Terming human trafficking as “the greatest human tragedy”, Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra on Saturday said that the menace was on the rise and people involved in it considered human beings as commodity.
Justice Misra, addressing an ‘International Conference on Human Trafficking’ here, said the younger generation has to be the torchbearers against human trafficking.
“Human trafficking is the greatest human tragedy that has fallen up on us. It has to be avoided and the younger generation has to be the torchbearers against it. Human trafficking constitute a great menace to the present and the future generation,” he said.
He said slavery was the human trafficking of the past and it exists even today in a different manner.
“Slavery is human trafficking of the past which existed and exist in a different way today. The people who are involved in human trafficking, think that human beings are commodities. I would like to say the commoditisation of human beings have become an industry and this is a growing industry which is not visible. It’s a different kind of syndicate,” the CJI said.
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation in Law (SAARCLAW), along with Justice and Care, a multi-disciplinary organisation fighting human trafficking, organised the event and conducted a panel discussion on ‘Legal and Technological Perspectives for Solutions within South Asia’.
Nepal Supreme Court judge Justice Sapana Pradhan Malla, in her special address, said that technology has created market for human trafficking and made the victims more vulnerable.
“Technology has became a strong tool in the hands of perpetrators. It has made the victim more vulnerable, it is also creating market and is also exploiting victim and therefore we need to discuss on how to control and use technology to fight human trafficking.
“At the same time, technology has also created an opportunity to empower people and authorities,” Justice Pradhan Malla said.
She said cyber space is not the exclusive domain of the perpetrators but rather a powerful tool in the hands of authorities.
“Trafficking exist not because of a few thousand people commit it but because millions of people stay silent about it,” Acting Chief Justice of Delhi High Court Justice Gita Mittal, in her presidential address, said, adding that effective prosecution of the kingpins of human traffickers has to be undertaken so as to eradicate the network of organised crime.
She said trafficking is completely demand-driven and explained the need to emulate the Nordic model which criminalises customers of sex trafficking.
“When the customers of sex trafficking are criminalised, it drives down the demand. This hits the very root of trafficking operations,” Justice Mittal said.
Attorney General of India K K Venugopal, who also addressed the gathering, mentioned various statutes in the Indian legal system to curb the human trafficking.
He said boundaries which exist today do not stand in the way so far as the members of SAARC are concerned.
“We are hoping SAARC law as a catalyst in bringing together the citizens of SAARC countries as we are having a common heritage by culture and in some cases language,” he said.
The event saw the presence of various SAARC country judges who spoke on the need for solutions to the technological challenges faced by the law enforcement agencies in curbing human trafficking.
“The use of technology in human trafficking is not extensively documented. However, experimental and anecdotal evidence shows that internet and other digital technologies are being used for the same,” Adrian Philips, legal head at Justice and Care, said.