2. Project description (background and justification)
In India, human trafficking has become a highly lucrative and exploitative business due mainly to the perception of low risk of arrest, prosecution and conviction, and the large pool of potential victims rendered vulnerable by extreme poverty and ignorance. In recent years, India has emerged as a major transit point as well as a source and destination point for human trafficking. Estimates of the amount of women and children currently trafficked in India range from 3-4 million people. Intra-country trafficking is the principal mode and is estimated to account for over 90 per cent of the total volume. The movement of trafficked persons from West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu is very high with the major destinations points being Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi and Goa.
The Government of India has been attempting in various ways to address the problem of trafficking. In respect of law enforcement, however, there have been difficulties in implementing the provisions of the law on the ground. To a significant degree, this relates to the low level of awareness of the seriousness of trafficking as a crime and low prioritization accorded by law enforcement to the problem of trafficking.
The recent NHRC study on trafficking interviewed 852 police officers (117 senior and 735 investigating officers) and found that over 80 per cent attach either 'nil' or 'low' priority to the issue of trafficking. Forty per cent of officers surveyed had not even heard of the concept of trafficking while only 7 per cent had received any kind of training on the subject.
India is a signatory to the Convention on Transnational Organised Crime 2000. The Constitution of India, the fundamental law of the country made reference to Trafficking and prohibited it as early as 1950. The key law in India, which addresses the issue of trafficking in women and children, is the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act of 1956. Studies reveal that, mainly due to lack of knowledge, many of its progressive provisions remain unutilized. For instance, most of the cases registered have been against women under Section 8 dealing with "seducing or soliciting for the purpose of prostitution". The consequence is that victims of trafficking, rather than traffickers, constitute the largest number of arrestees. The usage of the law's provisions against traffickers or brothel owners, landlords and clients has been minimal by comparison. Similarly, actions like the closure of brothels or the seizure of assets under other relevant laws, the collection and sharing of intelligence, the maintenance of databases etc. - which are among the means of effective law enforcement and prevention - are often underutilized by the police. While several major cities, including New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai have developed and are enforcing "no Section 8 arrest policies", women and children victims of trafficking continue to be re-victimized by Section 8 ITPA arrests in other parts of India.
In support of the Government's efforts to combat trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of women and children, in 1998, the Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD) formulated a plan of action in which the strengthening of law enforcement along with legal reform constituted an important proposal. To date, the DWCD has taken a lead in policy development on the subject. Recently, the External Affairs Spokesperson stated on 24 March 2005,
"The Government, as part of its larger cooperation with the US, is considering taking up training programmes and workshops on the subject. This initiative could also involve relevant UN organizations."
On the basis of all the above, UNODC, with financial and technical support from the US government, proposes to assist the Government of India in its efforts to strengthen the law enforcement capabilities of police, prosecution and judiciary through training, capacity building and awareness-raising, in active partnership with the Government of India. The project will be carried out in close association with, the Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD), the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D), the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), reputable NGOs and state governments.
3. Immediate objective, related outputs and activities
To reduce the number of trafficked persons into, in and from India by strengthening the capacity of Indian law enforcement officers and raising their awareness in respect of trafficking. Further, to orient the law enforcement agencies in states affected by sex tourism on prevention and related investigation.
