Punish trafficker, safeguard prostitute

Ruchira Gupta in The Telegraph:

AshIndia is on the brink of a paradigm shift in its legal framework to deal with human trafficking based on the Justice Verma Committee recommendations set up after the December 16 rape in Delhi. Through the current Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013 and the proposed changes to the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill and the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, 1956, India has finally broadened the definition of trafficking to include all forms of enslavement — from servitude to prostitution. These amendments will bring India on a par with the UN Protocol to End Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. The trafficking definition legally explains exploitation, the exploiter and the exploited for the first time in India’s Independent history. Exploitation is defined as forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude, the forced removal of organs and prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation.

…These recommendations pave the way for our country to create a contemporary, democratic society where women and girls can live lives free of male violence. It addresses both the urgency of the crisis in India, where 17 women are raped “officially” everyday, and hopefully sets the stage for legislation that will recognise that any society that claims to defend principles of legal, political, economic and social equality for women and girls must reject the idea that women and children, mostly girls, are commodities that can be bought, sold and sexually exploited by men. To do otherwise is to allow that a separate class of female human beings, especially women and girls who are economically and caste-wise marginalised, is excluded from measures being set in place for women’s security. As well as from the universal protection of human dignity enshrined in our Constitution and the body of international human rights instruments developed during the past 60 years.

More here. (Note: Dear friend Ruchira Gupta is the founder president of Apne Aap Women Worldwide, a grassroots movement to end sex trafficking.)