as well as women which have ended in conviction and closure of brothels. These cases have revealed tales of extreme violence , lurement and entrapment.

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The power dynamics in the red light area or in any place where sexual exploitation takes place is controlled by the organized crime syndicates, money lenders & criminal elements. This is because it is a high profit making business. The profit from exploitation fuels the sex trade. Operators need profit and in order to generate high profit it has to cater to the demand of the people who come and pay for these services. It is a well-established fact that the demand is of young minor girls. As the age of the victim increases the demand for the victim goes down. During the tender years the demand is high and also the revenue generated from the exploitation is also high.

Since the earning capacity of the victims who are controlled by the criminal and organized crime reduces by the age and no of years the victim has been exploited the traffickers loose interest on these women and after years of exploitation many of these women are set free by the brothel owners and are allowed to continue the work independently by paying commissions to the traffickers. In the initial five to ten years the minor victims are forced, exploited and violated by hundreds of men. Their films are made and widely circulated in the internet which generates huge profit for the traffickers.

After years of sexual exploitation, servitude and bondage which may continue for 10-15 years and when the revenue generated from their exploitation goes down they are set free and made partners in the illegal sex trade.

It is a well established fact that high profits and revenues come from the exploitation of minors and new entrants. The business interest of traffickers are more in exploitation of minor victims. In places like the red light areas where there is organized prostitution there is nothing called “consent” or “out of choice”- It is all about exploitation and subjugation of innocent women and children who are trafficked each year from far flung areas of the country.

This is the reason why this exploitation should end. the traffickers are aware on the loopholes of the law. They take the legal process easily and think they can get away with the crime.

It is because of this it is the need of the time that the new comprehensive legislation is passed as soon as possible. the Comprehensive legislation will bring the fear of the law among the traffickers. The law will mandate a national nodal agency to investigate cross border and inter state trafficking cases. It will strengthen investigation of human trafficking cases.The new law will usher in witness protection protocols which is the need of time. It is because of this the traffickers many a times threaten innocent victims and ensure that they testify falsely in the courts. The new legislation will bring in a proper budgeted rehabilitation programme which will help the victims of the organized crime to start life fresh and also end their vulnerability. The proposed legislation will also ensure that property generated out of the exploitation of trafficked victims are confiscated. The proposed legislation will bring in a institutional machinery from the remote districts of the country to the various state capitals and will lead to strengthening of victim response services.

The legalization brigade in India has been spreading misinformation that if the legislation is passed the life of women in prostitution will be made difficult and their livelihoods will be affected and they may be victimized by the police. The supreme court in Budhadev Karmaskar vs State of West Bengal has already clarified that women in prostitution who have been trapped in the trade should not be victimized and only the perpetrators need to be booked and prosecuted.

The women in fact are entitled to rehabilitation which has been missing since the last sixty years. the new legislation will bring in budgeted rehabilitation initiatives which will help lift thousands of trafficked victims live a life of  respect and self dignity.

It is because of this the new proposed legislation which the union cabinet has already approved should become a law as soon as possible . It is the step in Right direction.

Prostitution is Organised Crime and Violation of Fundamental Rights. Trafficking and sexual slavery is worst form of Human Rights Violation. No women joins this inhuman trade out of choice. Amost 100% women have been trafficked and forced into the sex trade.

 Immoral Traffic Prevention Act 1956 criminalises the organised crime of Prostitution. Organised Prostitution creates a demand for young girls for the brothels which is met by trafficking of minor girls from across the Country.

Giving Prostitution a legal status will be giving boost to demand of young minor girls who will be trafficked. In countries where such legalization has happened it has led to exploitation of women and girls and also commodification of women bodies.

There here is no doubt that women who have been caught in the sex trade  need access to all Government facilities and schemes and efforts must be made to see that they join the mainstream and are properly rehabilitated. Also those who indulge in this organised crime of human trafficking which leads to kidnapping of young girls from across the country need to be properly punished.

