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Underage Survivors of Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSEC) Battle a Long Winding, Tough Road to Justice

A recent Free A Girl – TISS report identifies top ‘procedural recommendations’ for positive outcomes in CSEC cases in India

Free A Girl, an international organisation dedicated to rescue young girls from forced prostitution, has commissioned an in-depth study and analysis in association with The Tata Institute of Social Sciences which reveals that CSEC cases in India have an alarmingly disproportionate and low rate of convictions. The report mentions Commercial Sexual Exploitation as the worst form of human slavery. It further attempts at sharing recommendations from important stakeholders within the system that can enable perpetrators criminally accountable for their actions, through a more effective justice process. This first-of-its-kind study is based on in-depth discussions with several stakeholders in the sector including victims and survivors.

(Photo: https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/729708/Free_A_Girl_TISS_Report_Infographic.jpg )

The research identifies the gaps in conviction, beginning with the survivor, and all others involved in the process of delivering justice – lawyers, NGOs that work with survivors, social activists and social workers. The report further reveals that the main targets of this organized crime are minors and young girls in particular. Traffickers are motivated by high profits and the low risks considering the abysmally low conviction rates. Additionally, various NGOs involved in the rescue and rehabilitation process face challenges finding committed lawyers at an affordable cost. 82% of the brothel owners admitted to selling girls younger than 16 years of age. Despite the magnitude of the problem, there were only 55 convictions that took place in 2015. These numbers emphasize the urgent need for the entire system to come together and fight the grave impunity surrounding this crime in India.

Commenting on the report Shikha Phillips, India Director, Free A Girl, said, “We, at Free A Girl, have been actively involved in creating awareness about the problem of CSEC; while mobilizing the support of the public to fight against this crime for sustainable change. This comprehensive focussed study discusses new strategies to ensure speedy and timely justice and systematically combat CSEC in India. We hope that the recommendations will help establish a robust, responsive and accountable institutional framework of prevention, protection and rehabilitation.”

Top Recommendations:

The report finally suggests a multi-disciplinary approach to improve coordination between the different stakeholders to develop partnership and mutual understanding between them for better outcomes and quicker accomplishments.

Link to download the report: Road to Justice: A Study by Free A Girl to Advance the cause of CSEC

About the study:

The study was conducted with respondents who have considerable experience in CSEC cases. The team organized interviews with survivors and those who play an important role in the process of delivering justice – lawyers, NGOs that work with survivors, social activists and social workers across Kolkata, Pune and Mumbai, from November 2017 to January 2018.

About Free A Girl:

Free A Girl is an organization fighting against human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children in India. Free A Girl believes that there is a need to change the conversation and mobilize the society to act so that child prostitution in India will become a problem of the past. Free A Girl focuses on creating awareness about the problem of child prostitution and the impunity of the offenders; while mobilizing the support of the public to fight against this crime for sustainable change. The organization has helped in the liberation of 4149 girls from brothels as well as supported their rehabilitation and reintegration into society. Free A Girl collaborates with Sanlaap, Freedom Firm, Transforming Lives Foundation, Odanadi and Equal Community Foundation.

Appendix:
2015 Statistics on Cases Related to Child Trafficking:

   
                   Total number                                     Cases
    Cases sent for of cases for     Trials         Cases       Acquitted/
     trial in 2015        trial  completed      Convicted      Discharged  Cases pending
              1658         5003        384             55             329           4602

 

Case Pendency Percentage: 92%

Case Conviction Percentage: 14.3%

Table 1:2016 statistics on Human Trafficking and POCSO cases, 2016

   
                                        Charge-sheeted (i.e., legally
    Offence                    Arrested     proceeding with the case) Convicted Acquitted
    Human Trafficking (Section
    370, Indian Penal Code)     10, 815                          7292       159       753
    Protection of Children
    from Sexual Offences Act
    (POCSO)                      45,498                        40,379     2,888     1,499

 

Table 2: 2011 statistics on 5 years of Child Trafficking

   
    State       Cases Registered Cases Convicted Persons Arrested Persons Convicted
    Maharashtra               42               1              102                 1
    West Bengal              385              19              229                 9
    All India               1082              64             1419                87

 

Table 3: 2012 statistics on Child Trafficking Statistics of 2012

   
    State       Cases Registered Cases Convicted Persons Arrested Persons Convicted
    Maharashtra               37               0               79                 0
    West Bengal              440               2              288                 3
    All India                991              40              875                55

 

Table 4: 2013 statistics on Child Trafficking

   
    State       Cases Registered Cases Convicted Persons Arrested Persons Convicted
    Maharashtra               56               0               92                 0
    West Bengal              565               0              475                 0
    All India               1361              29             1267                52

 

Table 5: 2014statistics on Child Trafficking

   
    State        Cases Registered Cases Convicted Persons Arrested Persons Convicted
    Maharashtra                31               0               47                  0
    West Bengal               947               3             1103                  3
    All India                2204              34             2322                 38

 

Table 6: 2015 Stastics on Child Trafficking

   
    State        Cases Registered Cases Convicted Persons Arrested Persons Convicted
    Maharashtra                37               2               54                 2
    West Bengal              1119              16              721                25
    All India                3490              55             3078                95

 

 

SOURCE Free A Girl

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