HC directives for handling immoral trafficking victims sensitively

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Chennai, Apr 10 (UNI) Madras High Court has directed the Tamil Nadu police involved in anti-trafficking operation to be sensitised on various aspects of the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, particularly with regard to rescue of victims, and to intensify the statewide rescue and rehabilitation programme for them.

Disposing of a public interest litigation, the first bench, comprising Chief Justice A P Shah and Ms Justice Prabha Sridevan, gave several directions to the state government to rehabilitate the victims of immoral trafficking.

The bench directed the police to conduct search and rescue operations for sex workers by involving women's organisations, wherever possible, and produce the rescued victims before the Magistrate immediately. The victim should be taken to the police station, a list containing her personal belongings should be prepared and the same should be producded before the Magistrate.

The Magistrate should pass an order for the safe custody of the victim in a Vigilance Home or Protective Home for an initial period, not exceeding 21 days.

''An expert committee, comprising psychiatrists, psychologist, social worker, counsellors, gynaecologists, de-addiction professionals and lawyers, should assess every victim and prepare a report. Based on the report, the victim's views and considering other legal aspects, the Magistrate should pass further orders under section 17(4) of the Act for shifting the victim to a rehabilitation home or hand her over to her legal guardian. In case of a minor girl, the Magistrate should pass an order, transferring her to the Child Welfare Committee or to a Children Home,'' the Bench observed.

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