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SPEECH

A society that is unable to respect, protect and nurture its


women and children loses its moral moorings and runs
adrift.1
I am here to speak on various crimes against women and
children. But before anything else it is important to elaborate
what this crime against children and women constitute. Crime,
the intentional commission of an act usually deemed socially
harmful or dangerous and specifically defined, prohibited,
and punishable under criminal law. On a semantic or
psychological level the term Crime pertains to any injury
inflicted directly or indirectly causing physical or mental
infliction. Similar to what we understand of violence. Violence is
also known as abuse and includes any sort of physical aggression
or misbehavior. In broad terms, it includes threats, sexual abuse,
emotional abuse, controlling or domineering, intimidation,
stalking, passive/covert abuse and economic deprivation, rape,
abduction, kidnapping, murder etc.. When either of the two is
directed specifically against women or children in which only
these two members of our society are victimized, they are
termed as Crime against Women and Children.
Violence against women
In the ancient Indian women held a high place of respect in the
society as mentioned in Rigveda and other scriptures. Volumes
can be written about the status of our women and their heroic
deeds from the vedic period to the modern times. But later on,
because of social, political and economic changes, women lost

1 The Hindu- Opinion Sept, 15 2012

their status and were


Rabindranath Tagore said:

relegated

to

the

background.2

"0 Lord why you have not given woman the right to conquer her
destiny, why does she have to wait head bowed, By the Roadside,
waiting with tired patience, hoping for a miracle in the morrow?"
Violence against women is not a new phenomenon. Women have
bared the burns of domestic, public, physical as well as
emotional and mental violence against them, and it still
continues. The statistics of increasing violence against women is
shocking. As per the National Crime Records Bureau, Crime in
India Statistics during the year 2013, incidences of crime against
women all over India were 3,09,546 out of which only 3,00,357
were reported and only 24% of these constitute the conviction
rate.
Recently the brutal gang rape against 23 year student in Delhi
again sparked the debate on Indian mental set up and existing
law and order in the Country. Well, the present legislative system
has incorporated various legislations for safeguarding the
violence against women.
The principle of gender equality is enshrined in the Indian
Constitution in its Preamble, Fundamental Rights albeit Articles

2 Aruna Goel, Violence and Protective Measures for Women Development and
Empowerment, Deep &Deep Publications, New Delhi, 2004.

143, 154, 165, Fundamental Duties enshrined in Article 39(a) (d) 6


and Directive Principles as in Article 427. The Constitution not
only grants equality to women, but also empowers the State to
adopt measures of positive discrimination in favor of women for
counterbalancing the cumulative socio economic, education and
political disadvantages faced by the women. Within the
framework of a democratic polity, our laws, development policies,
Plans and programs have aimed at womens advancement in
different spheres. India has also ratified various international
conventions and human rights instruments committing to secure
equal rights of women.
The bedrock of our penal system, IPC, prescribes punishment for
rape (u/s 375, 376), Kidnapping and abduction (u/s 366, 372 and
373), Dowry death (u/s 304B and 498A), matrimonial offences
(u/s 493 to 498), molestation (u/s 354 and 354B) and importation
of girl (u/s 366B). Also, article 23 of the Constitution of India
prohibits traffic in human beings.
Even in this modern era, where women in India are given
freedom & right such as freedom of expression & equality as well
3 Article 14, confers on men and women equal rights and opportunities in political,
economic and social sphere.
4 Article 15, prohibits, discrimination against any citizen on grounds of religion,
race, caste, sex etc.
5 Article 16, provides for equality of opportunities matters relating to employment
or appointment to any office under the state.
6 Article 39(a) (d), mentions policy security of state equality for both men and
women the right to a means of livelihood and equal pay for equal work for both
men and women.
7 Article 42; Direct the State to make provision for ensuring just and humane conditions of
work and maternity relief.

as the right to be educated, various prestigious positions, some


problems such as dowry, domestic violence, sex selective
abortion, female infanticide are still prevalent.
In the simplest of words it is basically the creation of an
environment where women can make independent decisions on
their personal development as well as shine as equals in society.
This can only happen if there is a channelized route for the
empowerment of women.
Child Trafficking
Trafficking in general refers to the passage of goods and
commodities from one person to another for an equivalent
amount in goods or money. It also refers to buying and selling,
especially illicit trade. Today the scenario is such that there is
not only trafficking in goods and commodities but also in human
beings especially of children and women. Trafficking in children
has become a serious national and international concern. Under
international law, child trafficking is a crime involving the
movement of children for the purpose of their exploitation. 8
Child is a person who has not attained the age of 18 years. Any
child who is vulnerable to trafficking is considered a person in
need of care and protection under the Juvenile Justice (Care and
Protection of Children) Act, 2000(JJ Act).
Law enforcement agencies are duty bound to rescue such
children, produce them before the Child Welfare Committee and
extend all care and attention.
A detailed definition of trafficking is available in the Goa
Childrens Act, 2003. Though it is focused on child trafficking,
the definition is comprehensive. Under section 2 (z), child
8 The concept is defined in the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in
Persons, especially Women and Children, of 2000 known as the Trafficking Protocol. It
supplements the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

trafficking
means
the
procurement,
recruitment,
transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, legally
or illegally, within or across borders, by means of threat or use of
force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of
deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability
or of giving or receiving payments or benefits to achieve the
consent of a person having control over another person, for
monetary gain or otherwise.

