The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Regional Office for South Asia (UNODC ROSA) in association with the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) organized a
one day Colloquium on Justice Delivery in Human Trafficking Crimes for Judicial Officers, Prosecutors and Police Officers on 15 November 2008, in Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, involving all the three wings of the criminal justice system, viz: Judiciary, Prosecutors and Police (from all over India), in order to facilitate expeditious disposal of the anti human trafficking crimes pending in the courts, with a view to ensure speedy delivery of justice.
Participants also included representatives of the media, UN Agencies, civil society partners and students as observers.
More than 250 delegates attended this event.
Ms. Ashita Mittal, Officer-in-Charge and Deputy Representative, UNODC ROSA, stated in her
Introductory Address that the crime of human trafficking has no place in the 21st century. She also shared UN initiatives with the participants. Ms. Mittal stressed upon the need for a comprehensive legislation on trafficking for an effective response to the crime.
The Chief Justice of India, Hon'ble Justice K.G. Balakrishan, delivered the
Inaugural Address, whilst Hon'ble Dr. Justice Arijit Pasayat, Judge, Supreme Court of India and Executive Chairman NALSA ,delivered the Presidential Address. The Chief Justice stated, "The scourge of 'human trafficking' needs no introduction. Every year, millions of individuals are trafficked all over the world and are coerced into living conditions that amount to slavery, forced labor and servitude. Since innumerable young girls and women are especially victimized by trafficking, this problem is seen as one that intersects with that of commercial sexual exploitation. ….. ..Since, trafficking is a complicated and multifaceted problem it requires a co-ordinated and interdisciplinary response. It touches on the domains of 'human rights protection' and 'gender justice' while posing some difficult problems for law-enforcement officials. There is of course an urgent need for intensified action to curb this menace. I hope that the participants of this workshop will develop a 'Plan of Action' for themselves in improving justice delivery and tackling the problem of 'human trafficking' in the country". The Hon'ble Chief Justice also stressed upon the requirement of having a comprehensive legislation to deal with crimes of human trafficking.
Hon'ble Dr. Justice Arijit Pasayat, in his Presidential Address, stated that there was no bigger problem in India today than human trafficking. The judge narrated his experiences of the previous day when young children had come visiting the Supreme Court on the occasion of the Children's Day. The judge also mentioned that it was for all stakeholders, like judicial officers, prosecutors, police officers to identify problems faced so that the problems can be tackled sternly with an iron hand. The judge also highlighted the need for an effective rehabilitation. The judge, as Executive Chairman NALSA, also conveyed to the participants that NALSA in association with UNODC would also conduct similar regional and then state level colloquiums in the future.
On this occasion, the Chief Justice of India also released the
Resource Book on the Legal Framework on Anti Human Trafficking, prepared under the aegis of
Project IND/S16 - "Strengthening the law enforcement response in India against trafficking in persons through training and capacity building". The Chief Justice made a special mention in his speech of this Resource Book by stating that the book has been designed to collect, review and analyze the relevant national legislations, international and regional instruments as well as judicial precedents that bring out the full range of 'human trafficking' related crimes. This Resource Book is meant for use by law enforcement officials and other stakeholders with the aim of sensitizing them about the effective role that they can play. It is hoped that a proper reading of the law will lead to its better enforcement; victims will be rescued more effectively, appropriate protective measures will be ordered with due regard to the age of the victims and they will have a better chance of reintegration in society.
After the inauguration, the
four technical sessions and the Way Forward session were conducted. These sessions dealt with: -
1. Human Trafficking and the Legal Regime: Commercial Sexual Exploitation, Forced Labour, Other types of trafficking
2. Responsibility of the Police in Anti Human Trafficking Crimes: Human rights perspective, Rescue of victims, Investigation Techniques, Organized Crime Perspective
3. Court Practice and Procedures for Effective Justice Delivery: Victim-witness protection measures, Prevention of Re-victimization, Legal Procedures, Court Rulings
4. Significance of NGO Involvement in the Justice Delivery Process: Psychosocial and legal counselling, Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Trafficked Survivor, Role of Media
5. A session on Way Forward - to highlight outcomes on the basis of result oriented discussions.
Shri S. Umapathi, Crime Investigation Department, Andhra Pradesh Police,
presented the first session which was chaired by Hon'ble Mr. Justice V. S. Sirpurkar, Judge, Supreme Court of India. The
session was presented by
Dr. P. M. Nair, Indian Police Service, Central Reserve Police Force, which was chaired by Hon'ble Mr. Justice Cyriac Joseph, Judge, Supreme Court of India. The
third session was presented by
Hon'ble Justice Roshan Dalvi, Judge High Court of Bombay, which was chaired by Hon'ble Mr. Justice Mukundakam Sharma, Judge, Supreme Court of India. The
final session for deliberations was presented by
Dr. Sunitha Krishnan, Co-Founder, Prajwala, which was chaired by Hon'ble Mr. Justice P. Sathasivam, Judge, Supreme Court of India.
Several recommendations and suggestions were made during the 4 Technical Sessions and also during the final session. The
final session was chaired by Hon'ble Mr. Justice Dalveer Bhandari, Judge, Supreme Court of India, and was moderated by Hon'ble Justice Roshan Dalvi, Judge High Court of Bombay, and Dr. Geeta Sekhon, Project Coordinator, UNODC.
Some of the important recommendations made by the participants were: • Developing a comprehensive legislation on trafficking as presently several different legislations have to be utilized to deal with crimes of trafficking • Co-ordinated response to deal with human trafficking crimes - with a comprehensive response by police, prosecutors and judiciary • Co-ordination at the district level between the law enforcement agencies, the judiciary, the government agencies, the civil society partners and communities at large • Comprehensive rehabilitation package for rescued victims of trafficking. • Effective prevention schemes to reduce vulnerabilities that cause trafficking in women and children.
Valediction function was presided over by Dr. H.R. Bhardwaj, Hon'ble Union Minister for Law and Justice, and the Presidential Address was conveyed by Hon'ble Dr. Justice Arijit Pasayat, Judge, Supreme Court of India and Executive Chairman NALSA. The Hon'ble Law Minister commended the efforts of NALSA and UNODC in conducting such a Colloquium in bringing together the three wings of the criminal justice system together for a co-ordinated response to the crimes of human trafficking.
The Colloquium was intensively reported in
both print and electronic media . The media raised the critical issue of comprehensive legislation needed to tackle human trafficking. Senior members of the National Media Coalition on Gender Violence, Human Trafficking and HIV/AIDS actively participated in the deliberations of the consultation. TV channels such as NDTV, Metro Nation, Doordarshan, CNN-IBN, IBN7, Sahara and Zee News widely covered the consultations. Journalists from print and online media such as Indo Asian News Service, United Newspaper of India, Press Trust of India, Hindustan Times, Pratidin, Prabhat Khabar were also present.