The sad part is that inspite of various recommendations from the Supreme Court in various cases no geniune efforts have been made by any Government to see that this social malice which results from Organised Crime be eradicated.

The Supreme Court in its order dated 26 July 2012  has clarified that its endeavor to provide right to life and access to governmental schemes should not be construed as an encouragement to prostitution.

The clarification had come from a bench of Justices Altamas Kabir and Gyan Sudha Mishra after additional solicitor general P P Malhotra had drawn the court’s attention to its July 19 ,2011 order in which it had sought suggestions from the SC-constituted panel on creating “conditions conducive for sex workers who wish to continue working as sex workers with dignity”. Malhotra had said there was a danger of the order being construed as an incentive to indulge in an activity that had been termed as an offence under the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, 1956.

The Judges on the bench passed had passed separate orders, but both meant to clarify that the panel would recommend steps to create “conditions conducive for sex workers to live with dignity as per provisions of the Constitution Article 21″. 

Justice Kabir added a precautionary clarification — “The above modification should not be construed to mean any attempt made to encourage prostitution.”

Hearing the Petition  Justice Mishra had clarified, “I prefer to add…sex workers have a right to live with dignity but the collective endeavour must be on part of the sex workers to give up the trade in case they are given alternate platform.”

The Detailed Order of the Bench  Dated 26 /07/2012 is as follows :

ORDER

1. While concurring with the views of my learned brother Justice Altamas Kabir, I prefer to add in regard to the second issue that this Court should not be misunderstood to encourage the practice of flesh trade or advocate the recognition of sex trade merely because it has raised the issue to emphasize the rehabilitation aspect of the sex workers, for which this Court had taken the initiative right at the threshold. I consider this essential in order to allay any apprehension which prompted the Union of India to move this application for modification, by highlighting that the sex workers although have a right to live with dignity as the society is aware that they are forced to continue with this trade under compulsions since they have no alternative source of livelihood, collective endeavour should be there on the part of the Court and all concerned who have joined this cause as also the sex workers themselves to give up this heinous profession of flesh trade by providing the destitute and physically abused women an alternative forum for employment and resettlement in order to be able to rehabilitate themselves. I, therefore, wish to reiterate by way of abundant caution that this Court should not be perceived to advocate the recognition of sex trade or promote the cause of prostitution in any form and manner even when it had stated earlier in its terms of reference regarding conditions conducive for sex workers who wish to continue working as sex workers with dignity.

2. Thus, when we modify the earlier term of reference and state regarding conditions conducive for sex workers to live with dignity in accordance with the provisions of Article 21 of the Constitution, the same may not be interpreted or construed so as to create an impression or draw inference that this Court in any way is encouraging the sex workers to continue with their profession of flesh trade by providing facilities to them when it is merely making an effort to advocate the cause of offering an alternative source of employment to those sex workers who are keen for rehabilitation. When we say conditions conducive for sex workers to live with dignity, we unambiguously wish to convey that while the sex workers may be provided alternative source of employment for their rehabilitation to live life with dignity, it will have to be understood in the right perspective as we cannot direct the Union of India or the State Authorities to provide facilities to those sex workers who wish to promote their profession of sex trade for earning their livelihood, except of course the basic amenities for a dignified life, as this was certainly not the intention of this Court even when the term of reference was framed earlier.

3. We, therefore, wish to be understood that we confine ourselves to the efforts for rehabilitation of sex workers which should not be construed as facilitating, providing them assistance or creating conducive conditions to carry on flesh trade for expanding their business in any manner as it cannot be denied that the profession of sex trade is a slur on the dignity of women. Conditions conducive for sex workers to live with dignity in accordance with the provisions of Article 21 of the Constitution be therefore understood in its correct perspective as indicated above.

