RS Members Pledge Support For Passing of Anti-Trafficking Bill
| Ashok Dixit, Editor - Foreign Affairs, IOP - 14 Dec 2018

RS Members Pledge Support For Passing of Anti-Trafficking Bill 

By Ashok Dixit

New Delhi, Sec 14, 2018: Extending strong support to survivors of human trafficking, Rajya Sabha members, cutting across party lines, have urged Rajya Sabha Chairman and Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu to convene a discussion on and for the passage of the Anti-Trafficking Bill during the Winter Session of Parliament.

Noted parliamentarians like D Raja, Akhilesh Prasad Singh, Pradeep Tamta, N.Gokulakrishnan supported the petition at a national consultation on human trafficking, which was organised by Prayas Juvenile Aid Centre (JAC) Society.

The objectives arrived at the consultation on Friday were:

•           Identify concrete gaps in the delivery of justice to victims of trafficking

•           Identify survivors’ expectations from the new law

•           Put forward the views of the survivors regarding the Trafficking in Person Bill, 2018.

 

As part of the consultation, hopeful survivors of human-trafficking hailing from different parts of the country, made an appeal to Rajya Sabha members to deliver justice to millions of human trafficking victims by ensuring the passage of Anti-Human Trafficking Bill in Parliament.

As per the NCRB 2016 report, a total of 15,379 victims of human-trafficking were reported in 2016, out of which almost 60 percent were minors. The report has also estimated that more than a lakh children (1,11,569) have gone missing till 2016, and 55,625 of them remained untraced.

Survivors from various survivor collectives – Utthan, Vimukthi, Aazaad Shakti Abhiyaan, Bandhan Mukti and Worker Survivor Support group shared their experiences of human trafficking, ranging from sexual exploitation, bonded labour, forced marriage and other forms of trafficking.

The survivors also pointed out the glaring gaps in the existing legislations which have led to more suffering after rescue. The survivors appealed to the Rajya Sabha members to pass the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018 which has strong mechanisms for voluntary rehabilitation and victim-protection, in this Winter Session.

Amod K Kanth, Founder General Secretary, Prayas, said, “It’s time that Indian laws have necessary provisions to tackle the complex organised crime of human trafficking. We are thankful to the government for drafting a comprehensive and robust law which provides for necessary tools to address the crime and safeguards the interest of the victims.”

D Raja, MP Rajya Sabha, CPI, said – “CPI supports and stands in solidarity with the survivors of human trafficking. Discussion on the Trafficking in Person Bill is the need of the hour. I hope it’s taken up in the winter session of Rajya Sabha. CPI will also ensure human trafficking becomes part of its Party Manifesto”

Akhilesh Prasad Singh, MP Rajya Sabha, Indian National Congress, said – “It’s sad to see how for lust of money, people have shamed humanity. This must stop. I think all parties – BJP, INC, other parties should discuss this Bill in this winter session and pass it with necessary provisions.”

Pradeep Tamta, MP Rajya Sabha, Indian National Congress, said – “I have heard the tales of survivors here and understand the sufferings of thousands of human trafficking survivors who are not present here. We understand the urgency of discussion of the Bill and Congress party will support the discussion on the Bill.”

N. Gokulakrishnan, MP Rajya Sabha, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, said – “Bills of such importance take a back stage among other Political issues. I will support the discussion of the Bill in this winter session of Parliament.”

Ranjan (name changed), survivor of organ trafficking present in the consultation, said, “It’s important for the Indian society to talk about such grave issues and therefore we reached out to the citizens in various parts of India and sought their support in our fight against Human Trafficking. Collectively, we have collected more than 1.15 lakh post-cards addressed to the Prime Minister, in support of the Trafficking of Persons, Bill 2018.”

Survivors also plan to submit a petition in support of the Bill to Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu.

The problem of trafficking is particularly prevalent in India since it is a source, destination and transit country for victims of trafficking. The new proposed legislation, Trafficking of Persons Bill (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) 2018, unlike the existing legislations of Immoral Traffic Prevention Act (which cover only sex trafficking) or Bonded Labour Act (for crimes related to Bonded Labour), 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 designated courts for fast-tracking trials and timely repatriation of foreign victims - within a period of one year from taking into cognizance, which is a highly commendable move as there are many cases of trafficking from across neighbouring countries such as Nepal and Sri Lanka. Another path-breaking addition to the Bill has been the formation of the National Anti-Trafficking Bureau (NATB), which will coordinate with authorities in international organisations, and facilitate inter-state and trans-border transfer of evidence.

(The writer Ashok Dixit is a senior journalist with 24 years of rich cross-editorial functional experience in covering and reporting on developments in South Asia. He had been associated with ANI as a Senior Editor for more than two decades. He can be contacted atashok.dixit26@gmail.com

Pic2-(From L-R) D Raja, N Gokulakrishnan, Pradeep Tamta and Amod K Kanth at the National Consultation on Human Trafficking in Delhi


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