Law Enforcement Training
Law enforcement machinery (police and prosecutors) in target states trained to proactively address the problem of human trafficking
- Officers identified for training
- Training sites / venues selected (by project and target states)
- Resource persons selected and contracted
- Training curriculum (see Course Content indicated separately, which will reflect active participation of NGOs as resource persons)
- Schedule finalized
- Training modules developed (content used from local sources, BPR&D, UNODC and other available international best practice)
- Training equipment procured
- Training delivered
- Training evaluated
- Post-training performance monitored
- [Note: travel and per diems to be provided by host government]
- Achievement indicator (1): X number of in-service training sessions held in Y states with Z participants
- Achievement indicator (2): increased use of ITPA and other relevant laws (as opposed, for example, to the Indian Penal Code) when registering cases of human trafficking
- Achievement indicator (3): improvement in the quality of investigations and charge sheets submitted in the courts as assessed through an improved rate of convictions
- Achievement indicator (4): increase in the number of non-Section 8 arrests made under the ITPA (e.g., of brothel-keepers, house-owners, pimps, traffickers and clients)
- Achievement indicator (5): significant reduction in the number of child victims and unwilling victims in commercial sexual exploitation
- Achievement indicator (6): improved inter-personal relations between law enforcement and victims; closer coordination between law enforcement and NGOs
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)/Protocols developed to govern practices relating to operational aspects of anti-trafficking in the project target areas
- Participatory method approach developed and relevant law enforcement officers and other experts (e.g., criminologists, psychologists, NGOs, correctional staff, prosecutors, etc.) appointed to attend sessions and deliberate on content
- Working group sessions organized in relevant states
- SOPs/Protocols developed to govern the following operational aspects - pre-raid planning, raids, searches, arrests, investigations and interviews, detentions, protection in court, prosecution, rehabilitation and repatriation
- SOPs/Protocols reviewed and cleared by DWCD
- SOPs/Protocols tested in pilot sites
- SOPs/Protocols re-worked based on lessons learned
- SOPs/Protocols adopted nationally as a form of best practice
- Achievement indicator (1): rights-oriented, gender-sensitive protocols developed that are applied in target areas
- Achievement indicator (2): best practices in the above operational aspects are developed by police themselves and internalized
Anti Human Trafficking Units (AHTUs)
AHTUs strengthened (those already existing in project target states) or developed (in target states currently without them)
- Assess scope of the trafficking problem in target states and the level of focused law enforcement resources required to address it in a concentrated manner
- Evaluate existing manpower and material resources and the guiding framework
- Assess the systemic tools / requirements for efficient delivery of required services
- Determine required elements to strengthen AHTUs - both government-provided and project-provided
- Consult best practice for relevant elements available internationally or from other Indian states
- Make recommendations to state-level police counterparts for strengthening and establishment of AHTUs
- Ensure that by second year of project all target states have established or strengthened AHTUs
- Achievement indicator (1): AHTUs in place
- Achievement indicator (2): Increase in cases registered, arrests made, rescue and repatriation
Law enforcement / civil society liaison
Improved liaison between law enforcement and civil society in respect of prevention, detection, prosecution and rehabilitation
- Identification of a nodal (focal point) agency (or link person, honorary ombudsman) to motivate law enforcement machinery in target states
- Nodal agency to liaise between law enforcement and NGOs to ensure better coordination and information flows in the enforcement of anti-trafficking laws
- Nodal agencies to assess efficacy of SOPs/Protocols developed under output 3 of this project
- Nodal agencies to identify rehabilitation resources, victim compensation progammes, victim protection programmes during trial stage
- Achievement indicator (1): Nodal agencies in place in all target states
- Achievement indicator (2): improved operational coordination between NGOs and law enforcement
4. Counterpart, institutional setting and implementation arrangements
The project will be implemented by the UNODC Regional Office for South Asia in New Delhi. The proposed project will draw from UNODC's global experience in technical assistance on human trafficking issues and will also tap on the technical resources available through the UNODC Global Programme against Trafficking in Human Beings, which manages a series of technical cooperation projects in selected countries. A UNODC project coordinator will be appointed to head the project and s/he will work in close liaison with a senior government counterpart in the Government of India. Additional counterparts will be identified in each of the states this project is extended to. The project will be steered through a tri-partite mechanism (Project Advisory Committee) chaired by the Government of India and concerned state governments, UNODC and the US Government.
Subject to further discussion and finalization, the major geographical focus of the training will be as follows: Bombay, Goa, Delhi, Calcutta and Hyderabad. Depending on the availability of funds and the possible need to expand to other priority areas, consideration could be given to reaching law enforcement cadres in the border areas of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and the North East, the major points of transnational trafficking. Efforts could also be made to cover Bangalore, Thiruvananthapuram and Chennai, which are emerging tourist and IT hubs where danger of growth in sex tourism exists.
Training programmes would be carried out in state level government training establishments and resource persons would mostly consist of local level experts proficient with problems peculiar to the place of training.