Combating Human Trafficking: Gaps in Policy and Law by Dr Veerendra Mishra,
Secretary, Central Adoption Resource Authority, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India. Published by SAGE Publications/2015/308pages/ Hardback: Rs 995 (9789351502531).
The publishers and the author have granted Live Encounters special permission to reprint the Preface of this book. We thank Dr Veerendra Mishra and Smrithi Sudhakaran, Marketing Manager of SAGE for sharing this with our readers across the world.
In Live Encounters September 2013, we had interviewed Dr Mishra on the book: Human Trafficking – The Stakeholders’ Perspective, which he had edited when he was Assistant Inspector General of Police (CID), Madhya Pradesh, India. The book was also published by SAGE. You can read this exclusive interview here. The first book should be read along with the latest publication so as to understand the complexity and magnitude of human trafficking.
Dr Mishra says, “I personally feel that by generalizing the act of human trafficking as slavery, more harm is done than good. The less knowledgeable service providers and law enforcers have started measuring degree of exploitation against their perception of overt exploitation of slaves, which they have gained by reading history books, films or stories heard. This ultimately restricts them in understanding the subtle and hidden exploitative mechanisms involved in highly complicated present day human trafficking. Eventually, they fail to address the problem resulting in its growth.”
Give me few men and women who are pure and selfless and I shall shake the world.
Human trafficking is referred to differently in different regions of the globe. USA refers it as Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and European countries prefer to call it Trafficking in Human Beings (THB). The general term is human trafficking. This book is very flexible and has used the terms interchangeably. Interestingly, in Hindi (India), human trafficking is referred as manav durvyapar, which literally would mean “illegal trading of humans,” though this would not construe human trafficking as per definition because of ambiguity in purpose. However, this is the closest workable term in vogue, and to make it more specific, it would be better to qualify the purpose of illegal trade, that is, manav durvyapar, for exploitation.
This book deals with the legal, functional, and technical part of human trafficking. Human trafficking, as a subject of study, has evolved very recently or, to be honest, is still evolving. There are still gaps in under-standing of what action is construed as trafficking worldwide. Despite the fact that more than 13 years back, United Nations (UN) defined human trafficking in its Palermo Protocol, but still there are countries which have not framed laws to address it. Trafficking, per se, has not even found space in the law books of many countries. Even USA, which has been releasing TIP report for more than a decade now, ranking 184 nations, does not accept the UN definition in totality. In the definition given in Trafficking Victims Protection Act 2000, which has been reauthorized every three years, latest in 2013, talks merely about forced labor and sex trafficking, overlooking trafficking for organ transplant, which is mentioned in UN definition. There are many more dimensions of trafficking, which are not covered in UN definition; hence, this book has raised the issues of revisiting the definition. USA has found an easy way out by generalizing the term forced labor and claiming to encompass all other dimensions, which they fail to recognize or will be realized later. However, this book also mentions the practical risk involved in over generalization of terms.
To address the problem of human trafficking, it is necessary that we try to understand the various dimensions of trafficking. And each dimension has to be further classified to comprehend the basic difference, or else the strategy to counter trafficking, through legal or social means, will misfire. This book has tried to discuss in detail the possibly known dimensions with classifications.
A new addition to the most often discussed dimension is medical trafficking, which goes beyond trafficking for organ transplant, such as trafficking for surrogacy and clinical drug trials. Attempts have been made to specify dimensions, in contradiction to the popular US belief of considering all forms of trafficking under forced labor.
There are various perspectives on human trafficking as to whether to consider it as a legal problem or a social problem. Depending on perception of the policy makers, legislations are framed to address the problem. In the past, it was considered to be purely a law enforcement problem, but of late with the development of a concept of victim protection, there is a perceptible shift in approach, particularly among civil society organizations (CSOs) in Western countries. The book tries to analyze various perspectives and possible convergence for holistic address of the issue.
The book adds new perspective to the subject of trafficking by analyzing the gaps in social policies, which have resulted in continuous increase in human trafficking. The discussion ranges from understanding the criminal justice system, its merger with social justice system, and the new progressive shift in legislations in the form of socio-criminal acts. Brute Mute theory, developed over the concept of unheard stifled voices of vulnerable, who are supposed to be the main benefactors of any social policy but land up being victims of unfair social justice system, explains the practical gaps in framing and implementation of social policies and legal acts. A study of two communities, Bedia in India and the Native Americans in USA, reflects the above-mentioned gaps, enhancing their vulnerability.
Here, I would like to humbly submit that this is not a book on human trafficking laws. The reference of laws is a natural consequence of any discussion on human trafficking. As the title of the book suggests, this is a book on gaps in social policies and legal acts, which are the causes of perpetuation of human trafficking.
© Dr Veerendra Mishra/SAGE Publications
Dr Veerendra Mishra, Secretary, Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India
Veerendra Mishra is CEO/Secretary, Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India. Earlier, he was Assistant Inspector General (CID) with Madhya Pradesh Police. He was awarded the prestigious Hubert Humphrey Fellowship (under Fulbright Scholarship) on the subject of human trafficking during 2012–2013. He is international expert of Anti-Human Trafficking. Besides, he has extensively studied the workings of police—both local police bodies and international bodies such as the United Nations Police (UNPOL). He worked in three UN missions Areas—in Bosnia–Herzegovina, Kosovo, and East Timor.
Dr Mishra did his PhD on “Changing Image of Police: An Empirical Study” from Barkatullah University, Bhopal, in 2004. He has authored a book titled Community Policing: Misnomer or Fact (SAGE, 2011), edited another book, Human Trafficking: The Stakeholders’ Perspective (SAGE, 2013) and authored latest book Combating Human Trafficking: Gaps in policy and laws (SAGE, 2015) . He also writes fiction; he has written a short-story book (Cracking of Dawn-2009 Selective and Scientific Publication Delhi), and contributed stories in the Chicken Soup Soul series. He recently co-produced and co-directed a documentary film titled Do I Have a Choice, which is on the community-based sexual exploitation of Bedia community.
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