New hope for human trafficking victims as Delhi High Court rides to the rescue

MAIL TODAY

At 19, when most girls of her age would be busy getting admission to colleges to begin a new chapter in their lives, she was being raped day and night.

article-2478505-190B835200000578-913_634x482Confined in a hellhole – a small cavity inside a wall in a nondescript part of the Capital’s brothel on G.B. Road – the 19-year-old, who was trafficked from West Bengal, was continuously gang-raped by more than a dozen men.

Thanks to the efforts of an NGO, the girl was rescued and reunited with her family in

While her ordeal had failed to move the Delhi Police – who initially, did not even see fit to register a gang-rape case – her plight somehow rocked the Delhi High Court and the state government out of their slumber.

The court, taking suo motu cognizance of media reports, directed the Delhi government to look into the plight of trafficked women.

Now the state government has come up with a detailed rehabilitation policy for victims of human trafficking.

In an affidavit submitted before the high court, the state has revealed its decision to introduce certain standards for the “safety and dignity of inmates” in state-run homes as well as those managed by the civil society.

The new model, based on one already in place in Andhra Pradesh following a SC order, for combating trafficking of women and children for commercial sexual exploitation, is being introduced after the High Court took a strong exception to the government’s failure to curb instances of trafficking and to rehabilitate the victims.

Indicting the Delhi government in September, the High Court had directed the state government to adopt minimum standards of care for victims of trafficking.

The new model, based on one already in place in Andhra Pradesh following a SC order, for combating trafficking of women and children for commercial sexual exploitation, is being introduced after the High Court took a strong exception to the government’s failure to curb instances of trafficking and to rehabilitate the victims.

Indicting the Delhi government in September, the High Court had directed the state government to adopt minimum standards of care for victims of trafficking.

In a welcome change, the new plan stresses on protection and social re-integration of victims with special care for their health, nutrition, provision life skills and care for their children, if any.

29Fir05revised.qxpTo begin with the government has decided to improve the current condition of shelter homes. From now on, all such shelters for rehabilitating trafficking victims will be located in residential areas to be integrated with local settings.

To ensure a conducive environment, the state has said that while these homes will have round-the-clock security arrangements, and will not be “custodial in nature.”

Special arrangements will also be made to provide for the care of inmates who are “ill, HIV positive, disabled or pregnant.”

The plan also prescribes set eligibility criteria for the staff at such homes. As per the new plan, all staff members will be recruited only after a screening process. The head of such homes will have to have a postgraduate degree and counsellors with masters degrees in social work and psychology, with special training on trauma care, will be recruited on a full-time basis.The inmates will also be given access to free legal aid services, education, and life skill classes, and their children will be provided with state-sponsored education.

The High Court is likely to take cognisance of the new plan on November 27 this year, the next date of hearing in the matter.

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