The Trafficking in Persons Report -2020 released by the US State Department last week draws attention to some important facts about human trafficking in India. According to the rating, India has been kept in the Tier-2 category this time, just like last year. The premise is that the government tried its best to eradicate this evil in 2019, but still the minimum standards related to stopping human trafficking could not be achieved.
Keep in mind, on the same scale of government efforts, the report has already put Pakistan in the Tier-2 watch list, bringing down one status, while China is further down in Tier-3. According to the report, the Chinese government is not even trying to eliminate this problem from its side.
However, the report about India says that it remains an important destination on the map of world human trafficking even today. Conversely, if we look at the statistics of the National Crime Records Bureau, the situation is constantly getting better.
According to the NCRB, in 2016, 5217 cases of human trafficking were registered under IPC in India. In 2017, this number was reduced to 2,854 and in the following year i.e. 2018, it came down to 1830.
The problem is that these figures do not reveal how this improvement is being achieved. Here we face the suspicion that there is no bitter reality behind it that due to some reasons the cases of human trafficking are only getting reduced. The circumstantial evidence reinforces this skepticism.
The mindset of the people of India and abroad has not changed. The conditions of labor exploitation and sexual exploitation remain as they are. Of course, a state government had shown a lot of agility last year in a famous case like the Muzaffarpur Shelter House scandal, but had no role in exposing the case.
The law-and-order activity in India for the exploitation of weaker sections is evident from the fact that since 1976, only about 3 lakh 13 thousand bonded laborers have been officially identified while voluntary organizations engaged in this work.
According to the number of victims of human trafficking in the country is at least 8 million, of which a large proportion of bonded laborers.
Another aspect of the case has emerged in the report that the police often initiate action against the victims by filing cases in which the traffickers force them to. On the one hand, it is less likely for the victims to come under the shelter of law and order, on the other hand, the screws of the traffickers are tightened.