Draft bill on trafficking seeks to plug loopholes

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New Delhi, May 30 (IANS) The draft new bill aimed at curbing human trafficking has provided for, among other things,registration of placement agencies and punishment for the use of narcotic drugs or alcohol for the purpose of trafficking.

“The bill is victim-oriented and makes clear the distinction between the ‘trafficker’ and the ‘trafficked’. It also plugs loopholes in the existing laws and brings within its ambit more crimes pertaining to trafficking, which don’t find a place in the existing laws,” Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said here on Monday after releasing the draft legislation.

The draft of Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2016, takes into account various aspects of trafficking and punishments as defined in Sections 370-373 of the Indian Penal Code, she said.

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The bill also includes penal provisions for disclosure of identity of the victim of trafficking and witness(es) as well as the use of chemical substances or hormones for the purpose of exploitation.

“Since the problem is trans-border concerning our neighbouring countries, protocols will also be worked out for those trafficked from other countries,” the minister added.

The bill seeks to set up an institutional mechanism to deal with the highly specialised subject that will also include members of the civil society organisations, she said.

It aims to place dedicated institutional mechanisms at the district, state and central levels.

Apart from a designated agency for investigation of offences, the draft bill envisages protection homes and special homes for rehabilitation support. According to the bill, special courts and prosecutors will be employed for speedy trials.

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An anti-trafficking fund will be created for the welfare and rehabilitation of the victims, according to an official.

Child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi welcomed the draft bill.

“The bill for the first time criminalises unregulated placement agencies in India. Strong deterrents that hit the economic benefits of trafficking such as attachment and seizure of property and back wages are the highlights of the bill,” said a statement from Satyarthi.

The draft bill is available at http://wcd.nic.in/acts/trafficking-persons-bill-2016-draft and public has been asked to submit their suggestions at https://www.mygov.in/home/discuss/ by June 30, 2016.



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