Shakti Vahini Major Hub for Assisting Police Intervention in NCR Region:
The strong advocacy of the projects with the local police and the police from different states makes Shakti Vahini a hub for assistance in Police Interventions. The training provided by Shakti Vahini to the police personnel of various hierarchy starting from State level training of senior officials to cutting edge level training of policemen has created a very strong sensitization about the human trafficking issues among the police personnels. Our proactive network with the police in NCR regions helps the police from other states to conduct raids and rescue with the help of the project. We are in a better position to link the states police with the local police and hence help the raid team in rescuing the victims and also arresting the accused. Shakti Vahini has been getting frequent calls from the AHTUs, CID and the respective police stations for our assistance in the raid in NCR regions and also in some parts of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. Sometimes police from other states face language problem in North India. In Shakti Vahini we have counsellors who can speak other languages too and hence the Project is of much help of the police personnel from other states.
Whenever any team comes to Delhi for raid and rescue Shakti Vahini Anti Trafficking Initiative team facilitate and accompany them throughout the operation. The project staffs facilitate them in legal support also like producing the accused to the court and getting the transit remand and production of the minor victims before the Child Welfare Committee, a bench of Magistrates.
After getting the information from the law enforcement agencies of the source area Shakti Vahini response team does the recce of the spot and tries to find out more information about the victims and accused. The preliminary work is done by the project staffs. Sometimes we also do decoy operation with the help of the police. After getting all the preliminary investigation done when the concerned AHTU or police arrives in Delhi we do the legal procedure with the involvement of the local police and conducts joint raids. In many cases Shakti Vahini gets written request from Law Enforcement agencies or NGOs of the source area for rescuing the victims. In such circumstances Shakti Vahini with the help of the local police or Crime Branch conduct the rescue and provide shelter to the victim. If the accused is found he/she is also arrested by the local police. In the mean time the police in the source areas are informed and they come with their team and take the victim as well the accused after completing all the legal procedure. It has led to a system facilitating inter state police cooperation police of the source as well as destination.
Intervention between Delhi and Haryana and involvement of AHTU:
Due to the skewed sex ratio in Haryana the state is very prone to trafficking of young girls for forced marriages. Also the problem of bonded labour and child labour is also present. There are number of cases reported about the girls being trafficked from Assam and West Bengal and were sold by the traffickers in Haryana villages for forced marriage. As the Shakti Vahini Anti Trafficking Initiative covers eight districts of Haryana the project has developed a very strong network of law enforcement agencies and civil society groups in Haryana . The AHTU of Delhi has been involved because Delhi is the transit points through which the victims are being transferred to Haryana towns. The project did advocacy with the police chiefs and Deputy Commissioners in the districts. Since Shakti Vahini has been doing training in the District and as well as Police Academy a very wide network of sensitized policemen have been created which is of very important networking support. The issue of human trafficking has got more attention from the administrative part and a very responsive partnership has been created with Shakti Vahini.
In a recent case of a minor girl trafficking case by a Border Security Personal working in Mizoram and sold the girl in Haryana, Mr. Joseph Lalchhuana, the Superintendent of Police, CID Crime, Nodal Officer Anti Human Trafficking Unit requested Shakti Vahini for its assistance in rescuing the girl. Shakti Vahini contacted the Haryana AHTU nodal officer and with his help contacted with the concerned Superintendent of Police, Jind. A raid team was formed by Mizoram Police, Haryana Police, Shakti Vahini and a Mizoram based NGO CHAN NGO. In the 50 hours marathon raid the victim was rescued and six traffickers were arrested. One of the traffickers were arrested from Rajasthan. On 6th June, 2011 Satyawan, BSF personnel of SHQ, Aizawl, Mizoram dispatched Sonia to his home village Rotwal, Alwar District, Rajasthan via Guwahati (Assam). He handed her Rs. 3,000/- (Rupees three thousand) only for her journey expenses. The girl arrived New Delhi Railway Station and was received by Raju Yadav who is a brother of Satyawan Yadav. Raju in connivance with other accomplices sold the victim for sexual exploitation at Rs. 90,000/- (Rupees ninety thousand) only. Satyawan who availed leave also reached his home village Rotwal. He was paid Rs. 50,000/- (Rupees fifty thousand) only out of the sale of the girl. The girl was rescued and sent back to her home state with the state police. The seven accused were arrested and the Mizoram Police took them to Mizoram as per the order of the district magistrate.