SUPPLY FACTORS

Poverty
Female
Foeticide /
Infanticide
Child marriage
Natural Disasters

DEMAND FACTORS

Migration
Hope for jobs /
Reasons For
Child
Trafficking

(floods, cyclones

lack of awareness
Creation of need
and market by sex
traffickers for

marriage with false

experimental and

promises
Domestic servitude
Traditional /

tender sex.
Sex tourism
Internet

Religious
prostitution

labour
Enhanced
vulnerability due to

etc.)
Domestic violence
Unemployment
Lure of job /

(Devdasi)
Lack of

marriage
Demand for cheap

TRAFFICKIN
G

pornography
Organized crime
generating high
profits with low risk

The impact of trafficking on the individual, most importantly the


child is a largely neglected area. Trafficking has psychological,
physiological, emotional and other traumatic consequences.
However, the most alarming cause and consequence of
trafficking in children is that of HIV and AIDS.
In India over the last decade, the volume of trafficking has
increased. Though the exact numbers are not known, yet it is the
most lucrative criminal trades. India is a source, transit and
destination country for women and children trafficked for the
purpose of sexual exploitation. In India a large number of
children are trafficked not only for the purpose of sexual
exploitation but also for other forms of exploitation that includes
servitude of various kinds, such as, domestic labor, industrial
labor, agricultural labor, begging, organ trade and false
marriage.9
In 2005, a study was conducted by the National Human Rights
Commission (NHRC) they found that India was fast becoming a
source, transit point and destination for the trafficking of women
and children for sexual and non-sexual purposes.

9 Dr. P. M. Nair, Trafficking women and children for sexual exploitation,


handbook for law enforcement agencies in India. UNIFEM.

According to the statistics provided by National Crime Bureau


during the year 2013, 7199 cases of kidnapping and abduction
were qualified as form of trafficking and reported to the police.
IPC safeguards the trafficked victim against various wrongs and
violations. As a typical example, under the Indian Penal Code, a
trafficked girl child has been subjected to a multitude of
violations. She has been:
Displaced from her community, which tantamounts to
kidnapping/abduction (Sections 361, 362, 365, 366 IPC may
apply).
Procured illegally (S.366 A IPC).
Sold by somebody (S.372 IPC).
Bought by somebody (S.373 IPC).
Imported from a foreign country (if she hails from a foreign
country, or even from J & K State, and is under 21 years of
age S.366 B IPC).
Wrongfully restrained (S.339 IPC).
Wrongfully confined (S 340 IPC).
Physically tortured/injured (S.327, 329 IPC).
Subjected to criminal force (S. 350 IPC).
Mentally tortured/harassed/assaulted (S. 351 IPC).
Criminally intimidated (S.506 IPC).
Outraged of her modesty (S 354 IPC).
Raped/gang raped/repeatedly raped (S 375 IPC).
Subjected to perverse sexual exploitation (unnatural
offences) (S.377 IPC).
Defamed (S 499 IPC).
Subjected to unlawful compulsory labor (S.374 IPC).
Victim of criminal conspiracy (S 120 B IPC).
This list is only illustrative and not exhaustive. Undoubtedly, in
every case, the trafficked person is a victim of at least one or
more of the violations listed above.

The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act10, herein ITPA, also plays a


significant role in safeguarding children from trafficking.
Procuring, including or taking persons for prostitution;
Detaining a person in premises where prostitution is carried
on;
Prostitution is or visibility of public places;
Seducing or soliciting for prostitution;
Living on the earnings of prostitution;
Seduction of a person in custody; and
Keeping a brothel or allowing premises to be used as a
brothel.

Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986


Prohibits employment of children in certain specified occupations
and also lays down conditions of work of children.
Information Technology Act, 2000
Penalizes publication or transmission in electronic form of any
material which is lascivious or appeals to prurient interest or if
its effect is such as to tend to deprive and corrupt persons to
read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied therein. The
law has relevance to addressing the problem of pornography.
Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.
Enacted in consonance with the Convention on the Rights of
the Child (CRC); and
Consolidates and amends the law relating to juveniles in
conflict with law and to children in need of care and
protection.

