Thousands of mostly children and women are trafficked within India as well as from its poorer neighbors Bangladesh and Nepal - “Says, activists”.
India’s minister for children and women unveils first-ever comprehensive draft law on human trafficking, which would treat survivors as victims in need of protection and assistance rather than as criminals.
South Asia, at its center with India, is the second-largest and fastest-growing region for human trafficking after East Asia, in the world. says the UN Office on Crime and Drugs.
Within South Asia, there are no accurate figures on the number of people trafficked, but thousands of mostly children and women are trafficked within India as well as from its poorer neighbors Bangladesh and Nepal- “Says, activists”.
Many of them are sold into bonded labor or forced marriage- to work as domestic servants in middle-class homes, in hotels and small shops or confined to brothels where they are raped repeatedly.
The draft bill aims to unify existing, prioritize survivors’ needs, anti-trafficking laws and prevent victims such as those found in brothel raids from being jailed and arrested like traffickers- said Maneka Gandhi Women’s Minister.
Maneka Gandhi said- On Monday as she unveiled the draft Trafficking of Persons (Rehabilitation, Protection, and Prevention) Bill, 2016,“The bill shows far more compassion and makes a very clear distinction between the trafficker and the trafficked, which is a nuance that should have been made 60 years ago” .
The draft legislation provides for anti-trafficking committees – at central levels, state and district – that will oversee protection, prevention, and victim rehabilitation.
It also provides for special courts to expedite trafficking cases, a rehabilitation fund to help victims rebuild their lives and more shelters.
There were 5,466 human trafficking cases registered in 2014, an increase of 90 percent over the past five years, though activists say this is a gross underestimate- According to the National Crime Records Bureau.
Thousands of Indians – rural women, children and largely poor, – are moved to big cities each year by traffickers who promise good jobs in big cities, but sell them as sex work or domestic or to industries such as workshops, factories.
Rural women, children and poor – are moved to big cities are unpaid or held in debt bondage, in many cases. Some of them go missing, and their families cannot trace them.
The draft bill would encourage the number of convictions and strengthen prosecutions by setting up a special investigative agency to coordinate work between collect and states intelligence on trafficking offenses- Said, Maneka Gandhi.
Officials said- there is also a provision for the recovery of fines from the convicted in the draft bill, and victims who are not paid wages while in servitude will be repaid.
The draft bill also makes providing alcohol or narcotic drugs for the purpose of trafficking and using hormones or chemical substances for purposes of exploitation offenses.
Suggestions will be accepting until June 30 on how to further improve the proposed bill- “Maneka Gandhi said” her ministry.
She added- It would then go to all the ministries for their feedback and the final bill could be brought before the Indian parliament by the end of the year.