EMPOWER PEOPLE Blog
In contemporary times, trafficking of women for commercial sexual exploitation has emerged as one of the crucial issues of global concern. The Indian subcontinent, which is intrinsically connected to the dreadful world of trafficking, is witnessing an indigenous process of trafficking network in the country where women viewed as ‘prospective brides’ are trafficked within and across its borders in the name of ‘marriage’ which actually ends up in sexual slavery and bonded labor for them, not just a single time but as many times as they are re-trafficked as brides.
Trafficking today is dealt by different mechanism by the law enforcing body, but in spite of heightened effort, trafficking shows no sign of abating….The question here arises is why???
The answer of the question lies in the question itself. In the cases of bride trafficking a different subtle modus operandi is adopted which is quite suitable according to the social norm of the society where it is taking place (destination states like Haryana , Punjab and some of the places in western UP).
If we are to fight bride trafficking we need a comprehensive and coordinated approach, globally and locally. We need a response that creates partnerships to support criminal justice, victim assistance and protection, human rights, migration policy and labour market regulation".
Before preventing it when the crime took place, the correction of root problems lies in the society where we need to apply gender based approach to the issue of human trafficking done under the guise of marriage. How a society confronts the issue of violence against women goes to the heart as how women experience security. The UN Declaration  in its preamble clearly states that violence against women is the product of unequal power relations that characterizes gender relation in all part of the world. This exactly means that violence against women is the clear proof of the fact that the society and the people the women lives, treat them unequal or not at par with the other gender. The normalisation of this inequality gets amalgamated in such a manner that people does not view many cases of violence against women as wrong and if gets mixed under the realm of marriage as in the cases of bride trafficking, it gets nearly impossible to be interlude in its initiation.
Failure of law is very important to note that, it has always answered the consequence of the inequality and not inequality as such. For example we have many customary and religious practices which is inherently patriarch, unjust and not in line with basic principle of equality enshrined in our constitution. The customary practice of kanyadan, caste endogamy, hypergamy, gotra exogamy, male last rites, son preference due to religious requirement, so on and so forth are many of such practices which prima faciely treats women unequal, henceforth are important contributor towards gendered violence which include the cases of bride trafficking.
Therefore a gender based analysis is required to understand the interplay of different forces from social, economic, political, at micro and macro level which make women more vulnerable to being trafficked than men. The other factors such as unequal economic development, mass unemployment, poverty, inequality, discrimination, gender based violence, patriarchal structure of the society are the primary root causes of bride trafficking where the solution lies.
To break all these chain of factors, we need to raise our voice to spread a social awareness amongst the people which essentialy need support of all socially responsible people. This patriarchal control over women’s education, employment and various choices need to be challenged. These social norm where crime is not taken as crime is inevitably serious to think upon. Imagine, where female feticide, infanticide, bride trafficking is taken as norm what must be the thought process of people suffering with. These are intrinsically related factor which is making a fertile ground for sexual and labour exploitation of women under the guise of marriage. The veil of marriage where these people are protecting themselves need to be checked. The Victorian principle of free sex(without consent) in the realm of marriage where women has no say must be challenged. We need to criminalize the purchase of women as a commodity who are procured by different names. Concrete criminal justice mechanism is required which includes active participation of all the stakeholders from common man to panchayat, gram sabhas, police, ngos. Self help groups, socially active people, lawyers, judges etc. These problem can never be solved till the time we join our hand and rise against all illogical irrational and incorrect acts going on around us. The social biasness, the gender discrimination must be challenged, if not that could lead to a social catastrophe with very ugly consequences. So there is urgent need of participation to raise and stand together against this organized social menace called bride trafficking.
PHD RESEARCH SCHOLAR
FACULTY OF LAW
UNIVERSITY OF DELHI