India: Stakeholders deliberate on victim centered legislation to counter human trafficking


New Delhi, India/13 November 2019: Responding to new and emerging forms of human trafficking in India, UNODC convened a multi-stakeholder consultation on existing anti-trafficking laws and policies in New Delhi on 13 th November. 

The consultation was attended by over 39 representatives from the government, law enforcement agencies, consular personnel, non-governmental organizations, United Nations, academic institutions, prosecutors and independent experts.

Participants concurred that legislative provisions should reflect a spirit of inclusiveness and promote a victim-centered approach. Measures such as ending the impunity of the perpetrators, identifying the offenders through a referral process, strengthening national coordination and international cooperation and integrating additional standards as suggested in the Trafficking in Persons Protocol and the Convention on Transnational Organized Crime were highlighted as essential interventions to counter human trafficking.

In the discussions, participants exchanged insights on the Indian legal framework and emphasised the need for a comprehensive victim-centered legislative approach to counter human trafficking. Dr. P.M. Nair, retired Law Enforcement Officer and anti-trafficking expert welcomed the initiative of UNODC for organizing the multi-stakeholder consultation. He stressed that a comprehensive and compact legislation, with equal weight on prosecution, protection and prevention with time bound outcome, ensuring institutional stabilization of good practices, will be in the best interest of not only victims and vulnerable persons, but also in the best public interest, as it will be a good step in the rule of law and good governance.

Some of the key findings from the Situation Assessment on the patterns and trends of trafficking in persons were also discussed, besides the UNODC Model Law against Trafficking in Persons, and challenges in implementation of the legal provisions. Presenting the challenges  in implementation of legal provisions to counter trafficking in persons (TIP), Mr. Surendra Kumar, Inspector General of Police highlighted that, inter alia, lack of awareness on TIP in the community and among law enforcement officials. He also highlighted that cyber enabled trafficking is increasing and that the law is inadequate to counter cyber trafficking. He stressed the need for a strong law to address new and emerging trends of trafficking.

Intensive deliberations were also held on the provisions and the institutional framework envisaged under the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018. During the day-long discussions and deliberations, several suggestions were emerged for strengthening the laws and policies to counter trafficking in persons. As a step forward, UNODC agreed to share the suggestions with Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Women and Children Development, Government of India for consideration and incorporation in the TIP  Bill.

This activity was held in the framework of the UNODC project on "Strengthening the implementation of a comprehensive response to trafficking in persons."

The project is implemented by UNODC Regional Office for South Asia as part of the Global Programme against Trafficking in Persons, with the financial support of the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund of the Government of United Kingdom.