The Narendra Modi cabinet on Wednesday approved the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018, which has been dubbed as a historic law to curb Human Trafficking. As per a press release by the PIB, the union cabinet has cleared the bill for the introduction in the Indian Parliament.
Under the press release, human trafficking is referred to as the third largest organised crime which violates human rights, and is described as a, “pervasive yet invisible crime affecting the most vulnerable”. Despite the seriousness, till date there is no specific law combat this menace, for this reason the aforementioned bill has been brought into play.
Under this bill, the issue of trafficking is addressed from the point of view of prevention, rescue and rehabilitation. The forms of human trafficking addressed include: individuals trafficked for forced labour, begging and trafficking of women and children on the pretext of marriage.
This bill also seeks to maintain the confidentially of victims and witnesses, which also includes the statements recorded via video conferencing. This remote testimony would aid in the matter of trans-border and trans-state crimes. It is also claimed that the trial and the victim’s repatriation will be done within one year.
The proceedings also promise immediate protection and rehabilitation of the victims. The relief includes means to address the victim’s physical and mental trauma and rehabilitation would include education, skill development, health care/psychological support, legal aid and safe accommodation.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) will be playing the role of an Anti-Trafficking Bureau on the national level, apart from this, dedicated institutions will be created on the district, state and central level for prevention, protection, investigation and rehabilitation regarding trafficking.
Those convicted of human trafficking would see themselves incarcerated from a duration ranging from a minimum of 10 years to life. The fine amount is pegged at, at least Rs 1 lakh.
Human trafficking in India has become a big menace in recent years. In 2016 the number of Human Trafficking cases rose to 8,132 cases, a 20% rise as compared to 2015.
This proposed bill has been welcomed by Nobel Laurate Kailash Satyarthi who in a statement called it a victory of the 1.2 million people who had participated 11,000 km long Bharat Yatra regarding this demand. After calling it a historic achievement in the fight against trafficking, he urged the Indian Parliament to pass this law.