Monitoring and Implementation of Various Laws on Human Trafficking and Forced Labour:
One of the important components of the project is to ensure that the statutory agencies mandated by the law are working properly. These bodies may include the Juvenile Police Officer, The Child Welfare Committees, The Bonded Labour Monitoring committee in the district level, the Child Labour Cell of the Labour department, The District Child Protection Units, the Advisory Board of Social Workers under Immoral Traffic Prevention Act etc Shakti Vahini Anti Trafficking Initiative has done very strong advocacy with these units so that at the time of need they function very proactively.
As an anti trafficking NGO Shakti Vahini’s main focus is prosecution of the accused/ traffickers. Whenever any rescue takes place we do advocacy with the police personals to file an FIR (First Information Report). Once the FIR is filed it goes to the court and prosecution starts. The continuous advocacy with the police sensitized them to add all the probable sections of the concerned Act in the FIR. The project has provided legal support to 137 victims till February 2012. The Law Officers working in the project provide legal help to the police personals. The Law Officers from Shakti Vahini also attend the hearing and explain the importance of the acts used in the particular cases. Our Law Officers always keep in touch with Investigating officers as well as public prosecutors and sensitise them of the need of putting up a strong case against traffickers. The police officers are regularly being guided by our team members for the proper implementation of the laws on human trafficking and forced labour. In some cases related to Child trafficking we do advocacy with the concerned Child Welfare Committee, the bench of magistrate for the legal investigation of the case. Most of the time the Chairperson of the Committee issues order to the concerned Investigating Officer for filing an FIR (if not earlier) and to do a thorough investigation of the case and submit a report before the committee.
Through our various training programmes the police officials are being counselled for the proper utilization of the Laws. The project has advocated with the police to add appropriate sections of the Bonded Labour Act which has stringent punishment as well as very strong component of victim support, whenever any child labourers rescue is done. Shakti Vahini also ensures that the law enforcement agencies are well aware of the recent court orders and guidelines issued by the High Courts and the Supreme Courts.
Collaboration with Labour Department for sealing of Child/Bonded Labour Premise and Release of certificates:
Shakti Vahini has been working in close partnership with the Labour Department and the district administration. Shakti Vahini is part of the district task force in all the district of NCR area. In case any child labour rescue the project is being called to be the part of the raid team. Shakti Vahini has conducted raids in the factories where child labourers were working. The raids were conducted jointly by the Labour Department and the Sub Divisional Magistrate. The Sub Divisional Magistrate is the competent authority to issue release certificates of bonded labourers on the basis of which the victims get Rs.20,000 compensation as per Bonded Labour (Abolition) Act. In last six months five premises where child labourers used to work in bonded condition were sealed after conducting a raid jointly by the police and Shakti Vahini. Shakti Vahini did advocacy with the Sub Divisional Magistrate and the Labour Department, Govt. of NCT of the concerned district and the premise were sealed and the each victim was given Rs.20000 compensation under Bonded Labour (Abolition) Act.
Training- State AHTU/ Child Rights (JAPU)/ District AHTU:
A sensitive and informed police force ensures better delivery of justice and better assistance to the victim. Shakti Vahini Anti Trafficking Initiative has been taking steps in this direction by training police officers at various levels. Shakti Vahini sensitizes police officers of the Anti Human Trafficking Units recently set up in Delhi on laws and issues related to human trafficking. These are three day extensive training cum workshop sessions where Shakti Vahini ensures that the police officers are informed of all the laws relating to human trafficking. Through movie screenings and case discussions they are made aware of the exploitation and are sensitized to give victim welfare a priority. Shakti Vahini also coordinated with various experts from the field to give lectures during these monthly three day sessions. That way the police are made aware of all the procedure and stakeholders involved in human trafficking cases.
