A group in India is set to build the country’s first online database of human trafficking cases to track trends, cases and areas of the crime.
Human trafficking is an issue in India that is yet to be tackled in addition to cross border trafficking across various neighbouring countries. However, as a source, destination as well as a point of transit for adults and children, India is increasingly becoming a hotspot. Though there are laws in the country addressing the problem, groups and activists report that not enough is done to implement these laws and the nexus of traffickers with local authorities is strong, as India has been reported as the country with the most number of people living as modern slaves in the world. However, there are numerous organisations that are taking efforts in the country to crack down on human trafficking, by making changes in access and storage of information on criminals.
Shakti Vahini, an anti-trafficking organisation based in the national capital city of New Delhi, which works in coordination with law enforcement agencies such as Anti Human Trafficking Units (AHTU), has been reported as building India’s first online database of human trafficking cases. With this database, the organisation is hoping to address the massive information gap that currently exists in the country and come to aid of enforcers.
“This is important as it comes at a time when the government is framing new legislation on human trafficking and there is a lot of conversation about tackling the crime,” said Ravi Kant, founder of anti-trafficking charity Shakti Vahini.
With presence in crucial states that are sources and spots for trafficking, such as Bihar, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, the organisation hopes to bring a change in the status quo with this first of its kind digitisation initiative. The organisation has aid from the Texas Christian University (TCU) for the technology to be used, and its political science department will help along with a team of researchers to go over hundreds of records from more than 600 district courts for trafficking cases to log them. This is to help identify patterns, trends and thereby find future solutions.
Need for intervention
Human trafficking for purposes of forced labour and more commonly sexual exploitation is an issue that cannot be taken lightly, whether in India or globally. According to the Global Slavery Index, 2016, by the Walk Free Foundation, 46 million people are enslaved worldwide, with more than 18 million of them living in India. Government data shows that in 2016, there has been a rise of 25 pc in terms of victims of human trafficking who are women and children.
With these large numbers in hand, steps towards addressing the growing problem must be taken. Even though India has a number of laws addressing the specific phenomenon of trafficking, including bilateral treaties with Bangladesh to keep a check on cross border trafficking, the efforts need to be taken to convert human trafficking an international burning issue, South Asia and other parts of the continent being the most troubled zone as case studies.