Every year, the U.S. Department of State's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons highlights the efforts of individuals from all over the world who work tirelessly to ensure that every person, no matter one's nation of origin or standing in society, is able to pursue a life of freedom. In the days leading up to the release of the annual Trafficking in Persons Report on June 14, 2010, DipNote will share their stories.About of Author: Talley Sergent is a Public Affairs Officer in the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.
Sattaru Umapathi, the anti-human trafficking officer of the Crime Investigation Department for the state of Andhra Pradesh, has led numerous interstate and intrastate rescue operations across India. Officer Umapathi has played a key role in rescuing victims and arresting traffickers; he has contributed to multiple convictions that have led to sentences ranging from four to 14 years' imprisonment. He also forged partnerships with NGOs across the country and implemented UNODC anti-trafficking protocols in his state police department.
Officer Umapathi has changed the mindset of the state's law enforcement community by teaching officials to stop treating trafficking victims as criminals. He has organized judicial conferences and addressed a colloquium in New Delhi that helped educate the judiciary about the need to treat victims with empathy. Officer Umapathi argued for application of the more stringent sections of Indian law in trafficking cases, such as laws related to minors in prostitution, import of foreign girls, and unlawful compulsory labor. He successfully implemented a rescue protocol that included the payment of $220 as interim relief for trafficking victims. Thanks to Officer Umapathi's dedicated efforts, Andhra Pradesh is becoming a model for other Indian states fighting human trafficking.