Shakti Vahini has been appointed the Nodal NGO by the Special Police Unit for Women and Children, Nanakpura for two districts in Delhi, viz. New Delhi and East Delhi. Shakti Vahini has been assigned the responsibility to sensitize police officers at the police station level about the various laws related to children and guide the police officers in handling the children with care and affection, be it a Juvenile in Conflict with the Law or a Child in Need of Care and Protection. Shakti Vahini has been training officers at all the 22 police stations in the two districts. The training sessions at police stations are held on four days every week. The duration of these sessions is four hours. Police officers from the rank of Constable to Inspector attend these sessions. The police are sensitized about Juvenile Justice Act, Child Labour Act, Bonded Labour Act, Immoral Traffic Prevention Act and other laws related to children. The police officers are trained in handling children related cases, human trafficking cases. They are told about the rules laid down in dealing with such cases. Shakti Vahini also makes them aware of the various standing orders passed from time to time. They are also acquainted with all the latest court orders and various circulars issued. They are acquainted with the various agencies like the Juvenile Justice Boards, Child Welfare Committees, Social Workers in the area, Childline, Rape Crisis Cell, Shelter Homes in the locality during these sessions. They are provided with all the contact details of the concerned authorities to ensure better delivery of justice for children. A lot of stress in laid on discussing real cases and understanding the procedures to be followed. The police officers are encouraged to discuss their experiences in dealing with various cases. They are asked to put forward the problems they face in dealing with the cases. The sessions are made as interactive as possible.
Shakti Vahini Anti Trafficking Initiative has also been conducting district level training in 9 districts of Haryana. These efforts to sensitize police officers ensure better handling of cases by them and a better delivery of justice. Shakti Vahini is actively involved in training sessions held at the district level at the Delhi Police Academy & Haryana Police Academy.
Facilitating Rehabilitation and Repatriation:
Shakti Vahini Anti Trafficking Initiative works tirelessly works towards victim rehabilitation and repatriation. After a rescue, Shakti Vahini counsellors accompanies the police in the production of the children before the CWC and during their statements u/s 164 of the CrPC. Post rescue counselling is provided to the victims which really helps the victims to overcome the trauma and testify before the Magistrates. Shakti Vahini Anti Trafficking Initiative also volunteers in tracing the families of the children and home investigation and repatriation of the children. Shakti Vahini Anti Trafficking Initiative also provides the children and women basic legal advice after their rescue. For carrying out home investigations, the team has to continuously coordinate with the District level management in the source areas. Shakti Vahini contacts the District Magistrates, the District Social Welfare Officers to conduct home investigation studies. Many a times Shakti Vahini Anti Trafficking Initiative gets in touch with the Block Development Officers, the local police and various local NGOs about the home investigation. Shakti Vahini also writes to the Resident Commissioner to speed up the process. In cases of international trafficking cases, it seeks the help of various Embassies for international repatriations. The reports are sought as per the requirement of the CWCs at the earliest.
If the home investigation report suggests that the restoration of the child to the family would be in the best interest of the child, the child is restored to the family at the earliest. Shakti Vahini Anti Trafficking Initiative also provides monetary aid as well as residential support to the parents of those children who want to come to Delhi and take back their children. In other cases the children are sent back with the help of police and social welfare department officials.
If restoration to the family is not in the best interest of the child, Shakti Vahini Anti Trafficking Initiative contacts the respective Ministry of Women and Child Development, Social Welfare or local NGOs for long term shelter. Shakti Vahini Anti Trafficking Initiative also makes sure the rescued victims are given the required amount of compensation before they start a new life.
