The Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) of the United Nations has conveyed concerns to India over its failure to adhere to the human trafficking laws laid out by the global body.
In its communication, the OHCHR expressed concerns at the state’s failure to comply with the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Care and Rehabilitation) Bill 2021.
The law aims at preventing trafficking, assisting and protecting trafficked persons without discrimination, ensuring gender equality and promoting the rights of trafficked persons.
According to the complaints procedure of the organisation, the report would be published in the next session of the UN office.
It will also be highlighted during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) scheduled for July 2022 which will be discussed in the 54th Session of UNHRC.
The OHCHR stressed that trafficked persons should not be held in detention facilities or any other forms of custody under any circumstances and led to violation of the right to be free from arbitrary arrest and detention, protected under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
It also reminded the Indian government that Article 39 CRC provided that recovery and reintegration of child should take place in an environment, which fostered the health, self-respect and dignity of the child victim.
According to the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), “Children should not be deprived of their liberty and that detention cannot be justified solely on the basis of the child being unaccompanied or separated, or on their migratory or residence status or lack thereof”.
Moreover, the US State Department in its ‘2021 Trafficking in Persons Report: India’ highlighted that the Indian government did not meet universal standards to curb human trafficking in different forms.
“The government achieved fewer convictions, and the acquittal rate for traffickers remained high at 73 per cent. Official complicity in trafficking remained a concern; the government did not report any prosecutions or convictions,” it noted.
“Although law enforcement increased victim identifications, they identified disproportionately few victims compared with the scope of the problem, with some organisations estimating 8 million trafficking victims in India,” it further observed.
The state department said efforts to audit government-run or -funded shelters remained inadequate, and significant shortcomings in protections for victims, especially children, remain unaddressed.
“Many victims waited years to receive central-government mandated compensation, and often state and district legal offices did not proactively request the compensation or assist victims in filing applications. Some foreign trafficking victims remained in state-run shelters for years due to lengthy or non-existent repatriation processes,” it highlighted.