J (GYAN SUDHA MISRA) New Delhi, July 26, 2012

 

 

 

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HC orders Bengal govt to compensate trafficking victim, says right to relief notwithstanding result of criminal proceedings

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The compensation, to be given by the State Legal Services Authority (SLSA), is to be handed over within ten days of the order.

In a landmark judgment, the Calcutta High Court Monday ordered the state to pay compensation to a trafficking victim even as investigation is ongoing and trial is yet to begin. Justice Rajshekhar Mantha observed that the victim of a crime has the right to receive compensation notwithstanding the result of criminal proceedings.

The compensation, to be given by the State Legal Services Authority (SLSA), is to be handed over within ten days of the order.

The order was passed on a writ petition filed by the victim’s lawyer after their application for compensation was turned down by both the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) and SLSA. The victim was 14 years old when she was trafficked (see box).

Criminal lawyer Kaushik Gupta, who is representing the victim, said, “When the case was filed in West Bengal, it was not filed under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act (ITPA), unlike in Pune…If it is a case of simple kidnapping, the case can be investigated by a sub-inspector. Under ITPA, the minimum rank required is that of inspector. Secondly, police stations and officers-in-charge don’t have the resources to investigate under ITPA, because for that you have to investigate the entire route — in this case from the district to Sealdah to Mumbai to Pune. The officer has to take a team with the victim’s family. Sometimes, it takes years for the cost of investigation to be reimbursed by the state. The probe is therefore limited to surrounding areas of the village from which the trafficking has taken place.

“Therefore, the investigation carried out is often inadequate, as is the chargesheet. For the lawyer to then prove the case becomes very difficult. More often than not, this results in acquittal of accused. This is a landmark order as it shifts the concept of justice from the sole purpose of convicting the criminal, to compensatory justice.’’

Justice Mantha’s order states: “The writ petitioner has been a victim of trafficking. She was identified, traced and brought back from Pune to West Bengal…The victim had filed an application under the West Bengal Victim Compensation Scheme of 2017. Such scheme came to be framed after the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, was amended to bring in section 357A in 2009.’’

It further states: “According to this law, every state government in coordination with the central government shall prepare a scheme for providing funds for compensation to victim or dependents who have suffered loss or injury as a result of the crime and who require rehabilitation. Article 38 of the Constitution obligates the State to render social justice to its citizens.

Right to receive just compensation as a victim of a crime, notwithstanding the result of criminal proceedings emanating out of the incident of crime can be read into Article 21 of the Constitution of India guaranteeing ‘Right to life’. ‘Right to life’ encompasses within its fold, the ‘Right to live with dignity’. A citizen cannot be asked to forfeit the right to live with dignity just because such citizen has become a victim of a crime. The state is obliged to protect the life and property of its citizens. The victim may or may not receive compensation in the criminal proceedings. The criminal proceedings may result in acquittal of the accused. Disposal of such criminal proceedings with a particular result does not mean that, the incident of crime did not happen or that the victim is not entitled to or requires compensation.”

The order also states: “Acquittal of the accused, ipso facto, does not mean that the incident of crime did not take place. The victim of the crime may require support, monetary and otherwise to mitigate the loss and injury suffered as a result of the crime. The victim may require rehabilitation.”

Justice Mantha observed that the victim must be compensated under section 357A as her fundamental rights under Article 21 (Right to life) have been violated. “Denial of compensation to such victim would continue such violation and perpetrate gross inhumanity on the victim…This cannot be the object of section 357A and the 2017 scheme…I therefore hold that both requirements the accused not being identified or traced as also that the trial should not have commenced, need not be satisfied for entitlement of compensation…,” stated the order.

The Calcutta High Court also directed that the CID take on the investigation.

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Efforts On to Revive Twin Rescue Centres

Social welfare department plans to rope in NGOs to run Ranchi, Delhi hubs

Ranchi: Two resource centres, one each in the state and national capitals, set up around four years back to help women and child trafficking victims and curb the influence of dubious placement agencies, are being revived after these had failed to take off due to bureaucratic lethargy and a lack of clarity on their functioning.

