The word trafficking means the movement of any human being from one place to another. When such movement is related to children and that too for an immoral purpose, we say it to be child trafficking a concept which can very well be visualised by any body. Office of Drugs Control and Crime Prevention of the United Nations defines child trafficking as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.”
It is clear from the above definition that when a child is subjected to exploitation either by force or coercion etc. by persons having authority over him is said to be trafficked. A similar definition has also been advanced by Netherlands Advisory Committee on Human Rights and Foreign Policy which says that “the traffic is person could be defined as transporting a person from one place to another in order to subject him or her to the actual and unlawful power of other persons by means of using violence or the threat of violence or by using a position of authority arising from a relationship or by misleading the other person.”
If we analyse the above views, one thing is clear that the children are being transported from one place to another even across the borders for illegal and immoral activities for monetary gains. Thus it can very well be deduced that these innocent victims are subject to sale and when it involves migration the issue is mainly the illegal migration. Although trafficking or sale is separated from migration, but there is a underlying connection between the two. In both the cases the children are subject to humiliation and exploitation mainly for sexual purpose.
Who are the traffickers?
It is astonishing to mention here that the persons who are closely connected and associated with these young children are the real traffickers and are responsible in helping the organisations involved in the process. It is also a fact that in most cases the parents and guardian of young children play a major role and there are also instances where fathers sexually abuse their daughter and force them into prostitution. As mentioned earlier India has become one of the safest places for the traffickers, as India is not only a receiving or sending country, but also a transit point. Demand for children is increasing in the big cities for all forms and purposes of trafficking and the network is so highly organised that they can reach the people through any means and convincingly achieve their goal. In this process, besides the family members and close relatives, members from the community like friends, teachers, local politicians, the pimps, the agents working in several areas, are also actively involved. Besides the traffickers who are operating in the society in the guise of social workers, certain travel agents, the brothel owners, medical professionals and certain government and private organisations are also working in an organised way in approaching persuading and luring the young children by giving them false promises.
Purposes of trafficking
After knowing the various compelling reasons of trafficking of young children, let us see for what purpose this trade is flourishing thereby taking new dimensions. It is a fact that trafficking takes place for various purposes and in different forms. But by analysing the above mentioned reasons one can say that besides the sexual exploitation, the children are also trafficked for some other illegal purposes. Sexual exploitation of children include forced prostitution, pornography and promotion of sex-tourism while the other illegal purpose include using those children for begging, organ trade, doing the business of drug peddling and smuggling through them as bonded labourers and using them in construction work and other formal and non formal working sectors and for the purposes of entertainment. Besides the children are also trafficked for the purposes of adoption and marriage and subsequently are engaged in some illegal activities.
In our country prostitution has become a trade while many women enter this profession willingly, some and most of them young children who are forced to enter into such avocations out of economic necessity and other causes. It is a fact that most of the child prostitutes come of India from across the border and many of them are in their teens. Although the modern life-style has changed the meaning of prostitution, but still many in their tender age become victims of the traffickers and are forced to satisfy the sexual needs of the people in brothels and other places.
The spread of electronic media and the advanced style of leaving and some perverse mind attract the young children to engage themselves in pornographic activities. Children from the poor families and the young and innocent mostly fall prey to some of the traffickers and become exploited.
In the last few decades there is substantial growth in the tourism sector and India is earning a major share of foreign exchange through the growth fo tourism. But while on the hand the tourism attracts a large number of tourist boasts the economy and help the trades of this country, on the other, it is responsible for the development of one ugly and illegal activity of using children as the sexual objects. The tourists, in order to satisfy their sexual needs use the children who are easily and cheaply available. In the recent past, the most important places of tourist interest in the country have contributed significantly in the commercial exploitation of children. The spread sex tourism also attracts another danger which is also raising alarmingly, the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Begging and organ trading
Besides the above mentioned means of sexual exploitation, the children who are trafficked are also used by the traffickers for the purpose of begging. The poor handicapped children and other vulnerable are used by the traffickers as beggars which they have started as a source of income. Even in many instances the children are deliberately gained by the traffickers so as increase the income potential of the child beggar.
In the recent past, there is another trade growing rampantly by the traffickers is the organ trading. The children are kidnapped and trafficked so as to meet the requirements of the organ transplantation or replacement for the persons who need it. In the process the traffickers earn a huge amount as the persons are ready to meet their demands thereby making this trade more lucrative. Doctors, social activists and so many people are involved in the process and despite stringent measures this business is growing alarmingly in big cities.
