25 July 2018

[Links] Trafficking and Free Speech


The well-intentioned Indian anti-trafficking bill isn't flawless.

Swaraj Barooah and Gurshabad Grover explain how it could impinge on free speech and lead to censorship.

And the raid/rescue model unrestrained could resurrect a form of indentured labour, one of capitalism's & colonialism's worst excesses as I've argued.

One can only hope the amendment is revised before it is passed.

Indian challenges to the law's patriarchal structure, not yet totally successful, have resulted in statutory confusion. This, I'd expect, impacts some trafficking & some sex work too. After all, sexual offence law isn't clear about whether it's based on consent or dominion.

Some years ago, there was a fracas about online ads for escort services. It was impossible to tell who'd posted the ads: sex workers acting of their own volition or pimps trafficking them. Consequently, it was also impossible to opine on their legality where they were not prima facie obscene or in furtherance of an illegal objective. Ideally, the law should clarify such issues so that people acting legally cannot possibly be targetted except through an outright subversion of the law for which accountability can be demanded. Unfortunately, the law currently shows no sign of its willingness to issue what would be necessary clarifications in this regard.


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