New Delhi, 20th February, 2013: India’s leading anti-trafficking organization, Apne Aap Women Worldwide with Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) and Global March Against Child Labour organized a press conference on behalf of their 2000 partners and millions of victims and survivors of Human Trafficking, today at Gandhi Peace Foundation. In light of the Justice Verma Committee report, the team shared memorandum & representation prepared on desired amendments in Immoral Traffic Prevention Act and Criminal Law Amendment Bill (2012). Their demand to the Government of India and all political parties and members of Parliament is that recommendations of Justice Verma Report especially those dealing with human trafficking are accepted in toto in the proposed acts.
1.the definition of trafficking as listed in Justice Verma Report
2. Section 370 & 370(A) as laid down in the Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance to be accepted in toto in the law
3. Need to ensure our laws reflect India’s International legal obligations to UN:
a. India has signed & ratified the UN Protocol to end trafficking in persons, especially women & children and is now legally obliged to incorporate the UN definition on trafficking into its law
b. India has signed & ratified the UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime & is legally obliged to amend its law to meet standards of the convention
c. Justice Verna has framed a definition of human trafficking based on UN protocol definition in his recommendations i.e. Section 370 & 370 (A)
d. The 12th five year plan has substantial recommendations to address human trafficking based in guidelines recommended in UN Protocol
The conference was addressed by Ms. Ruchira Gupta, Founder Apne Aap Women Worldwide, Mr. Kailash Satyarthi, founder, BBA and Chairman, Global March Against Child Labour and Geeta (name changed), a survivor of child trafficking and abuse.
Geeta , a Trafficking Survivor said, “ I was brought from Jharkhand on the pretence of getting a job in Delhi where I was working without any pay for 10 months. From there I was sent to Punjab. Through this time I was repeatedly sexually abused and beaten up. I was about to be sold for Rupees 3.5 lakhs but fortunately I met an undercover
volunteer and was able to escape the clutches of my captors. All I want is to go home and a cruel punishment for the violators. “
Speaking on the occasion, Ms. Ruchira Gupta, Founder Apne Aap said “Our country has a commitment to honoring the United Nations Convention & UN Protocol on human trafficking.
We strongly believe that the Criminal Law Amendment Bill (2012), the Justice Verma report followed by the presidential ordinance is the right step in this direction”.
“It’s high time that prostituted women and children are seen as victims of violence and we need to create an enabling legal environment that will help them to escape prostitution. The proposed definition of trafficking decriminalizes the woman and shifts the blame from the victim to the perpetrator-the person, who recruits, harbours, receives transfers and transports.” Ruchira added.
If passed the Criminal Law Amendment Bill (2012) will provide immediate relief to the three million women and girls trapped in prostitution all over our country. In his report, Justice Verma has rightly placed prostitution as a form of violence against women. By doing so he makes unacceptable the rape of poor, low-caste and marginalized women whose survival strategies are written off as choices.
Notes to Editors: About Apne Aap Women Worldwide- Apne Aap Women Worldwide’s mission is to increase choices for at-risk girls and women in order to ensure access to their rights, and to deter the purchase of sex through policy and social change. A world where every woman and girl can realize her full potential. Vision is inspired by the twin Gandhian principles. Ahimsa or non-violence to self and others and Antodaya meaning upliftment of the last woman. Antodaya’s last person is the prostituted girl or woman