Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Cant tackle drug & human trafficking in one night !

By Amitabh Kumar - Head of Media Division (Centre for Social Research)
Last week Delhi has been discussing drugs and human trafficking, as a newly elected minister decided to be the 'Hero' for some of his voters.' Khirki' (means window) a typical lower middle class area of south Delhi has been in news, being branded as Delhi's 'red light 'district. If one was to go by the some of the news channels and political statements it would seem there is an underground tunnel from 'Africa' to 'khirki' and it only allows one way traffic for drug dealers and prostitutes. (Of course for a common Indian every dark foreigner is an African: 50 Cent, Michael Jordan, Oprah, Andrew Symonds, Usain Bolt, Sarena Williams … all Africans and we also believe its one country with different states like Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya)

Last week seemed all of Delhi's crime was being run by 'Africans', though in reality most of the drug and human trafficking in Delhi is done by Indians, yup home grown poverty prone desi boys and girls.

What Somnath Bharti and his crew did, was not only criminal/racists/vigilantism but out and out stupid. No one denies the fact that drugs are easily available in Khirki (just like they are in the rest of the National Capital Region and most major cities of the country) and surely there is a booming business of prostitution, just like in any other areas of Delhi. (O yes there is prostitution in Delhi! in every part of the city, from Vasant Kunj to Kashmere gate, you don't believe me, pick up any newspaper search for an escorts add, dial the number you shall be amazed!). Why won't it be, exchange for money for sexual services is legal in India and the some of the common people ' aam aadmi/aurat' enjoy drugs.

Being a lawyer Bharti should have known that his actions were only going to sabotage the case against the alleged drug traffickers and brothel owners. Apparently Bharti had evidence, the smart move (surely known to a lawyer) would have been to submit the evidence to the magistrate (in case he did not have faith in the Police, honestly not many of us do) and forced the police to take action which would lead to conviction.

The solution to drug and human trafficking is found more in policy than in policing. As these are social crimes they exist because the common people are the consumers. Plus I don't want state intervention in how I intoxicate myself, my poison is my business and I shall not let anyone be a part of this sacred space. Similarly for prostitution, Bharti and his troopers need to understand the only victims of human trafficking are the prostitutes, putting them behind bars or deporting them is not the solution. In fact there is not easy solution, the only way to tackle these issues is through awareness, informing people about the negative aspects of drugs the exploitation and injustice involved in human trafficking. Though that takes time, patience and persistence.

Considering our know how of drugs and human trafficking comes mostly from the media ( American shows like 'The Wire' and 'Breaking Bad' being our top informants ) it is very limited. I ask myself why isn't the government looking into creating awareness generation campaigns.

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