●Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)’s Report on Slavery
•Recently, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) and Walk Free (an international anti-slavery organisation) released a report on slavery on the occasion of World Day Against Trafficking in Persons (30th July)
•It assessed the progress made by Commonwealth countries on the promises made in 2018 to end modern slavery by 2030 and achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (Target 8.7) of ending forced labour, human trafficking and child labour.
•Commonwealth countries accounts for about 40% of people living in conditions of modern slavery in the world.
•There is an estimated one in every 150 people in the Commonwealth living in conditions of modern slavery
•India has fared the worst in terms of coordination, “with no national coordinating body or National Action Plan in place”
•Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) is an independent, non-partisan, international non-governmental organisation,
[headquartered in New Delhi]
•India, like all other Commonwealth countries in Asia, had not ratified the International Labour Organisation’s 2011 Domestic Workers Convention or the 2014 Forced Labour Protocol.
•The 2014 Forced Labour Protocol obligates state parties to provide protection and appropriate remedies, including compensation, to victims of forced labour and to sanction the perpetrators of forced labour.
•It also obligates state parties to develop a national policy and plan of action for the effective and sustained suppression of forced or compulsory labour.
•Section 370 and 370A of Indian Penal Code (IPC) provide for comprehensive measures to counter the menace of human trafficking including trafficking of children for exploitation in any form including physical exploitation or any form of sexual exploitation, slavery, servitude, or the forced removal of organs.
•The Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 and the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 and also the Immoral Traffic Act, Prevention of Child Labour Act 1956, the Bonded Labour (Abolition) Act 1976, among others aims to eradicate various forms of slavery.
•India has ratified the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organised Crime (UNCTOC) which among others has a Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children.
•India has ratified the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Convention on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Women and Children for Prostitution.
•A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Bangladesh has been signed on bilateral Cooperation for Prevention of Human Trafficking in Women and Children, Rescue, Recovery, Repatriation and Re-integration of Victims of Trafficking was signed in June, 2015.
•Anti-Trafficking Nodal Cell was set up in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in 2006 to act as a focal point for communicating various decisions and follow up on action taken by the State Governments to combat the crime of Human Trafficking.
•Judicial Conferences: In order to train and sensitize the trial court judicial officers, Judicial conferences on human trafficking are held at the High court level. The aim is to sensitize the judicial officers about the various issues concerning human trafficking and to ensure speedy court process.
•To enhance the capacity building of law enforcement agencies and generate awareness among them, various Training of Trainers (TOT) workshops on ‘Combating Trafficking in Human Beings’ for Police officers and for Prosecutors at Regional level, State level and District level have been organized by the government throughout the country.
•Ministry of Home Affairs under a Comprehensive Scheme ‘Strengthening Law Enforcement Response in India against Trafficking in Persons’ through Training and Capacity Building, has released fund for establishment of Anti Human Trafficking Units for 270 districts of the country.