U.S. Department of State 2002 Trafficking in Persons Report - India

India (Tier 2)

India is a country of origin, transit and destination for trafficked persons. Internal trafficking of women and children for purposes of sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, bonded labor, and indentured servitude is widespread. In addition to being trafficked domestically, Indian women and children are trafficked to the Middle East and the West for purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Bangladeshi and Nepalese women and children are trafficked to India, and transit through India en route to Pakistan and the Middle East, for purposes of sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, and forced labor. Many of the children trafficked in or through India are less than eighteen years of age.

The Government of India does not yet fully comply with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however it is making significant efforts to do so. Investigations and prosecutions of traffickers are rare, but increasing. India has numerous federal laws criminalizing trafficking and child labor; however, there is a lack of laws establishing federal jurisdiction over inter-state crimes. Police efforts to investigate trafficking across state borders are further encumbered by a lack of coordination among state police departments. The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act (ITPA) prohibits trafficking in persons (including children), criminalizes sexual exploitation, and provides enhanced penalties for offences involving minors. During investigations, police frequently do not utilize all provisions of the ITPA and as a result may minimize potential criminal penalties against traffickers and brothel owners for exploiting minors. Although the government has successfully prosecuted and sentenced some traffickers and brothel owners to prison, severely backlogged courts and local corruption render most prosecutorial efforts ineffective. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) developed anti-trafficking manuals for use in training the judiciary, the police, and medical practitioners. There is evidence of low-level law enforcement involvement in facilitating the movement of trafficking victims and accepting bribes. The government does not adequately monitor its borders. The government has undertaken several initiatives to provide protection and services to victims, including supporting protective homes for custodial care, and providing education and vocational training to victims of trafficking and at-risk populations. The protective homes are frequently run with the assistance of NGOs. A new government program called "Swadahar" provides shelter and basic amenities to victims and at-risk women while providing vocational training. In terms of prevention, the government supports programs aimed at keeping children in school, promoting vocational training and literacy. The Central Social Welfare Board provides financial assistance to NGOs to run development and care centers for children of trafficking victims. The Department of Women and Child Development is responsible for implementing a plan of action developed in 1998 in consultation with NGOs and international organizations. In January, the government signed the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Convention on Prevention and Combating Trafficking in Women and Children for Prostitution.


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