The Union Cabinet has approved the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018 for introduction in the Parliament.
Human Trafficking is third largest organized crime violating basic human rights. At present there is no specific law to deal with this crime. The bill addresses the issue of human trafficking from point of view of prevention, rescue and rehabilitation.
Features of Bill
It takes into consideration aggravated forms of trafficking. It includes trafficking for purpose of forced labour, begging, trafficking of a woman or child for the purpose of marriage or under the pretext of marriage or after marriage, trafficking by administering chemical substance or hormones on a person for the purpose of early sexual maturity etc
It prescribes punishment for promoting and facilitating trafficking of person. It includes producing, printing, issuing or distributing unissued, tampered or fake certificates, registration or stickers as proof of compliance with Government requirements, or commits fraud for procuring or facilitating acquisition of clearances and necessary documents from Government agencies.
It deals with confidentiality of victims and witnesses and complainants by not disclosing their identity. It will be maintained by recording their statement through video conferencing (it will help trans-border and inter-State crimes).
It has provision for time bound trial and repatriation of the victims. It will be within a period of 1 year from taking into cognizance. It provides immediate protection of rescued victims and their rehabilitation. The victims will be entitled to interim relief immediately within 30 days to address their physical, mental trauma etc. and further appropriate relief within 60 days from the date of filing of charge sheet.
It creates Rehabilitation Fund for the first time. It will be used for physical, psychological and social well-being of victim including education, skill development, health care and psychological support, legal aid, safe accommodation etc. It mandates designation of courts in each district for the speedy trial of the cases.
It creates dedicated institutional mechanisms at District, State and Central level. They will be responsible for prevention, protection, investigation and rehabilitation work related to trafficking. The tasks of Anti-Trafficking Bureau at the national level will be performed by National Investigation Agency (NIA).
The punishment prescribed under it ranges from rigorous minimum 10 years to life and fine not less than Rs. 1 lakh. In order to break the organized nexus, both at national and international level, it mandates for attachment & forfeiture of property and also proceeds for crime.
It comprehensively addresses transnational nature of the crime. It entrusts National Anti-Trafficking Bureau (NATB) to perform functions of international coordination with authorities in foreign countries and international organizations.
The Bill addresses one of most pervasive yet invisible crimes affecting most vulnerable persons especially women and children. It will make India leader among South Asian countries to combat trafficking, as UNODC and SAARC nations are looking forward to India to take lead by enacting this law.