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Swati Chauhan

India , Class of 2011

Swati Chauhan

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Magistrate Chauhan has worked through an incredible backlog of cases in administering the ITPA as part of Mumbai’s specialized court.

The Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act was first passed decades ago, but has been updated and is still the Act that is applicable to sex work and sex trafficking. In 2008, Mumbai set up a specialized court to deal exclusively with cases under the ITPA, because there was a backlog of almost 1,500 cases. Magistrate Chauhan was appointed to oversee that court. From 2008 to 2011, she diligently worked through that staggering caseload, clearing the backlog. She issued rehabilitation orders that helped over 1,200 rescued women and children. Recognizing the danger inherent in some of the ITPA’s anti-prostitution provisions, she made sure that victims of sex trafficking were not punished as if they were offenders. She would sit with victims and listen to their stories, and attempted to increase victim sensitivity in each stage of the proceedings. In 2009, she handed down convictions for 81 traffickers. In 2010, she handed down 164 convictions. She trained various police officials from all over India at the National Institute of Rural Developments in Hyderabad. Over 600 officers and officials attended her trainings on implementing the IPTA appropriately and effectively. She was nominated by the Government to represent India at the Asia-Pacific Conference on the Rule of Law in 2011. She is currently a judge appointed to Family Court in Mumbai, and does some work with cases involving beggars as well.

In the 2014 TIP Report, India was listed as a Tier 2 country. It is a source, destination, and transit country. Although there is some sex trafficking, bonded labor and forced labor constitute India’s greatest problem. Fueled by historic and cultural class divides, including the mistreatment of the scheduled castes, ninety percent of trafficking occurs within India’s borders.

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