The Project team ensure that the cases are regularly followed up. Shakti Vahini Anti Trafficking Initiative maintains contact with the local NGOs involved who assist with this follow up. Letters are also regularly written to the CWCs to know the present status of various cases. Shakti Vahini tries it’s best to make sure that there is no delay in the rehabilitation and repatriation of the victim and the victim does not linger around in homes after rescue.
In cases where children and victims are sent back home the project ensures that the local NGOs and civil society groups are informed so that the victim has a support structure at their homes also.
Home Investigation- Networking with CWC at NCR Region and Also with CWC across source areas for victim protection:
Child Welfare Committee (CWC) is the most important stakeholder when it comes to decisions relating to care and protection of children. Shakti Vahini Anti Trafficking Initiative has always stressed on building and strengthening their network with the CWCs. In Delhi, Shakti Vahini is looking after the home investigations of children trafficked from states of Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Assam, Sikkim. For carrying out home investigations, the team has to continuously coordinate with the District level management in the source areas. Shakti Vahini Anti Trafficking Initiative contacts the District Magistrates, the District Social Welfare Officers to conduct home investigation studies. Many a times Shakti Vahini gets in touch with the Block Development Officers, the local police and various local NGOs about the home investigation. Shakti Vahini Anti Trafficking Initiative also writes to the Resident Commissioner to speed up the process. In cases of international trafficking cases, Shakti Vahini Anti Trafficking Initiative seeks the help of various Embassies. The reports are sought as per the requirement of the CWCs at the earliest. After the reports come in, they are submitted to the CWCs in Delhi with recommendations about the restoration of the child keeping in mind the best interest of the child. Accordingly the child is restored to the family. If restoration to the family is not in the best interest of the child, Shakti Vahini assists the CWC in figuring out a permanent shelter home for the child. Shakti Vahini Anti Trafficking Initiative also maintains contact with CWCs in the source areas to seek their assistance in restoration of the children. Shakti Vahini contacts the respective Ministry of Women and Child Development, Social Welfare or local NGOs for long term shelter. The whole network helps in the smooth movement of the victim from the state where he/she was rescued to the state of origin. In many cases, through home investigations there is added clarity about the trafficking of the child. In many cases after receiving home investigation reports CWCs have ordered for filing of FIRs against the traffickers. Home investigations also reveal if there has been a missing complaint for the child. The strong network that Shakti Vahini – Shakti Vahini Anti Trafficking Initiative has with the stakeholders enables Shakti Vahini to file cases against the traffickers and hence stop trafficking at the source point.
Working with the Railway Force and Government Railway Police:
Trafficking being an organized crime using railways and bus stands as its main transit point and transportation mode it is important to have a partnership with the RPF and GRP. Also, it is important to understand how authorities create strong vigil at the transit points. Shakti Vahini Anti Trafficking Initiative has been working in close coordination with the Railway Police Force and Government Railway Police. The wing of Delhi Police which handles Railways and Crimes has been advocated continuously for the smooth functioning of the police officials in the railway station. Shakti Vahini has been mandated by the Ministry of Railways, Government of India for providing Training to the Railway police in NCR and Kathihar Division which covers most of the Northern railways and the North East Frontier Railways. Shakti Vahini through its regular intervention in the railway stations has built rapport with the Railway Police and GRP. The sensitization level among the Railway police about the human trafficking issues has increased which is leading to proactive policing. With the railway police the project has intervened in many cases in the railway stations. Shakti Vahini has 4 Intervention centres and also outreach staff at all the major railway stations in Delhi and NCR. Shakti Vahini through its strong network comes to know about the trafficking cases and accordingly inform the railway police or the Government Railway Police and conducts raids and rescue the victims and also arrest the accused with help of the police. During such kind of raids Shakti Vahini also works in close coordination with the DCP, Railways and Crimes, Delhi Police.