10 1956

The law is especially relevant to children who are


vulnerable and are therefore likely to be inducted into
trafficking.
Awareness at the local level, in the community through
workshops, songs, drama, poems, meetings, leaflets and posters
especially in the rural areas is also required.
The role of gender in daily life and training programs and
activities for gender sensitization must be conducted by NGOs.
The government must launch media campaigns that promote
childrens right and elimination of exploitation and other forms of
child labour. Police advocacy is an important intervention that
has to be fine-tuned.
Only introducing various laws will not solve the problem, there
has to be proper implementation of the laws as well. Moreover,
the education of every child has to be made compulsory. There is
also the need for strict surveillance and constant follow ups to
check that no child is engaged in any sort of work whether
domestic or others. There is an urgent need for a global response
to this problem including structures for cooperation between
authorities and within and between countries. Though it seems
that human trafficking, especially those of children might
continue to exist, yet one must not discontinue the endeavour to
curb it.
Child Sex Ratio
Human population exhibits definitive characteristics in terms of
its sex composition. Sex ratio is a direct indicator of womens
status and welfare. India is one of the few countries in the world
where males outnumber females. The sex ratio of Indian
population in the century has shown a secular-declining trend.
The overall sex ratio the number of females per 1,000 males
is falling across the world. While the global sex ratio was 986

females per 1,000 males in 2010, it reduced to 984 in 2011.


India's child sex ratio (0-6 years) dipped to914, the worst since
the country's independence but the overall sex ratio of the
country has increased by 7 points from 933 (2001) to 940
(2011). The increase cannot be taken as growth because of the
dangerous imbalance in the 0-6category termed the feeder
category any improvement in the adult sex ratio could only be
temporary. The ratio at age group 0-6 is not only because of
female foeticide abortion affecting the sex ratio at birth but also
due to neglect of girl child leading to higher death mortality
rates among girls.
While there has been a modest reversal in the trend of declining
sex ratios over the past two decades, the latest census results of
2011 reveal an alarming drop in the child sex ratio to 914 girls
per 1,000 boys, from 927 girls per 1,000 boys in 2001.
The reasons as observed by various surveys are:
Strong Urge to have a son child A son is still the man who
will carry on the family name and take care of old parents.
Economic Considerations - Net wealth outflow on raising the
girl child and on her marriage is considered as a heavy
investment leading to loss. Also, despite the anti-dowry act, the
menace of dowry death has increased in many states. In this way,
a daughter becomes an unavoidable socio-economic burden.
Socio-Economic Activities Despite women marking their
achievements in various fields there lies a huge discrimination
leading to fall in the child sex ratio. A sons utility is reflected in
the economy of family labour provided by him on the farm or in
the family business, earning a wage and salary through mobility,
looking after old age parents and also attracting dowry. This
reveals that a son is a most valued asset to the family. Whereas,
girls are not given such opportunities to perform all these
activities, instead, a perception of economic liability is highly

attached with daughters. This has resulted in widespread


practices of sex selective abortion. To what extent women will
participate in the various economic activities is decided by the
hierarchical power structure, where man is the boss and decider.
In consideration of the same, the legislation has incorporated
various laws to overcome such issues. Apart from the main legal
Acts connected to female foeticide, legislations such as Dowry
Prohibition Act, 1961 and the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act,
2006 also seek to penalise the perpetrators of these social evil.
The Pre-conception and Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques
(Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994 bans the use of sexselection techniques before or after conception as well as the
misuse of pre-natal diagnostic techniques for sex-selective
abortions and to regulate such techniques.
Cognizable, non-bailable and non-compoundable are the offences
under the PNDT Act. Cognizable is offence, for which police may
arrest without a warrant. Under non-bailable offence, bail may
be granted only by competent court. Non-compoundable offence
is an offence in which, no settlement between the parties is
possible to drop the criminal proceedings.
As a part of the measures taken to change the mind set of
society, Government of India has been implementing on a pilot
basis Dhanalakshmi, scheme for incentivising birth of the girl
child and encouraging families to place a premium on her
education and development through Conditional Cash Transfer
schemes. The Government has also undertaken a number of
initiatives for socio-economic empowerment of women to help
them make informed decisions and for change of the mind sets.
Also, to create national awareness on issues relating to girl child,
in 2009, Ministry of Women and Child Development has declared
January 24 as the National Girl Child Day.

There has been a great deal of hue and cry over the declining
child sex ratio. The simple answer is that in our society, the
socioeconomic and cultural fundamentals have been always
against our female population. Now the time has come that the
state needs to facilitate a change in fundamentals, directing
programmes in the spirit that the woman brings human life up so
we all should bring her up. Actually too much legislations and
Acts are not needed, what is needed is to change social
behaviors.
Concluding Statement
The history of man is the history of crimes, and history can
repeat. So, information is a defence. Through this we can build,
we must build, a defence against repetition. - Simon Wiesenthal
Inspite various legal frameworks the crime and injustice towards
children and women continue their existence and are expanding
their roots in the society. Presently more acts or statues to curb
this scenario are not required. But the government has to convey
its intention to crack down on crimes against women and
children to its officials and the police. Also, it is the duty of every
citizen to spread legal awareness.