Draft bill ignores key issues of child trafficking, says MP

New Delhi, June 30 (IANS) Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Chandrasekhar has pointed out several flaws and criticised the Draft Trafficking Of Persons Bill, 2016, saying the bill fails to address the critical issue of child trafficking.

“There is no definition of trafficking. No offence that amounts to trafficking is mentioned in the draft bill,” Chandrasekhar said in a reply to Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi, who invited comments from stakeholders on the draft legislation.

A copy of his reply was also sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Chandrasekhar said the draft bill must be bought in the public domain and the period for soliciting comments from the stakeholders extended by 30 more days.

“Hold open house pre-consultation on the draft bill with the participation of all stakeholders like the National Coalition to Protect Our Children (NCPOC,” he wrote.

The MP said the 20-page draft Trafficking Of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2016, also misses mention of anti-human trafficking units, proving a weak bill to curb child trafficking.

“There are three million people involved in sex work across the country, of whom an estimated 40 per cent are children — some as young as five years of age — and the bill in the current form does not address this critical issue,” he said.

Chandrasekhar pointed out that the bill seeks to override all other laws if its provisions are inconsistent with them.

“This is a serious issue requiring attention as matters governing rehabilitation of children will have to be addressed through the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, and the mechanisms set up thereunder,” he said.

Chandrasekhar said his submission had been supported by members of the NCPOC, including the Centre for Child Rights and other stakeholders.

The bill needs to define terms such as sexual exploitation, sex tourism, pornography and brothels and requires to incorporate present laws against trafficking, he said.

“The draft bill does not make the trafficking of children for domestic servitude by placement agencies as an offence.”

Chandrasekhar is an Independent MP in the Rajya Sabha from Bangalore (Karnataka), elected for a second term in 2012. He is a member of the standing and consultative committees on defence.



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