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Mains 2016 Initiative

Mains 2016: Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill 2016


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Context:


The Minister of Women & Child Development Smt. Maneka Gandhi released the draft “Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2016” on May 30th 2016, for stakeholders consultations and comments.



Objective:


The Bill aims to prevent trafficking of persons and to provide protection and rehabilitation to the victims of trafficking and to create a legal, economic, and social environment against trafficking of persons .


 

Clause (1) of article 23 of Constitution of India prohibits trafficking in human beings and begar and other similar forms of forced labour.

Article 21 of Constitution of India guarantees that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law.

The Government of India has ratified the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organised Crime and its three Optional Protocols, including the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children.

As per data from National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), in 2013, maximum crimes (65.5%) were registered under the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act 1956.

Initiatives by the Government to deal with trafficking and that of missing children:

Khoya-Paya web portal

Pasting of posters in railway coaches

Expansion of Children helpline-Childline 1098.


 

Provisions:


  1. The Bill provides for speedy trial with a view to increase prosecution and to reduce the trauma faced by the victims, the proposed draft Bill provides for establishing Special Courts in each district and experienced Special Prosecutors.
  1. It provides for Protection Homes and Special Homes for short term and long term rehabilitation
  1. The proposed draft Bill aims to place dedicated institutional mechanisms at District, State and Central level. It also envisages a designated Agency for the investigation of offences.
    • A District Anti Trafficking Committee will be created for exercising the powers and performing such functions and duties in relation to:
      • prevention, rescue, protection, medical care, psychological assistance, skill development,
      • need based rehabilitation of victims as may be prescribed.
  1. An Anti-Trafficking Fund will be created for the effective implementation of the proposed Act and for the welfare and rehabilitation of the victims.
  1. The Bill provides for mandatory reporting within 24 hours by a Police Officer or Public servants having custody of the victim (of trafficking) to the District Anti-Trafficking Committee.
  1. Recovery of back wages and other monetary losses of the victim of trafficking has also been proposed.
  1. A trafficker would be considered guilty until proven innocent.

 

Positive Features:


  1. The Bill is victim oriented and makes a clear distinction between trafficker and trafficked.
  2. The Bill contains commitments on addressing prevention, protection, and rehabilitation of trafficked victims. Thus it seeks to address the problem holistically.
  3. The Bill plugs loopholes in existing laws and brings within its fold additional crimes pertaining to trafficking.
  4. It has human rights and our constitutional values at its core.
  5. It treats survivors as victims and it has also created a central level special investigation agency to help the victim.
  6. The Bill treats trafficking as an organised crime rather than a law enforcement problem.

 

Limitations:


  1. It focuses only on an institution-based rehabilitation approach with no recognition of psychological and physiological rehabilitation.
  2. The Bill doesn’t define certain key terms:
    1. What it means by trafficking, and whether it includes trafficking for forced labor;
    2. What amount of money or provision of services and facilities encompass rehabilitation for a survivor.
  3. The Bill seeks to create an anti-trafficking fund, but does not give the details about what would be the amount, where would the money come from, and how it would be utilized.
  4. Proper counseling and treatment part is not mentioned in the Bill.
  5. The care homes have no provision for health departments; and what happens to a person after she comes out of institutional care is not mentioned in the Bill.
  6. The Bill is silent on the coordination mechanism between the anti-trafficking committees at district, state, and central level.

Conclusion:


Though The Bill lacks on certain parts but it is the first major attempt to address the problem of trafficking holistically. It needs to be implemented carefully with course corrections and rectification of lacuna. Also since the problem of trafficking is trans-border in nature, protocols should be worked out for those trafficked from other countries.


REFERENCES:

 

  1. THE CIVIL ASPECTS OF INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION BILL, 2016 draft bill from PRS India.
  2. The draft anti trafficking bill lacks bite, by Shaifali Agrawal in Hindustan Times on June 30th 2016

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