Intervention Centres in Railway Stations and Bus Stands:
Four intervention centres one each in the G.B. Road (Red Light Area), Delhi, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Anand Vihar ISBT, Delhi. Besides intervention points at Kashmiri Gate ISBT, Delhi, New Delhi Railway Station,old Delhi Railway Station , Nizamuddin Station and Ghaziabad Railway station are actively working. As part of the work on the intervention centre the Project has been able to tie up with the Railway Police Force for Training and sensitization across the North East Frontier Railway and Northern Railway. The Project has been able to develop good partnership with various agencies Railway Police Force, Railway Authorities, Police Booth at Bus Terminus and railway stations which provide information of women in distress and children in need of care and protection. Cases related to Trafficking are supported by the Project and other cases related to Crime Against Women and Crime Against Children are passed over to other agencies like CHILDLINE and Women Helplines. The project has also built partnerships with the State Police in Bihar, Assam and West Bengal. The project has been getting cases through the intervention centres and the intervention points. These centers are playing active roles in information dissemination and rescue of victims. Some victims were rescued even before they were sold into prostitution in Delhi brothels. The coordinators in the intervention centres have build good rapport with the ground level stakeholders like shop owners, vendors supplying things to the brothels, some times some people visiting the brothels. From these stakeholders the project is getting valuable information regarding rescue and intervention. The coordinators at the intervention centres are also working closely with local police.
Promoting Exchange of information between NGOs for Rescue and Search:
The project is doing continuous advocacy with the NGO working in the source, transit as well as destination. In addition to this we conduct monthly meetings with the partners NGOs and discuss about various issues of human trafficking and the latest legal development. The project also inform the partner NGOs about the about different initiative taken by the Ministry of Women and Child Development and Ministry of Railways.
The project has developed 25 NGO partners in different part of the country. Most of these partnerships are being used for investigation of cases and home investigation reports. The partnerships also provide information on missing children and also support during the repatriation process. Due to the strong partnership with NGOs the project is now getting several calls for rescue of victims. These NGOs also help us in getting the home investigation of the survivors done which helps us in proper restoration of the victims. The project has handled 62 referred cases by different NGO partners. NGOs in the source areas provide us the information of any trafficking case through emails and calls and the project staffs in Delhi rescue the victim. The NGO partnership has become very helpful in getting the information and also to handle cases with the support of them.
Strengthening and Partnership with CHILDLINE network:
CHILDLINE, 1098 is a Ministry of Women and Child, Government of India initiative in partnership with NGOs, UNICEF and CHILDLINE India Foundation. It is a 24 hour free emergency phone outreach service for children in need of care and protection. This programme is linking state Governments, NGOs, bilateral /multilateral agencies and corporate sector. The project has done the advocacy with the CHILDLINE India Foundation and built partnership with the CHILDLINE Programme in Delhi, Haryana, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar. We involve the CHILDLINE personals to our monthly meeting. Besides, in the police training cum workshop programme the CHILDLINE is a important component of training curriculum. During the handling of some particular cases we collaborate with the CHILDLINE. After doing all the legal part done the victims are handed over to CHILDLINE for care and protection. Whenever we get any information about the rescue the rescue of a victim from out of our project area, we collaborate either with the local NGO or the CHILDLINE programme. The project staffs reach there and intervene with the help of local police and our partner NGO. Due to the strong partnership with the CHILDLINE programme in different states we are getting rescue calls and emails from them. The Jalpaiguri CHILDLINE has forwarded at least 10 cases to Shakti Vahini – Shakti Vahini Anti Trafficking Initiative and we successfully did the rescue operations with the help of the local police.
