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The University of Chicago today announced it will host a Conference titled Disrupting Traffic on the impact of anti-trafficking initiatives in India, on May 17-18, 2019 at the Center in Delhi. The conference aims to provide a forum for researchers, policy makers, heads of protection homes, human rights experts, activists, and those who have experienced rescue and rehabilitation interventions to share with each other their perspectives on the present use of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act (ITPA) and Sec 370 and 370A and together outline a way forward.

“The University of Chicago is pleased to host the Distrupting Traffick conference," said Dr. John Schneider, Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago and sponsor of the event. The Center has been an intellectual destination for collaboration with Indian universities, research institutes, and cultural organizations and a place to explore ideas across institutions and disciplines. “The conference is in line with that tradition and will serve as a focal point for engaging relevant stakeholders of anti-trafficking debate in India to come up with solutions,” said Schneider.

Recently, the Indian Parliament considered a new anti-trafficking bill that would expand the rescue mandate beyond the sale of sexual services to other situations as well. The primary objective of the Disrupting Traffick? Conference is to bridge divides between various stakeholders in the present system of rescue and rehabilitation by discussing available research on impacts of the raid-rescue-rehabilitate model drawn from across India. Women who have undergone rescue and rehabilitation will share their first-hand experiences of the interventions and NGO and shelter heads who are tasked with implementing anti-trafficking laws will share the challenges they face regarding the same. The participants will also evaluate viable policy alternatives within the framework of existing legal code.

“While the effort to rescue victims of trafficking through government intervention is clearly laudable,” said Devi, a member of the National Sex Workers Network, “research suggests that forced rescue and detention is detrimental to many sex workers’ well-being. I’m happy that we are given an opportunity through this conference to closely examine the current evidence and to reconsider solutions to the severe problems of human trafficking.”


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