Thursday, 1 March 2018

Cabinet approves the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018 for introduction in the Parliament.
The Bill broadly has the following features:-
1.       Addresses the issue of trafficking from the point of view of prevention, rescue andrehabilitation.
2.       Aggravated forms of trafficking, which includes trafficking for the purpose of forced labour, begging, trafficking by administering chemical substance or hormones on a personfor the purpose of early sexual maturity, trafficking of a woman or child for the purpose of marriage or under the pretext of marriage or after marriage etc.
3.       Punishment for promoting or facilitating trafficking of person which includes producing, printing, issuing or distributing unissued, tampered or fake certificates, registration or stickers as proof of compliance with Government requirements; orcommits fraudfor procuring or facilitating the acquisition ofclearances and necessary documents from Government agencies.
4.       The confidentiality ofvictims/ witnesses and complainants by not disclosing their identity. Further the confidentiality of the victims is maintained by recordingtheir statement through video conferencing (this also helps in trans-border and inter-State crimes).
5.       Time bound trial and repatriation of the victims - within a period of one year from taking into cognizance.
6.        Immediate protection of rescued victims and their rehabilitation. The Victims are 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.
7.        Rehabilitation of the victim which is not contingent upon criminal proceedings being initiated against the accused or the outcome thereof.
8.       Rehabilitation Fund created for the first time. To be used for the physical, psychological and social well-being of the victim including education, skill development, health care/psychological support, legal aid, safe accommodation, etc.
9.       Designated courts in each district for the speedy trial of the cases.
10.    The Bill creates dedicated institutional mechanisms at District, State and CentralLevel. These will be responsible for prevention, protection, investigation and rehabilitation work related to trafficking. National Investigation Agency (NIA) will perform the tasks of Anti-Trafficking Press Information Bureau Bureau at the national level present under theMHA.
11.    Punishment ranges from rigorous minimum 10 years to life and fine not less than Rs. 1 lakh.
12.    In order to break the organized nexus, both at the national and international level, the Bill provides for the attachment & forfeiture of property and also theproceeds for crime.
13.    The Bill Comprehensively addresses the transnational nature of the crime. The National Anti Trafficking Bureau will perform the functions of international coordination with authorities in foreign countries and international organizations; international assistance in investigation; facilitate inter-State and trans-border transfer of evidence and materials, witnesses and others for expediting prosecution; facilitate inter-state and international video conferencing in judicial proceedings etc.
Trafficking in human beings is the third largest organized crime violating basic human rights. There specific law so far to deal with this crime. Accordingly, the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018 has been prepared. The Bill addresses one of the most pervasive yet invisible crimes affecting the most vulnerable persons especially women and children.
The new law will make India a leader among South Asian countries to combat trafficking. Trafficking is a global concern also affecting a number of South Asian nations. Amongst them, India is now a pioneer in formulating a comprehensive legislation. UNODC and SAARC nations are looking forward to India to take lead by enacting this law. The Bill has been prepared in consultation with line Ministries, Departments, State Governments, NGOs and domain experts. A large number of suggestions received by the Ministry of WCD in hundreds of petitions have been incorporated in the Bill. The Draft Bill discussedin regional consultations held in Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Bombay with various stakeholdersincluding over 60 NGOs. The Bill was examined and discussed by Group bf Ministers also.

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