Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Care and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2021 – by Shubhangi Singh @lexcliq

WHAT IS HUMAN TRAFFICKING?

Human tracking is not a new crime, rather it is an old age practice prevalent in the form of ‘slavery’ and was an accepted economic practice. While that traditional form of slavery is extinct now, it continues to survive in the changed form of human trafficking, often termed as ‘modern slavery’.

There has been a stark rise in cases of trafficking and forced labour in the country due to further impoverishment of poor families. The women and children form a majority of trafficked people because – Forced labour, Prostitution, Other forms of sexual exploitation, Domestic servitude, Forced marriage, Child pornography, Begging, Drug peddling, Removal of organs etc.

NEW TRAFFICKING BILL

In 2018, Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018 was introduced by The Ministry of Women and Child Development. The bill was passed from the Lok Sabha, but it was never introduced in Rajya Sabha. Recently, The Union Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) has invited suggestions for the draft of Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Care and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2021.

The objective of the bill is to “prevent and counter trafficking in person, to provide protection to women and children, to Rehabilitate the victims of the this heinous crime, and creating a socio-economic environment that help them to re-start their new life and to create a supportive legal environment for them. The act, would also have severe penalties like life imprisonment and death penalty.

While the 2018 bill dealt with trafficking, rescue, protection and rehabilitation of victims, the 2021 bill expands the scope to also include offences taking place outside India. The Bill would make National Investigation Agency (NIA), a central agency to solve the trafficking cases. It is a national level agency that deals with terrorism, smuggling of arms and drug, fake currency, infiltration across international borders etc. It comes under Union Ministry of Home Affairs.

IMPORTANT PROVISIONS OF THE DRAFT –

  • The law will be applicable on the citizens of India, within and outside the Country and the foreign nationals or a stateless person who has residence in India.
  • The law, shall apply to every offence of trafficking in persons with cross-border implications”.
  • The draft bill has expanded the definition of victims by including transgenders, beside women and children.
  • Once the bill becomes an Act, the central government will notify and set up a National Anti Trafficking Committee, while state governments will set up these committees at state and district levels to ensure effective implementation.
  • The bill also proposes that criminals would be punished with minimum imprisonment of seven years, which may be extended to ten years and they would be fined with the minimum amount of Ten Lac Rupees.
  • In addition to 2018’s bill, it says that the crackdown would be made on organised crime syndicates and severe punishment would be given in the cases of aggravated offences.
  • In case of the death of the victim, the bill proposes life imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 30 lakh.
  • The bill also proposes imprisonment upto 20 years and death penalty for the offenders found guilty. “The person shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for twenty years, but which may extend to life, or in case of second or subsequent conviction with death, and with fine which may extend up to thirty lakh rupees,” the draft says.
  • The bill also says the investigation needs to be completed within 90 days from the date of the arrest of the accused.

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