Director of integrated child protection scheme (ICPS) Rajesh Singh said they had begun work seriously on reviving the two centres.

“We plan to outsource the centres to a trusted agency with experience. We have uploaded a notice in this regard on our website asking interested parties to apply latest by the first week of July,” said the director of the scheme under the state social welfare department.

Rescue of abused children and battered women from Jharkhand, who have been working as domestic helps in places like Delhi and UP after being trafficked, is common. It indicates Jharkhand’s failure to have a proper mechanism in place to either keep a tab on those leaving the state in search of a livelihood or crack down on dubious placement agencies that exploit the scenario.

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The continued inactivity of the resource centres has, in fact, invited criticism from Jharkhand High Court. While hearing a PIL in connection with the welfare of victims of trafficking and policies related to child development, the court commented in February that the bureaucracy in Jharkhand was doing the work of the government only on paper.

The resource centre in Ranchi was set up at the CID office at Doranda in association with NGO Save the Children, police and the social welfare department. The Delhi centre was set up at Jharkhand Bhavan.

On issues plaguing the centres, a department official said that so far the partner NGO had been funding staff salaries, while the state government had provided the space.

“Now, this NGO does not want to continue and has withdrawn funding. In any case, we should fund it on our own and run it properly,” he said, adding that the annual cost of running each centre was around Rs 50 lakh.

But Singh claimed funds weren’t an issue. “Earlier, there was no clarity on the mandate of the resource centres. Now, that has been specified clearly,” he said.

The centre in Delhi, he explained, was to gather intelligence on the whereabouts and work places of trafficked women and children, rescue them in tandem with local police and repatriate them in coordination with the centre in Ranchi. The centre in the state capital would need to keep tabs on complaints received about missing children and women from each district, conduct research and ensure rescued individuals were rehabilitated.

Rishi Kant, among the founders of Delhi-headquartered NGO Shakti Vahini, welcomed the state social welfare department’s move to outsource the running of the centres.

“The government’s decision to outsource the centres is a good one. This means, a significant section of the civil society will get involved and this will make a difference. But the selected agency should be able to provide 24/7 service,” he cautioned, adding that the trafficking scenario in Jharkhand and Bihar was alarming.

“Roughly, our organisation has been rescuing 200 children of Jharkhand annually for the last few years. These children were forced to work in inhumane conditions in places like Delhi, UP and Haryana,” he said.

The Telegraph- 15.06.2018

1,100 friends for women and children appointed in Gujarat

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Crime against women

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As many as 1,100 Friends For Women and Children (FFWC) have been appointed in the state for assisting in crimes related to women and children, finding missing children, human trafficking, and others, the state police said on Thursday.

The appointments have been made under the government’s Suraksha Setu scheme, the Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) of Women Cell, Gandhinagar, said. In a presentation at the recent National Conference on Child Protection Services and issues related to child offences under POCSO Act, ADGP Anil Pratham said that organizations, NGOs and individuals, who are working in areas related to safety and security of women and children, have been asked to associate as Friends for Women and Children.

“They are familiar with working in the field, and can get better results if they are assigned the same area of operations,” Pratham said in the presentation, explaining the rationale behind appointing the FFCWs. He said that the 1,100 FFWC members were appointed in 2017-18, and have been given different tasks for searching the missing children.

The official release said that the process for filling 182 posts in women police stations under the central government’s Investigative Unit for Crime Against Women Scheme is in progress.

‘Maneka seeks details of govt homes in state’

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National Commission for Women (NCW) member Sushma Sahu on Wednesday requested Union minster for women and child development Maneka Gandhi to order a probe into the functioning of all government short stay and children homes being run by the NGOs and mentioned in the social audit report of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai.

