New Delhi: The survivors of human trafficking, hailing from different parts of the country, deliberated with the parliamentarians and civil society organizations on Thursday for an early passage of the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018 in this monsoon session of the Parliament.
Lok Sabha MPs Shatrughan Sinha, Manoj Tiwari and Kothapalli Geetha attended the consultation organised by Prayas Juvenile Aid Centre (JAC) Society and extended their strong support for the early passage of the Bill.
Eleven survivors hailing from eleven states of India shared their experiences of human trafficking, ranging from sexual exploitation, bonded labour, forced marriage, organ trade and other forms of trafficking.
“Today, as we recount stories of despair, we also wish to make a strong statement of courage,” said Amod K Kanth, founder general secretary, Prayas. “We stand with our leaders and extend the responsibility of bringing forth a strong anti-trafficking legislation to protect, rehabilitate survivors of human-trafficking and ensure prevention for those vulnerable to the crime. We strongly support the long overdue Bill as it takes care of all the concerns.”
BJP MP Manoj Tiwari said he was keen on taking these stories to the Parliament. “At times we don't go into details of the bills introduced, but having heard the stories from the survivors, I will definitely support the Bill and put forward the arguments in the support. Your voice has inspired me to fight these social evils with more energy and valiant. I assure you all that I will be with you in this fight always.”
“This subject is very close to my heart because I am a woman… and I believe every woman in the Parliament will support this Bill and it will be passed at the earliest,” MP Kothapalli Geeta said.
Human-Trafficking, regarded as the worst violation of human rights, is the third largest organized crime after drugs and the arms trade across the globe.
Men, women and children continue to be vulnerable to human trafficking for domestic work, forced labour, forced marriage and sexual slavery. The issue of trafficking is particularly prevalent here since India is a source, destination and transit country for victims of trafficking.
The existing law around trafficking, Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 is centered solely on sexual exploitation and has been mostly used to persecute sex workers instead of the actual perpetrators by allowing for their arbitrary arrest and penalisation.
However, the new proposed legislation, Trafficking of Persons Bill (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) 2018, covers all aspects of human trafficking, including aggravated forms of trafficking like forced labour, begging, administering chemical substances and hormones for early sexual maturity, forced marriage, etc.
The Bill provides for prosecution of promoting or facilitating trafficking of a person which includes producing, printing, issuing or distributing non-issued, tampered or fake certificates, registration or stickers as proof of compliance with government requirements; or commits fraud for procuring or facilitating the acquisition of clearances and necessary documents from Government agencies.
The Bill also proposes setting up designated courts for fast-tracking trials and timely repatriation of foreign victims within a period of one year from taking into cognizance. Further, there is a provision for seizing property of the traffickers (even in international locations) considering the global nature of the crime. A dedicated mechanism is proposed to be created under this law at each of the District, State and Central levels to implement the Bill in its entirety.