Measures to Combat Human Trafficking: International & National Perspectives Seminar (Thrissur, Kerala, India)
International seminar on “Measures to Combat Human Trafficking: International and National Perspectives” at the Government Law College (Thrissur, Kerala).
National Human Rights Commission Chairman, Justice (retired) K.G. Balakrishnan, shed light at the alarmingly high and growing number of child labor and the number of women that are being exploited in the commercial sex sector (some estimates show that there are 3 million sex workers in India, other estimates point towards a much higher figure).
Addressing human trafficking in the country’s context, K.G. Balakrishnan commented that it is “a very terrible thing in India” and a “a serious problem which requires serious attention by the administrators, the law enforcement agencies, NGO’s and those who work for social justice and empowerment of, especially, women”, praising the work that some of the NGO’s are doing in the country.
Balakrishanan expanded: “Today the trafficking is known to take place not only for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor but also for organ trade and other new forms including sex tourism, trafficking for militancy, trafficking for surrogacy and so on”. In terms of specifics he shared, “according to the Ministry of Women and Child Development Gov. of India, there are 2.8 million persons subjected to trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation in India”. Aside from women being trafficked, girls ranging from “8 to 14 years [old]” are also being “subjected to sex trafficking in India”. He went on to add “India also has the highest number of child labor in the world with an estimate of 12.66 million children involved in hazardous work in several industries that come under the standards of human trafficking.”
Moreover, Balakrishnan noted that "trafficking across the border inside India continues to rise due to increased mobility and northern industries that use forced labor such as construction, textiles, manufacturing...horticulture..” among others. He also pointed out that "boys from Nepal and Bangladesh continue to be subjected to forced labor in coal mines in the state of Meghalaya”, where coal mining is not mechanized, so workers physically dig holes to get to the coal. “After digging for some period into the earth, it is difficult for a [tall] person to crawl inside; so they make use of children to crawl inside and take the coal… about 20,000 children are working in the coal mines in Meghalaya”. He noted the importance of working on this problem and especially on efforts to “prevent the children from being used for this work”.
In summary – he noted that although the UN is taking serious steps on this issue “the problem is only increasing”, thus he was “happy that Principal, Dr. Mercy Thekkekara, has addressed this very important subject which
requires some serious action so we can solve the problem and at least [be able] to rescue some children subjected to these [realities]”.