The Ministry of Women and Child Development on Sunday presented the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Care and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2021 inviting suggestions and comments from stakeholders on the draft before its approval. According to the Ministry, the objective of the bill is to prevent and counter, trafficking in persons, especially women and children. It also focuses on providing care, protection, and rehabilitation to the victims, while respecting their rights, and creating a supportive legal, economic and social environment for them.
The new draft is said to have increased the scope of the nature of trafficking offenses as well as the kind of victims of these offenses. Emphasis has been placed on ensuring the prosecution of offenders and laying down the implications of cross-border trafficking.
Details of the anti-trafficking bill
According to the draft bill, a person who is found guilty of trafficking can be imprisoned for a term not less than seven years which may extend to 10 years. The convict shall also be liable to a fine not less than Rs 1 lakh that may extend up to Rs 5 lakh. Property brought using money from trafficking is also liable to be forfeited with the provisions detailed.
Moreover, severe punishment has been proposed for offenses classified as ‘aggravated forms of trafficking’. The anti-trafficking bill once enacted, will extend to all citizens inside as well as outside India. The suggestions have been invited by the Ministry till July 14, after which it will be sent to the cabinet for approval before being tabled in Parliament.
Last month, the Bengaluru Police had unraveled a human trafficking racket under which women from Bangladesh were being smuggled into India. The Bengaluru Police, while probing the horrific gang-rape case, identified one of the five accused- Rafiq- as the operator of the human trafficking racket who had been trafficking girls to India for the last 10 years. It was found that Rafiq would smuggle women from Bangladesh to Bengaluru by getting them fake Aadhaar Cards, and involving them in prostitution along with other illegal activities. The accused was arrested by the Bangladesh Police.