Media Collaboration for Advocacy:
The Project has done advocacy with the print as well as electronic media. Media has been playing a pivotal role in the public awareness about the human trafficking issues. The project organizes advocacy meeting, press conference and personal visit to the media houses and also talks about the burning issues like Human Trafficking and its ramifications with the media people. Issues on Human Trafficking and Child Labour are being covered be national as well as local media with the active advocacy of the Project. The Project also organized press conference in source as well as destination areas to highlight the issue of human trafficking. The news published in the vernacular language play an important role to make the rural people understand the issue of human trafficking. The leading national newspaper like “The Times of India” and “The Hindustan Times” and the Regional Newspapers “The Assam Tribune” gave prominent coverage to these issues because of the strong advocacy of the project. The national media are doing exclusive stories on Trafficking issues as an advocacy being done by Shakti Vahini. The project has also been emphasizing on the vernacular coverage. Hindi news papers are playing a pivotal role in sensitizing the people about the issue. The campaign “CYCLE TO LIBERATE CHILDHOOD” organized by Shakti Vahini to sensitize people on Child Trafficking for Labour got a huge media coverage. The programme was inaugurated by the Deputy Commissioner Gurgaon. As part of this event 12 cyclists cycled 320 kilo meters. Shakti Vahini has a Citizens E groups on Anti Trafficking. A total of 15000 people attached with Shakti Vahini’s anti trafficking initiative through face-book, orkut, blogs and website membership. Press conferences were also conducted to increase the awareness level of the people on human trafficking for sexual exploitation and child labour.
Profiling of Cases- Media Centre:
The project has been profiling all the cases of rescued victims in a professional manner. We are also keeping the updates of all the cases. The project has been maintaining all the case histories separately. The database we have prepared for the victims is of great help for the media to write authentic reports. The data have been maintained state wise, which gives a clear indication about the most prone states. In the database we are maintaining the name, father’s name, mother’s name, FIR detail, brief about the case and the present status of the victim. Till September, 2011 in a period of one and half year the project has rescued 227 victims from different states. Apart from rescue we are also maintaining a separate database for the case intervention. Shakti Vahini – Shakti Vahini Anti Trafficking Initiative Project office has been keeping a very strong vigil on the trafficking stories being covered by the media. In many of the case Shakti Vahini – Shakti Vahini Anti Trafficking Initiative has forwarded the reports to agencies like the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), National Commission for Women (NCW) , Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights , National Human Rights Commission etc.
Interaction with Statutory Agencies:
The project has built strong network with the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), Govt. of India, Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR), National Commission for Women (NCW), Delhi Commission for Women (DCW), Child Welfare Committees (CWC). The project has built good relationship with the Anti Human Trafficking Units in all the 12 districts in Delhi, Some districts in West Bengal, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. The project has referred 10 cases to different commissions for their intervention and also to provide justice to the victims. With the involvement of NCPCR, one victim got Rs.20000 as compensation under Bonded Labour Abolition Act and another got compensation for worst handling of juvenile cases by the concerned police. Shakti Vahini – Shakti Vahini Anti Trafficking Initiative works in close participation with the Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Delhi, National Human Rights Commission. Project staffs have been the part of four enquiry teams of National Commission for Women and National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
The traffickers arrested as a part of our raids have been profiled in a database. As Human Trafficking is an organized crime we are working continuously to establish link between the traffickers in source and destination. The profiling of traffickers helps us as well as the law enforcement agencies in further investigation. In some cases it was found that the same traffickers are wanted in 3/4 more cases. So, the profiling of traffickers is of great help. The project has a list of traffickers with their address and other details.
The project provides legal support to the victims by a group of lawyers. We also provide legal support to Law Enforcement Agencies. The project team appear and testify in the courts as witness on behalf of the victims and explains the situation to the honourable magistrate. In a case of rescue operation in the red light area the police neither produced the victims to the court nor to the Child Welfare Committee. The project staff met with the concerned police personnel and convinced him to produce the victims to the District Court. Shakti Vahini – Shakti Vahini Anti Trafficking Initiative also submitted a counselling report stating that the girls are the trafficked. Since their age was in question it was prayed to the honourable court for age verification test. Both the victims were sent to the shelter home so that victims could be sent to their respective states and offered rehabilitation. Andhra Pradesh has a detailed rehabilitation mechanism where the state government provides compensation and support to the trafficked victims. The police were ordered to get in touch with the state police in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and get a detailed report. On the basis of the prayer the honourable court ordered for a detailed investigation of the case. Shakti Vahini – Shakti Vahini Anti Trafficking Initiative has been providing legal support to trafficked victims and assisting the public prosecutors.
