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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Manual to the rescue of trafficked girls

Victims of trafficking can have something to cheer about now, thanks to a new manual for policemen dealing such cases.

The manual was released at India Habitat Centre recently by Gary Lewis, representative of United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), regional office for South Asia. UNODC played an active part in penning the manual, along with former IPS officer and author, P M Nair.

This manual will form a compulsory training material in all police training programmes. According to Nair, the manual will be translated into regional languages so that the state police can access it easily. This job will be done by professional translators and researchers rather than make-shift translations by the state police themselves, he added. He also said that the manual will ensure that trafficked women or children are not harassed or intimidated, restoring their faith in the police and thereby, making the rehabilitation of the victims faster.

"This manual will teach the policemen to be more sensitive while dealing with victims of human trafficking, especially commercial sex workers. They should be treated as victims rather than criminals," said Nair.

Lewis said that although there are laws in India pertaining to trafficking, none deals with the sensitivity part of it. "This training manual will form an integral part of all kinds of police training throughout the country. Policemen have hardly any knowledge on how to deal with these victims, so we thought that there is a need for a structured and coherent training manual," he said.

According to Manjula Krishnan, joint secretary (human trafficking) Union ministry of women and child development, the issue of treatment towards trafficking victims has been neglected for long.

"We want to sensitise policemen dealing trafficking cases. When commercial sex workers re-arrested, police trouble them because they are easy targets while the brothel owners and pimps go scot-free due to their connections. And so far child trafficking is concerned, it is a much more serious crime and a considerable amount of sensitivity does exist in that sphere. Still there is scope for improvement," she said.

She added that social workers and NGOs too had been roped in for this purpose.

In India, over 30 lakh women are working as commercial sex workers against their will and more than two lakh people are believed to be trafficked within or through the country annually. Nearly 60% of the trafficking victims are minors.

By Medha Chaturvedi


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

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