Districts covered within the zone: Allahabad, Kaushambi, Pratapgarh, Fatehpur, Chitrakoot, Hamirpur, Banda, Mahoba.
Shakti Vahini in coordination with Home Department, Govt. of Uttar Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh Police organized a Zonal level Stakeholders’ sensitization programme in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh on July 25, 2015. The programme was organized under the initiative of the Hon. Chief Minister of the State to address the problem of Human Trafficking and the possibility of cross border trafficking aftermath of the tragic Nepal Earthquake. Around 113 stakeholders participated during the day long programme. Various stakeholders included Police officers, GRP/RPF, District Administration, Child Welfare Committee, Juvenile Justice Board, representatives from Integrated Child Protection Scheme, District Child Protection Unit, Probation Officer, CHILDLINE and NGOs from all the districts of the zone.
The briefing of the day long programme is as follows:
Name of the resource persons:
- Shri Rajan Shukla, IAS, Divisional Commissioner, Allahabad.
- Shri Bhagwan Swaroop, IPS, Director General of Police, Allahabad.
- Ravi Kant, President, Shakti Vahini and Advocate, Supreme Court of India
- Shri Dinesh Tripathi, Chief Commissioner, Railway, Allahabad.
- Indira Swaroop, Chairperson, Child Welfare Committee, Allahabad.
i) Shri Rajan Shukla, IAS, Divisional Commissioner, Allahabad:
Human Trafficking is a social menace and Uttar Pradesh being one of the porous state where trafficking in persons is rampant, the recent devastating Nepal Earthquake has increased the vulnerability of trafficking in persons mostly of children and women in Uttar Pradesh due to the sharing of the longest Nepal boarder.
There is the need for intensive sensitization on the issue of trafficking and knowledge on the existing mechanisms to combat trafficking among Police officers.
Trafficking cannot be combated alone. As it is an organized crime stakeholders too should reunite. Multi stakeholder cooperation is very much needed in order to break the crime. Thus the training programmes/workshops would also include the participation of other stakeholders like NGOS, CHILDLINE, Child Protection Officers, Child Welfare Committees, Sahastra Seema Bal and District Administrations.
When we talk about children it is always to be kept in mind that children are those who are below the age of 18 years and the Juvenile Justice Care and Protection Act, 2000 is the supreme law in case of children.
The main reason for the meeting is to discuss about the key issues related to human trafficking and as UP shares most of the longest border with Nepal therefore a mechanism should be developed to combat the cross border trafficking which had been a big issue mainly after the Nepal Earthquake.
Human Trafficking is an organized crime and the awareness about the crime among the Police force is very needed.
Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection) Act 2000 is the supreme law for the welfare of children. Knowledge on the Act is very necessary for Police Officers. Registration of FIR in case of missing children is also compulsory as per the Supreme Court order.
Stressed on the need for convergence between various stakeholders in order to combat the crime of human trafficking. Police Department cannot work alone, coordination with various department and mostly with NGOs, CHILDLINE, CWC and district administration is very important
Anti Human Trafficking Unit being one of the specialized Unit to investigate cases of Human Trafficking, it is much needed that the Unit is strengthened and function in coordination with local Police. The gap between the two should be bridged out so that more and more trafficking agents are nabbed and are prosecuted leading to convictions.
Railway is the most preferred mode of travel and therefore is the most vulnerable transit point through which trafficking takes place. Allahabad is one of the most prone zone as it has one of the major Railway Junction connecting various states and places of the country. It is also one of the most important tourist destination.
Sensitization among the Railway Force is necessary to combat trafficking. Intervention of Railway authorities on receiving of any information should be prompt so that immediate help and assistance is provided to the victim or prevent trafficking at the railway Station itself.
Multi stakeholder cooperation is very much needed in order to break the crime. Collaboration between GRP and RPF would strengthen the vigilance and surveillance to track down traffickers operating at the Station and hence prevent trafficking of person.
The RPF is keen on displaying important helpline numbers so that immediate assistance to children could be given. Collaboration with NGOs as well as CWCs are much needed step for the Railway Authorities to bring out a victim friendly space at the Station.
Trafficking in persons was not recognized under law but the Criminal Amendment Act 2013 for the first time introduced the definition of Human Trafficking under section 370 of the Indian Penal Code.
It is the third most heinous crime after smuggling of drugs and arms and ammunition.
Trafficking of children and women are more evident in Allahabad for the purpose of commercial Sexual Exploitation due to the presence of the red light area.
Female Children are intoxicated with Oxytocin for unnatural growth of her body so that no one could find out that she is a minor and are forced into prostitution.
Police should investigate such cases sensitively and try to find out every root cause.
Section 370 is a strong Act and Police should implement the law evidently in cases of trafficking.
Human Trafficking is an organized crime therefore sensitization is necessary.
Age determination is the crucial factor, verification should be intensive. Police should try to collect the Primary school/High School/ Medical Certificate of the victim and find out the age of the victim.
Role of Special Juvenile Police Unit is crucial to handle cases of children below the age of 18 years.
Protection of children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 is another important law which should be implemented by the Police. As per the law anyone who have the knowledge of any sexual offence that is going on with a child, it is the duty of his/her to report the matter to the Police and if not reported the person is also punishable under section 21 of the Act for not less than six months.