COLLABORATIVE CASE WORK MODEL
SHAKTI VAHINI investigators, lawyers and social workers intervene in individual cases of abuse in partnership with state and local authorities. By pushing individual cases of abuse through the justice system from the investigative stage to the prosecutorial stage, SHAKTI VAHINI determines the specific source of corruption, lack of resources, or lack of good will in the system denying victims the protection of their legal systems. In collaboration with local authorities, SHAKTI VAHINI addresses these specific points of brokenness to meet the urgent needs of victims of injustice. In all of its casework, SHAKTI VAHINI has a four-fold purpose:
1. Victim Relief
SHAKTI VAHINI’s first priority in its casework is immediate relief for the victim of the abuse being committed.
2. Perpetrator Accountability
SHAKTI VAHINI seeks to hold perpetrators accountable for their abuse in their local justice systems. Accountability changes the fear equation: When would-be perpetrators are rightly afraid of the consequences of their abuse, the vulnerable do not need to fear them.
3. Victim Aftercare
SHAKTI VAHINI aftercare staff and trusted local aftercare partners work to ensure that victims of oppression are equipped to rebuild their lives and respond to the complex emotional and physical needs that are often the result of abuse.
4. Structural Transformation
SHAKTI VAHINI seeks to prevent abuse from being committed against others at risk by strengthening the community factors and local judicial systems that will deter potential oppressors.
SHAKTI VAHINI CASE INTERVENTIONS ENSURES THE FOLLOWING FOR VICTIM SUPPORT AND PROTECTION
Whenever a trafficked child victim is produced before the Magistrate, s/he must first order an age test to be conducted under Section 17(2) of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 (ITPA). This is critical because very often the trafficked child may actually be below 18 years but is declared in the age determination report as above 18 years. An inaccurate age determination can make a crucial difference in the conduct of the proceedings and can result in a miscarriage of justice. According to the ITPA, trafficking of minors is a more heinous offence warranting more stringent punishment against the trafficker as per Sections 4(1), 5(1), 6(2), 6(2A), and 7(1A). In cases, where the age determination test establishes that the victim is below 18 years of age, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000 (JJA) would automatically apply. Shakti Vahini – Shakti Vahini Anti Trafficking Initiative case interventions ensure that a medical examination has been conducted in order to check for sexual abuse and/or rape. It is also ensured that necessary counselling is provided to the victim minor and whether the parent/guardian is responsible for the trafficking of the child. Shakti Vahini case interventions ensures that custody of the child is not given to the parent/guardian without involving the probation officer. All process are carried out on the orders of the Child Welfare Committee. Shakti Vahini case interventions ensures that appropriate Sections of the IPC, ITPA and JJA against the trafficker have been stated in the charge-sheet and refer the matter to the Court of Sessions for trial. The evidence of the child is taken in-camera under Section 327 of the Cr.P.C. During the State consultations, the participants expressed that the Court should arrange for translators if the child is from another State and does not speak the local language. Shakti Vahini ensures that the Court has a child-friendly and supportive atmosphere while taking the child’s evidence. At the time of taking the child’s evidence Shakti Vahini – Shakti Vahini Anti Trafficking Initiative legal support team ensures to avoid the trafficker from looking at the child and thereby protect the child from getting intimidated or afraid during the submission of evidence. Only lady police in civil dress accompany the girl child to the Court.
