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‘Education is key factor in curbing human trafficking’

Nagpur: The rate of convictions in human trafficking cases in India has increased but there is a huge 'data void' which means that many of these go unaccounted for. The data is based only on prosecution cases in courts but there are instances when the matter is not reported even to the police which creates the void, said Vanessa Bouche, an American academician-cum-human rights activist, on Tuesday.

The data various organizations have compiled all over the world is a huge underestimation mainly due to the apathetic approach of the people, Bouche said while delivering a lecture jointly organized by Matru Sewa Sangh Institute of Social Work (MSSISW) and United States Consulate General (USCG), Mumbai, at Bajaj Nagar. Boushe spoke to social work students on data compilation in trafficking cases with a view to strengthen the existing laws and encourage government participation in rehabilitation of victims.

Education is the most important factor which will help prevent human trafficking in the first place, said Bouche. "People need to know their basic rights as human beings which can only be possible through education. In India, continuing education of girls in schools should be the priority no matter how difficult it is," she added.

"Data collection of human trafficking is based on number of prosecution cases in judiciary. It is categorized into sex or labour trafficking, involving adults or minors, and also looks at the quantum of punishment awarded to the accused," said Bouche.

Bouche, an assistant professor of political science at Texas Christian University, USA, who has been working on data collection on human trafficking in various countries, said, "It is a global issue and there are numerous challenges in eradicating it."

Bouche said that in the US where prostitution is illegal, it is usually the person who is selling sex is charged. "This happens because there is a major problem of power and privilege. A majority of people who buy sex are wealthy with connections in the government. To show some legal action, girls who are compelled into flesh trade are charged with solicitation instead," she said.

Cultural affairs officer at USCG James Fennell said that the US government is in contact with the Indian government. "The US issues timely reports on human trafficking and shares them with the government of India. Recently, US secretary of state Rex Tillerson donated $25 million to the United Nations for prevention of slavery," he said.

Fonte: Times of India - 11/10/2017

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