The POCSO Act also defines the role of Police wherein if the Police does not register an FIR on reporting of such case is also punishable under the Act.
Police should collaborate with NGOs, CHILDLINE, Women and Child Development Department, State Commission for women to provide victim support during or after the rescue of the victim. Counseling is one of the primary process.
Highlighted the functioning and power of the Child Welfare Committee formed under section 29 (1) Chapter III of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000.
The Child Welfare Committee is the ultimate authority to decide upon the children who are in need of care and protection.
The Child Welfare Committee functions as a Bench of Magistrate and has powers conferred by the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973.
As per section 29 of the JJ Act, Child Welfare Committee comprises of Chairperson and four other members who are appointed by the State Government. Out of the five one has be a woman and another who is an expert in matters related to children.
The Committee is the competent authority and has the power to dispose of cases for the care, protection, treatment, development, and rehabilitation of the children as well as to provide them their basic needs and protection of human rights. The Child Welfare Committee is the supreme authority for handling cases related to care and protection of children, and it cannot be over-ruled by any other law as long as the committee is in power.
A child in need of care and protection may be produced before the committee by any police officer, or special juvenile police unit, or a designated police officer, any public servant, CHILDLINE or by any voluntary organisation recognized by the State Government, any social worker, public citizen or by the child himself/herself.
Thus, the Act mandates Police Officers and especially Juvenile Welfare Officers constituted under the Special Juvenile Police Unit to produce every children in need of care and protection instead of Magistrate or so.
Allahabad is prone to sex trafficking due to the existence of red light district- Mirganj. It leads to operation of trafficking agents in the source, transit and destination places. It’s an organized crime where the trafficking agents traffic children and women from vulnerable places/states and force them into the sex trade.
In order to combat the crime, awareness and sensitivity among the Police is very necessary. Police should investigate the cases strongly specially cases under ITPA.
Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 should be used in case of children rescued from red light areas or if the child informs about being sexually exploited.
Case of bonded labour or forced labour should also be given importance as much as sex trafficking.
There are many acts which defines the age of a child as 14 or 16 or 18 years. This creates lots of confusion among the Police force as to which is the actual as of a child as per law. The query was resolved stating that the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000 is the supreme law for children and as per the law a child is one who is below the age of 18 years.
FIR could be lodged at the destination state too even if the victim belongs to another state depending on the nature of offence and crime. Inter State coordination between Police is very necessary so that immediate information regarding rescue/raid/arrest is communicated to the Police of the source state.
Role of NGOs and CHILDLINE is similarly important as it is also one of the most important stakeholder to provide assistance to victims. NGOs and CHILDLINE could assist Police right from receiving information about the whereabouts of the victim to conducting raids and rescue, providing shelter, tracing the family back in the source state and facilitating his/her for rehabilitation at the native place.
Integrated Child Protection Scheme under the Department of Women and Child Development, Govt. of India which is a centrally sponsored scheme aimed at building a protective environment for children in difficult circumstances, as well as other vulnerable children, through Government-Civil Society Partnership. It is responsible to institutionalize essential services and strengthen structures, enhance capacities at all levels, create database and knowledge base for child protection services, strengthen child protection at family and community level, ensure appropriate inter-sectoral response at all levels.
Human Trafficking is an organized crime. Knowledge on Section 370 should be shared throughout all the Police Station in the zone for proper implementation of the law.
Registration of FIR is compulsory as per the order of Supreme Court in cases of Missing Children.
Collaboration with the Railway Protection Force and the Government Railway Police is very much needed to keep a vigil at the railway stations to prevent trafficking of children and women.
Police Department/AHTU, Child Welfare Committees, Juvenile Justice Boards, District Child Protection Officers, CHILDLINE, RPF/GRP, NGOs need to be brought together in a common platform by organizing meetings/training for effective partnership and convergence and also for effective coordination amongst the stakeholders.
Time to time advocacy at the railway stations in Allahabad should be conducted with the stakeholders such as Station, Manager, More information on the functioning of the Integrated Child Protection Scheme should be provided to the Police Department for better utilization of resources allotted under the scheme.
Continuous display of important contact numbers of designated officers of RPF/GRP, CHILDLINE, NGO and helpline numbers if any, at the platforms of the railway Station. Close vigil to be maintained at the major railway stations to prevent trafficking. Time to time announcements are also to be made at the railway stations to make passengers cautious about trafficking agents operating at the railway stations as well as on Missing Children.
Government should come up with a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) with proper codification of roles and functions for all the stakeholders.
More Training and Sensitization programmes for Police Department on Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection) Act, 2000 and Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 for its better implementation.
Establish inter-state Police networking for proper investigation of cases under Immoral Traffic Prevention Act and also Section 370.
Proper functioning of CHILDLINE should be encouraged and a strong synergy between CHILDLINE and Police should be established to assist cases of children.
All the police station should be provided with various advisories, Court orders issued by the Supreme Court of India and the Central government on various issues related to Missing Children and Crime against children and women.
Information along with contact details regarding Child Welfare Committees , Juvenile Justice Board, shelter Homes/Correction Homes/Observation Homes functioning in the Allahabad zone should be shared with the District Police of the zone.