New Jalpaiguri/Sikkim Initiative ( Source Area Networking ) :
With the intention to establish a link between the source and destination of Human Trafficking Shakti Vahini has expanded its outreach to New Jalpaiguri, West Bengal. The project felt the necessity of taking such initiative from its rescue and rehabilitation intervention. It was found that majority of the victims are coming from either Nepal or Sikkim via Jalpaiguri and other parts of Jalpaiguri. The area is covered by the international border Nepal. The state Sikkim is also attached with the Jalpaiguri border. Jalpaiguri and the area surrounding the Jalpaiguri district is highly prone to human trafficking. The children from these areas are being trafficked to the metro cities for domestic help through illegally running placement agencies. Shakti Vahini did advocacy with the State Government, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Child Welfare Committee, West Bengal Police, Railway Police for their active intervention on the issue. Shakti Vahini has built good partnership with the local NGOs like SPAR, Kanchanjungha Uddar Kendra etc. The local NGOs give information to the project people and we do the rescue operation. The project involves the District Magistrate for the Home Investigation Shakti Vahini is doing as per the recommendation of the Child Welfare Committee in different states including Jalpaiguri district. As a result of this the awareness level among the government officials about the human trafficking issue is increasing. On the basis of the Home Investigation report sent by the District Administration the children are being restored to their family. If the report says that the restoration will not be the best interest of the child then the victim is transferred to the Home state u/s 38 of Juvenile Justice (care and protection of Children) Act with the supervision of State Government. Shakti Vahini is also providing training to the Railway Police Force of the Kathihar Division as recommended by Ministry of Railways, Govt. of India. As a part of this programme we are providing training to the Railway Police of the New Jalpaiguri Railway Station as it falls under Kathihar Division. Overall, Shakti Vahini has been working in Jalpaiguri area with close coordination with the government and non-governmental organizations there. The Government of Sikkim invited Shakti Vahini – Shakti Vahini Anti Trafficking Initiative to attend the special programme on the occasion of the Independence Day and talk about the Human Trafficking issues. After the project two victims in Delhi who are belong to Sikkim and did advocacy with the Sikkim Government for their rehabilitation, the government of Sikkim agreed to work in partnership with Shakti Vahini on Human Trafficking issues.
Linking Source and Destination-Collaboration with Anti Human Trafficking Unit:
The project advocacy and the proactive steps taken by the Ministry of Home Affairs , Government of India convinced the state Police to establish Anti Human Trafficking Units in the districts. The Shakti Vahini Anti Trafficking Initiative has done advocacy with the Anti Human Trafficking Units of Assam, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. The initiative was taken by the project for the proper handling of human trafficking cases by the respective AHTUs and also to give justice to the victims. The partnership with the AHTUs has built a very good link between the source and destination of human trafficking. This has been covered under the sub project component which includes source area networking. The project coordinates with the concerned AHTUs whenever it rescues any victims or for any other information on Human Trafficking. Regular work in coordination with the AHTUs has built a very good rapport between the project and the AHTUs.
Shakti Vahini Anti Trafficking Initiative is regularly being contacted by different AHTUs whenever they come to Delhi or adjoining area for any raid and rescue. The project has rescued at least 25 victims with the help of the Anti Human Trafficking Units of other states. It has established a very good link between the source and destination. The project is in regular contacts with AHTUs of Assam, West Bengal and Jharkhand. Whenever any trafficking case filed in their respective states they immediately contacts Shakti Vahini for immediate search of the victims in Delhi & National Capital Region of Delhi which is a major destination area and also start our investigation through different networks. In some of the cases we got information victims being brought by trains. Shakti Vahini Response team instantly forms a raid team and also inform the Delhi- AHTUs for conduction of raids. The project is now working in good coordination with the AHTUs, CID, Crime Branch and the local police of the source as well as destination. Thus the Project is providing the necessary logistics as well as expert support and also facilitating inter state police collaborations which is very crucial in breaking the organised crime of trafficking. Due to this Shakti Vahini has been able to ensure that the investigations in trafficking cases reach the source areas and source area traffickers are also caught.
CHILD TRAFFICKING – DELHI
PLACEMENT AGENCIES – EXPLOITATION HUBS
RAPES IN INDIA – A GROWING CRIME