Decriminalise victims of sex-trafficking: American activist

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Kolkata, Dec 17 (UNI) Former journalist and renowned American social activist Gloria Steinem today stressed on the government's role in decriminalisation of the victims of human trafficking and the need to criminalise and penalise the perpetrators.

Speaking at an open discussion on "How Women Confront the Demand for Human Trafficking: Insights into Slavery and Emancipation" at the Amercian Center here, Ms Steinem said the government needs to look into the details of various Acts and policies in human trafficking and women and child rights and define the parameters as to how far a victim is responsible for the situation.

She gave special emphasis to India, where prostitution is still accepted legally in certain areas.

Ms Steinem, who is also the founder of many feminist and women's rights NGOs, said a complete change is needed in the attitude of the people and the government bodies towards the victims of sex-trafficking.

Ruchira Gupta, Founder and President of Apne Aap Women Worldwide, spoke on the need to deter the growing demand in the world's third largest illegal trade - Human Trafficking. ''In countries like Sweden, this demand has been criminalised and we need to do the same in countries like Germany and India, where prostitution and other forms of women abuse is legally accepted in certain areas, so that the demand can be killed, yet the industry prevented from going underground.'' The world's largest illegal trade are Drugs and Arms Trafficking.

flesh trade comes third, according to a National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) report.

Ms Gupta said this demand is increasing day by day, because the middlemen and the "customers" keep increasing. ''Unless we can find a way to deter these elements, human trafficking will remain a fast growing trade,'' she said.

Citing an NHRC report, Ms Gupta said it had been found that those men who visit brothels at night were the ones who abused their wives or children by day.

While speaking on the legal steps taken to curb the demand, West Bengal Criminal Investigation Department Additional Director General of Police Bhupinder Singh said his department had taken a three-tier set of measures to contain the situation by sensitising police personnel, local and government bodies and NGOs to the problem, finding ways to rescue and rehabilitate the victims and conduct raids and special operations to nab the perpetrators.

UNI

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