IOM Launches SOP Manual for Indian Police Investigating Human Trafficking
IOM has launched a Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) manual for
Indian police officers investigating cases of human trafficking.
The manual is designed for district level police officers to help
them to conduct systematic investigations and provide witness
protection for victims.
IOM facilitated the development of the model SOP manual through
a series of consultations at state and national level, involving
law enforcement officials, prosecutors, government officials, civil
society organizations and international organizations.
Sound investigation is key to ensuring effective prosecutions
that result in the conviction of traffickers, according to Anju
Gupta, the senior Indian Police Service officer, Uttar Pradesh
cadre, who wrote the manual, which was commissioned by IOM.
The manual outlines the appropriate sequence of procedures, the
rights-based approach needed in investigating trafficking cases,
and the role of other stakeholders in the Indian legal context.
India experiences both internal and cross border trafficking for
commercial sexual exploitation and forced labour, but the scale of
the problem is difficult to estimate.
Speaking at the launch of the manual in New Delhi, IOM Regional
Representative for South Asia Rabab Fatima said that the complexity
of the trafficking problem called for "robust, but humane police
She called for an approach that "on the one hand protects
victims and prevents stigmatization and possible re-trafficking,
while on the other hand brings the trafficker to account through
Government Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Maken
launched the manual and said that India follows a policy of Zero
Tolerance against human trafficking in women and children for
sexual exploitation and has constitutional safeguards and
legislation against the crime.
Welcoming the manual, he said that "The Government of India
would like to make use of this piece of work to take forward its
counter-trafficking agenda for creating awareness among
stakeholders about the issues."
He listed as priorities building the capacity of law enforcement
agencies; improved reporting to identify the incidence and nature
of trafficking in India; and improved sharing of knowledge among
government agencies involved in areas including victim support,
rehabilitation and repatriation.
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