• Treat survivors like victims not criminals: Proposed anti-trafficking law

    In a first, the Women and Child Development Ministry headed by Maneka Gandhi has taken the initiative of proposing a comprehensive anti-trafficking law. The draft bill which was unveiled by the minister aims at treating those who are rescued from trafficking as victims rather than criminals.

    “The bill shows far more compassion and makes a very clear distinction between the trafficked and the trafficker, which is a nuance that should have been made 60 years ago,” Gandhi said on Monday as she unveiled the draft Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2016 as reported by Indian Express.

    The bill has the following main provisions:

    • To speed up judicial proceedings, a special court will be provided for anti-human trafficking cases.
    • More shelter houses, rehabilitation centres are being created to give ample protection and assistance to the victims. Also, a rehabilitation fund will be set up to help the victims get a fresh start at life.
    • Anti-trafficking committees will be set up on all levels- state, district and national. A special investigative team will be formed to look into the work between states.
    • The bill also proposes a mechanism to recover monetary amounts due — Victims who were unpaid under servitude will be paid an amount as reimbursement.
    • Any attempt to use drugs, alcohol or any such narcotic substances in order to exploit the victims will be regarded as an offence under the bill.

    Also read: Child trafficking, the big fight: Padma Shri Sunitha Krishnan

    There is little doubt that human trafficking is a problem of very serious magnitude that needs to be addressed. In India especially young girls and women from small places and neighbouring countries are lured to come to big cities in search of money and better work, but are consequently either sold into brothels or as domestic help. The women end up getting exploited in both scenarios, and even after they are rescued by police, the attitude is to treat them as criminals, and their cases stretch on for months on end.

    A bill like this would certainly protect their human rights, as well as help them in starting life afresh.

    Also read: On human trafficking in India: Journalist Neha Dixit in ‘First Hand’

    The implementation of the bill into law is a long way off though. Maneka Gandhi will be taking suggestions to incorporate in it till 30th June. After that the final bill will go to every ministry and finally be placed before the Indian Parliament by the end of this year.

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    Feature Image Credit: BeTheAnswer