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.
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.”
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.
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