India: Country assessment highlights status of victim assistance and criminal justice initiatives on anti human trafficking
The UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons promotes the protection and support of victims of trafficking. Even though many countries have taken positive steps to create a favorable environment and put in place mechanisms to adequately assist and protect victims of trafficking, much more needs to be done. Apart from prosecuting traffickers, it is equally important to recognize the need for protecting trafficked survivors. Protecting the identity and rights of survivors does not only help convict traffickers but also guards against re-trafficking. To ensure a victim-centred and human rights approach to the crime of trafficking in persons, there is a need to improve mechanisms for the identification of victims and establishment of adequate referral procedures for institutions providing support, assistance and reintegration.
To this end, UNODC commissioned a country assessment on the "status of victim service providers and criminal justice actors in India". This report is a result of ten months of intensive consultations with nodal officers working on anti human trafficking, key ministries and NGOs; interactions with select Anti Human Trafficking Units (AHTUs) and government and NGO-run shelter homes. This assessment also captures a brief situational analysis (based primarily on anecdotal and media reports) of 13 forms of human trafficking and highlights broad trends. The report elaborates responses and initiatives taken by 21 State Governments in India to counter trafficking; it lays down constitutional and legal provisions including the latest Criminal Law Amendment Act 2013, landmark judgements, and government sponsored protection schemes. Advisories issued by the Government and data from the National Crimes Record Bureau of India on missing persons are also presented. In addition, the report also identifies key areas that require attention and concerted action to strengthen services for trafficking survivors.
UNODC hopes that this assessment will be of practical use for officials, service providers and stakeholders to further design and develop a comprehensive response for victim assistance and protection services in the area of human trafficking in the country.
The assessment was conducted under the UNODC project titled, 'Promoting the implementation of the Trafficking Protocol and the Smuggling Protocol, both supplementing the UNTOC' with the financial support of the European Union.