Sahu, who met Maneka in Delhi on Wednesday, told TOI over the phone that she also sought the minister’s intervention for justice to the minor girls, who had allegedly been raped and physically abused during their stay at Muzaffarpur children home and other government shelter homes in Bihar and mentioned in the TISS report.

The TISS report about alleged rape of minor girls at Muzaffarpur children home led to the arrest of nine accused, including seven women. The arrested persons also include Brajesh Thakur, the proprietor of NGO Seva Sankalp Ewam Vikas Samiti, which was running the children home.

Sahu said when she apprised Maneka of the pitiable conditions in government homes mentioned in the TISS report, the minister immediately called a top ministry official and asked him to provide her all the details and developments on the issue from Bihar.

Sahu said she also wrote a letter to the ministry to order the state level officers for fresh medical examinations of the minor victims. Sahu had visited the children home at Muzaffarpur on June 9. She said the girls were virtually kept in captivity inside crammed rooms. She had raised her suspicion over a door connecting the girls’ room with a printing press located just beside the children home. The press is also owned by Thakur.

 

Delhi businessman held for raping teenaged maid at home

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17-year-old girlwas raped by a businessman in his house in central Delhi’s Karol Bagh on Tuesday afternoon. The girl worked there as a maid and nobody was at home during the incident, said the police. The businessman, who had allegedly molested her earlier as well, has been arrested.

The police were informed about the incident by the girl’s father who got to know about it from his wife. They also informed an NGO, whose members came to the police station along with the survivor’s family. The girl was soon taken to a hospital for treatment, cops said. The accused, identified as Kapil Bhatia (40), owns a store in Kashmere Gate, cops said.

The girl told the police that she had been working at the house for over six months and there were people at the house every time she had gone for work. On Tuesday, however, there was nobody apart from Bhatia. When the girl was about to leave, Bhatia called her to his room and raped her. She said the man had molested her several times earlier but threatened her into silence.

Police said the girl was produced before the child welfare committee (CWC) following which a case under Sections 354 (assault or criminal force on woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 376 (punishment for rape) and 377 (unnatural offences) of IPC, and also under POCSO Act and Juvenile Justice Act was registered. The survivor has been sent to a children’s home on the order of CWC.

The police raided Bhatia’s house on Tuesday night itself and caught him while he was trying to flee. Cops are also trying to find out if he had sexually assaulted any other girl.

Disturbing trend: Criminal gangs now recruiting kids

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Disturbing trend: Criminal gangs now recruiting kids

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Children living on the streets are the most vulnerable group of the society, regularly exploited by criminals for committing crimes near railway platforms. The revelation was made during a recent investigation of a case, where a criminal was arrested for recruiting teenagers to commit petty crimes. According to a senior police official, on June, one Sunil Bihari from Pandav Nagar was arrested for running a gang comprising children for committing petty crimes, such as pick-pocketing, theft and snatching.

During investigation, the children were found to be living on the streets, picking rags from different railway stations. The accused used to lure them on the pretext of easy money. Police said that the arrest was made by team of Crime Branch, and the accused told investigators that the gang is operating across the Delhi-Mumbai railway network. Cops added that the gang members are also involved in drug trafficking.

“Usually, the accused would recruit teenagers in his gang to commit crimes in moving trains and in the area around platforms,” police said. Recently, Shahdara district police had busted another gang that trained kids for committing crime in the Capital. Police arrested six persons in the case. An investigator claimed that they found that seven members of this large gang were recruited by the kingpin when they were minors. “The gang used to target children from areas where parental supervision was far less. During further investigation, we came to know that the accused also hired street children, as we found that a 17-year-old member of the gang was a street child,” said the police official. The Standing Operating Procedure, formulated by National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, states that most of street connected children are vulnerable to emotional, physical and sexual abuse, due to lack of secure shelter and adult supervision. Children on the streets are often called ‘hidden children’, as they have no concrete identity. Being hidden, they are at a higher risk of being abused, exploited and neglected.