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Operation Storm Makers II

Context:

Interpol has spearheaded Operation Storm Makers II, a collaborative effort involving law enforcement from 27 countries across Asia and beyond. The operation aims to target and expose the intricate web of fraud schemes associated with human trafficking and migrant smuggling on a global scale.

Relevance:

GS II: Issues Related to Children

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Major Highlights of Operation Storm Makers II
  2. Status of Human Trafficking in India
  3. Major Causes and Impacts of Human Trafficking

Major Highlights of Operation Storm Makers II:

Apprehension of Suspects:

  • Operation led to the apprehension of 281 individuals in various countries.
  • Charges include human trafficking, passport forgery, corruption, telecommunications fraud, and sexual exploitation.

Rescue and Investigations:

  • Rescue of 149 human trafficking victims.
  • Initiation of over 360 investigations, with a significant number actively pursued by law enforcement agencies.

Landmark Case in India:

  • Telangana police registered one of the first cases in India related to human trafficking for the purpose of forcing victims into committing cyber fraud.

Exploitation and Ransom Incident:

  • An accountant was lured to a Southeast Asian country.
  • Forced to participate in online fraudulent schemes under inhumane conditions.
  • Secured release only after a ransom payment.

Status of Human Trafficking in India:

  • Definition: Human trafficking involves the illegal trade and exploitation of individuals, often for forced labor, sexual exploitation, or involuntary servitude.
  • Actions: It encompasses recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of individuals through threat, force, coercion, abduction, fraud, or deception for the purpose of exploitation.
Statistics:
  • Victim Identification: In 2022, India identified over 6,500 human trafficking victims, with 60% being women and girls, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
Constitutional & Legislative Provisions:

Constitutional Prohibition:

  • Article 23 of the Constitution prohibits human trafficking and begar (forced labor without payment).

Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 (ITPA):

  • Primary law preventing trafficking specifically for commercial sexual exploitation.

Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012:

  • Enacted to shield children from sexual abuse and exploitation.
  • Clearly defines various forms of sexual abuse, including penetrative and non-penetrative assaults and sexual harassment.

Other Specific Legislations:

  • Various laws targeting trafficking in women and children, such as the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, the Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994.
  • Sections in the Indian Penal Code, such as Sections 372 and 373, address the selling and buying of girls for prostitution.

State-Specific Legislation:

  • States have enacted specific laws, such as The Punjab Prevention of Human Smuggling Act, 2012, to address human trafficking at the state level.

Major Causes and Impacts of Human Trafficking:

Causes:
  • Poverty and Economic Disparities: Economic hardships make individuals vulnerable to promises of better opportunities exploited by traffickers.
  • Limited Education and Awareness: Lack of education and awareness about trafficking tactics leaves individuals susceptible to trafficking.
  • Conflict, Political Instability, and Natural Disasters: Environments affected by conflict, instability, or disasters create conditions conducive to exploitation.
  • Marginalized Groups: Social discrimination and lack of support structures make marginalized groups, including women, children, migrants, and minorities, more vulnerable.
  • Industries Seeking Low-Cost Labor: Industries ignoring exploitative practices perpetuate trafficking for labor exploitation.
  • Technological Advancements: Online recruitment facilitated by technology enables traffickers to lure victims through various deceptive means.
Impacts:
  • Severe Psychological Trauma: Victims endure depression, anxiety, and a sense of betrayal, leading to long-term mental health issues.
  • Physical Abuse and Health Complications: Victims suffer physical abuse, neglect, and inadequate healthcare, resulting in various health complications and long-term injuries.
  • Loss of Autonomy and Basic Rights: Trafficked individuals lose autonomy, living in constant fear, subjected to control and exploitation.
  • Social Stigma and Ostracization: Survivors face social stigma, making reintegration into society challenging even after rescue.
  • Fueling a Global Criminal Network: Human trafficking contributes to a global criminal network, impacting social fabric, economies, and international relations, undermining global human rights efforts.

-Source: The Hindu


March 2024
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