Ruchira Gupta & Ruchi Sinha: Confronting the Demand for Sex Trafficking: Print E-mail

A Handbook for Law Enforcement

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 Publishers Notes, Reviews, and Link for Orders to follow

 Thursday August 1 2008

An inside story of trafficking in women

Smriti Kak Ramachandran

Unmasking reality: National Commission for Women chairperson Girija Vyas (second from right) releasing the book titled ‘Confronting the Demand for Sex-trafficking: A Handbook for law enforcement’ in New Delhi on Wednesday

NEW DELHI: Exploitation of women is not limited to their trafficking for commercial sex market. The criminal justice system, which arrests more women than men, is an equally harrowing experience, claims a book on sex trafficking released in the Capital on Wednesday.

Authors Ruchira Gupta and Ruchi Sinha, in a handbook titled ‘Confronting the Demand for Sex Trafficking: A Handbook for Law Enforcement’ point out that while victims of sex trafficking are put though the criminal justice system, the perpetrators are allowed to go scot-free.

Making a case for more gender-sensitive law enforcement, the authors point out how the existing laws can be used to fix legal responsibility on those who buy trafficked people.

The book also cites examples of countries like Sweden, the Philippines and South Korea, which have addressed the demand for sex trafficking as an effective anti-trafficking measure.

“Demand for trafficked people -- from end-users to those who make profit from the trade -- has become the most immediate cause for expansion of the trafficking industry,” said Ms. Gupta, who is also founder-director of Apne Aap Women Worldwide.

Ms. Gupta, who has co-authored the book with Ms. Sinha, an assistant professor at the Centre of Criminology and Justice Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, explained: “Providing services and instituting preventive mechanisms has provided protection to vulnerable people but not detracted the traffickers.”

Calling for increased vigilance and new laws to prevent traffickers from sourcing women and children from Nepal to Mumbai and Kolkata, she said: “They simply shifted areas of operation to Bihar, West Bengal, the hill States of the Northeast and Jharkhand in India because a demand for trafficked women and children continued to exist.”

The handbook claims that the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, 1956, which penalises women for soliciting in public places is used more frequently than the Section 5which penalises traffickers, highlighting that trafficking is not a victimless crime.

The book, which has contributions from several people and a foreword from UN Special Rapporteur for Human Trafficking Sigma Huda, claims that human trafficking is an organised and well-structured crime which is operated through a supply chain.

A panel discussion on the subject moderated by P. M. Nair(IPS)which included Girija Vyas, Chairperson of the National Commission for Women, and Gary Lewis, Representative Regional Office of South Asia United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, and the author Ms. Gupta followed the book release.