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


Ajit Kumar AJIT KUMARWISDOM IAS, New Delhi.

 
The Lok Sabha in July 2018 passed the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018.
 
Background
Trafficking in human beings is the third largest organized crime violating basic human rights. There is no specific law so far to deal with this crime. Accordingly, the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018 has been prepared. The Bill addresses one of the most pervasive yet invisible crimes affecting the most vulnerable persons especially women and children. 
The new law will make India a leader among South Asian countries to combat trafficking. Trafficking is a global concern also affecting a number of South Asian nations. Amongst them, India is now a pioneer in formulating a comprehensive legislation.
 
Main Features 
(1) Addresses the issue of trafficking from the point of view of prevention, rescue and rehabilitation.
(2) Aggravated forms of trafficking, which includes trafficking for the purpose of forced labour, begging, trafficking by administering chemical substance or hormones on a person for the purpose of early sexual maturity, trafficking of a woman or child for the purpose of marriage or under the pretext of marriage or after marriage etc. Aggravated trafficking attracts a higher punishment.
(3) Punishment for promoting or facilitating trafficking of person which includes producing, printing, issuing or distributing unissued, 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.
(4) The confidentiality of victims/ witnesses and complainants by not disclosing their identity. Further the confidentiality of the victims is maintained by recording their statement through video conferencing (this also helps in trans-border and inter-State crimes).
(5) Time bound trial and repatriation of the victims - within a period of one year from taking into cognizance.
(6) Immediate protection of rescued victims and their rehabilitation. The Victims are entitled to interim relief immediately within 30 days to address their physical, mental trauma etc. and further appropriate relief within 60 days from the date of filing of charge sheet.
(7) Rehabilitation of the victim which is not contingent upon criminal proceedings being initiated against the accused or the outcome thereof.
(8) Rehabilitation Fund created for the first time. To be used for the physical, psychological and social well-being of the victim including education, skill development, health care/psychological support, legal aid, safe accommodation, etc.    
(9) Designated courts in each district for the speedy trial of the cases.
(10) The Bill 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. National Investigation Agency (NIA) will perform the tasks of Anti-Trafficking Bureau at the national level present under the MHA.
(11) Punishment ranges from rigorous minimum 10 years to life and fine not less than Rs. 1 lakh.
(12) In order to break the organized nexus, both at the national and international level, the Bill provides for the attachment & forfeiture of property and also the proceeds for crime.
(13) The Bill proposes establishing a National Anti-Trafficking Bureau (NATB) for coordinating, monitoring and surveillance of trafficking cases. It also provides for a Relief and Rehabilitation Committee and Rehabilitation Fund with an initial allocation of ₹ 10 crore. It prescribes forfeiture of property used or likely to be used for the commission of an offence.
(14) The Bill comprehensively addresses the transnational nature of the crime.
The National Anti-Trafficking Bureau will perform the functions of international coordination with authorities in foreign countries and international organizations; international assistance in investigation; facilitate inter-State and trans-border transfer of evidence and materials, witnesses and others for expediting prosecution; facilitate inter-state and international video conferencing in judicial proceedings etc.
(15) 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. 
 
 




Tuesday, 20th Nov 2018, 05:23:06 AM

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