4 February 2013, New Delhi: Global March Against Child Labour lauds the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance 2013 promulgated by the President of India’s signature on 3 February 2013, that not only clearly defines and procedures to deter sexual crimes against women, but also in a landmark first step, includes trafficking in persons, trafficking for forced labour and employment of trafficked children (trafficked child labour) in the Indian Penal Code.
Trafficking in persons has for the first time been defined in the Indian criminal justice system. India ratified the United Nation’s Palermo Protocol in May 2011 following a Supreme Court directive in the case of Bachpan Bachao Andolan vs Union of India, and the definition included in Indian Penal Code new Section 370 is in sync with the international definition of trafficking, and makes it an offense that attracts imprisonment of at least seven years and up to life. Similarly, employing of a trafficked person in any form of labour and the employing of a trafficked child attracts rigourous imprisonment in the new law.
Kailash Satyarthi, Chairperson of Global March commending the inclusion of trafficking in persons and child labour said, “It is a remarkable first major step by India towards recognising the horrible crimes of trafficking in persons and slavery including child labour and forced labour. It is also a landmark victory for all anti-trafficking, anti-slavery and anti-child labour campaigners across India and the world. The ordinance showed the political will and urgency of the government, and now we must ensure that it passes through the Parliament.”
Justice Verma Committee was constituted to recommend amendments to the criminal law so as to provide for quicker trial and enhanced punishment for criminals accused of committing sexual assault against women. The Committee submitted its report on January 23, 2013.
It made recommendations on laws related to rape, sexual harassment, trafficking, child sexual abuse, medical examination of victims, police, electoral and educational reforms.
Global March submitted its suggestions to the Committee to include trafficking in persons, especially the sexual exploitation, along with a range of suggestions to deter sexual violence against women and children in India.
Satyarthi opined that, “Now, I am more optimistic than ever that the day is not far when violence against our precious children will be completely put to an end, and child labour would become history.”