The smugglers and drug racketeers use the children for carrying on their trde as less risk is involved in suing them. So the traffickers encourage use of more and more children in this business by attracting and luring them with attractive gifts. In such situation it is natural that the children who are used as the medium of this trade become victims of drugs use and subsequently become addicts. Once they become addicted, they remain in the control of these traffickers and persons who are engaged in the business and force these children to act according to their directions.
Other forms of exploitation
The traffickers taking advantage of the situation also engage the children in construction activities, in agricultural sector, in some other formal and non formal sectors like hotels, small shops and commercial establishments. In some case these children are also used as bonded labourers and domestic labourers. Even the children are transported to some other places even beyond the country to meet the requirements of the labour market. There are also reports and guardians who are mainly responsible for such activities, as they either allow their children to do such activities or sale them to the traffickers for some financial gains and in all these it is the poor child who is left to be exploited including subject to torture and abuse.
Further there are also instances where children are used to entertain other putting their own life at risks. In this process the children learn some difficult activities and highly risk games and are forced to perform at public places, roads, circuses, and other areas to the satisfaction of all except their own.
Further, the children who are adopted in the name of the getting a better family virtually land in the hands of some export rackets who in the guise of inter country adoption, sale those children to the foreigners. There are a number of organisations which are working in this field are mostly involved in this business and without looking at the future of those children do not hesitate to hand over them to the foreigners. These children ultimately become the victim of such traffickers who exploit the poor and innocent people by attracting them to give their children for adoption with some lucrative incentives.
Besides adoption, trafficking also takes place in the same of marriage. Every year hundred of girls, mostly at their teens are trafficked from one place to another to be sold to aspiring of rooms. Even some Muslim girls are sold to rich people from Arabian countries as most of these girls hail from poor families who are unable to meet their marriage expenses. This exploitation is on the rise and it is become difficult for the law makers to check this as in most case the formalities required were maintained. In the recent past some of the Indians based in foreign countries come to India in search of brides and giving them false promises and assurances marry the innocent girls. After the marriage is over the girls were subject to many kinds of exploitation and humiliation. The traffickers in such cases also take the advantage of the economic need of these poor and innocent girls their parents and the victims who are trafficked from one state to another and even to another country without finding any other way are forced to act according to the desire of the traffickers and thus enter into some kind of illegal activities.
Thus, it is clear that trafficking of young children place for various purpose and has taken a sinister dimension. If we go on analysing the factors one thing is clear that it is the fate of young children which is at stake and in one form or other the children become the worst victims of trafficking.
Indian Penal Code, 1860
Section 361 of the Indian Penal Code provides, that “whoever takes or entices any person of unsound mind, out of the keeping of the lawful guardian of such minor or person of unsound from lawful guardianship.” The objective of this section is to protect the minor children from being seduced for improper purposes and also to protect the rights and privileges of guardians having the lawful charge or custody of their minor wards.
Section 366-A says that “whoever, by any means whatsoever, induces any minor girl under the age of sixteen years to go from any place or to do any act with intent that such girl may be, or knowing that it is likely that she will be, forced or seduced to illicit intercourse with another person shall also be liable to fine. “Thus inducing a minor girl to move from one place to another and intention or knowledge about illicit intercourse constitutes the essence of the offence.
Similarly, Section 366-B also provides that “whoever imports into India from any country outside India or from the State of Jammu and Kashmir, any girl under the age of 21 years with intent that she may be or knowing it to be likely that she will be, forced or seduced to illicit intercourse with another person shall be punishable with imprisonment upto 10 years and fine.”
Selling, letting to hire or disposing otherwise any person under the age of 18 years with intent or knowledge that such person shall at any age be employed or used for the purpose of prostitution or illicit intercourse with any person or for any unlawful and immoral purpose or used for any such purpose is an offence under Section 372 of the Penal Code.
Similarly buying, hiring or otherwise obtaining possession of any person under the age of 18 years with intent that such person shall be at any age of employed or used for the purpose of prostitution or illicit intercourse with any person or for any unlawful or immoral purpose, or knowing it to be likely that such person will at any age be employed or used for any purpose is also an offence under Section 373 of the Code.
Both the offences under Section 372 and 373 of Penal Code are punishable with imprisonment up to 10 years with fine. Both the giver and receive of the minor for immoral purposes are held to be guilty of the offence and thus are subject to punishment as per the provision of law.