Survivor-leaders to press for passage of Trafficking of Persons Bill

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Survivor-leaders to press for passage of Trafficking of Persons Bill

  • The Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018 was passed in Lok Sabha that year but could not be taken up in Rajya Sabha and subsequently lapsed
  • Trafficking survivors and leaders will travel to the national capital and press for the passage of the new version of the Trafficking Bill that is likely to be tabled in the upcoming session of the Parliament.

About Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018

  • It creates a law for investigation of all types of trafficking, and rescue, protection and rehabilitation of trafficked victims.
  • It provides for the establishment of investigation and rehabilitation authorities at the district, state and national level. Anti-Trafficking Units will be established to rescue victims and investigate cases of trafficking.
  • Rehabilitation Committees will provide care and rehabilitation to the rescued victims.
    • It classifies certain purposes of trafficking as ‘aggravated’ forms of trafficking.
  • These include trafficking for forced labour, bearing children, begging, or for inducing early sexual maturity. Aggravated trafficking attracts a higher punishment.
    • It sets out penalties for several offences connected with trafficking. In most cases, the penalties set out are higher than the punishment provided under prevailing laws.

Need of the Bill

  • Trafficking is covered under many laws, but even the latest definition given under Section 370 of the Indian Penal Code is limited.
  • A 2017 International Labour Organization (ILO) report states that more than 40 million people are enslaved for exploitation.
  • The spectrum of the purpose of exploitation ranges from sex slaves to child soldiers.
  • The UNODC 2020 Global Report estimates that in 2018, for every 10 victims of trafficking detected globally, about five were adult women and two were girls.
  • About one-third of the overall detected victims were children.

Benefits of the Bill

  • Experts point out that new Bill would help survivors of different kinds of trafficking in terms of investigation of their cases, the functioning of AHTUs ( Anti-Human Trafficking Units), inter-State investigations and their rehabilitation.
  • Survivors will be able to avail facilities of healthcare, education, food security and impart necessary skills, etc

Key Issues and Analysis

  • Certain forms of trafficking specified in the Bill (like forced labour and sexual exploitation) are also covered by existing laws.
  • Some provisions of the Bill are different from provisions for similar circumstances in such laws.
  • As these laws are not being repealed, there may be uncertainty in the implementation of the Bill.
    • The Bill punishes an owner or lessor of a premise if he knowingly allows trafficking to be carried out on the premise.
  • Under the Bill, the owner or lessor is presumed to have knowledge of the offence, unless they can prove otherwise.
  • This provision may violate Article 21 of the Constitution.
    • The Bill provides immunity to a victim only if he commits an offence punishable with imprisonment of more than ten years and not for lesser offences.

Way Ahead

  • The passing of the Bill should be followed by proper research and a study to understand the domestic and global situation, with reference to cause and effect, dimensions beyond the conventional definition, the vulnerability and attempts to alleviate it, the methods used by a trafficker to sustain captivity and role of stakeholders in prevention, protection, and prosecution, and other issues.

Exam Track

Prelims Takeaway

  • ILO
  • Article 21
  • UNODC 2020 Global Report
  • Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018

Mains Track Q Discuss about the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018 and challenges associated with it.