State and district anti-trafficking committees, protection and special homes, and stricter penal provisions, are some of the key features of the draft bill
GN Bureau | May 31, 2016
In an attempt to ensure that a trafficked victim does not face legal hassles once rescued, the ministry of women and child development (WCD) has released a draft ‘Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2016’. Union WCD minister Maneka Gandhi has said that the bill is victim-oriented and that it makes clear distinction between the ‘trafficker’ and the ‘trafficked’.
The ministry revealed that human trafficking is now the third largest organised crime and it is time to deal with it through a single comprehensive Act. The draft, thus, has a slew of measures to plug loopholes in existing laws and bring additional crimes pertaining to trafficking. The draft bill proposes constituting district and state anti-trafficking committees to carry out and oversee the prevention, rescue, protection, medical care, psychological assistance, skill development, and need based rehabilitation of victims.
It also asks governments concerned to maintain, either directly or through voluntary organisations, protection homes for immediate care and protection of victims. Protection homes would provide for shelter, food, clothing, counselling and medical care of victims. Also, one or more special homes in each district should be set up for providing long-term institutional support to victims.
The draft bill also has strict penal provisions for offenders. Using narcotic drug or psychotropic substance, or alcohol, for the purpose of trafficking would be penalised with a seven-year imprisonment that may extend up to ten years. A fine of Rs 1 lakh may also be slapped on the offender.
The draft also envisages creation of a fund for effective implementation of the Act and for rehabilitation of the victims. For speedy court trial, the draft bill provides for establishing special courts in each district. Recovery of back wages and other monetary losses of victims of trafficking have also been proposed.
The ministry is now calling for feedback and inputs on the draft bill from the public by June 30.
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