Mains Paper: 2 | Governance
Prelims level: Anti-trafficking Bill
Mains level: Does the anti-trafficking Bill address trafficking?
• The Bill goes beyond criminalisation; it tries to combat the organised nature of trafficking
• India took a giant step towards the protection of its women and children when the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act was passed by the Lok Sabha in 2013.
• Section 370 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was substituted with Sections 370 and 370A, which defined trafficking and laid out the punishment for it.
• In the case of trafficking, data show that despite the 2013 law, there has been an increase in the number of victims of human trafficking.
• It is to tackle this menace that the comprehensive Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018, was passed.
• Instead of mere criminalisation, the Bill seeks to systematically combat the organised nature of trafficking.
The Multipronged approach
• The Bill ties together the approaches of prevention, rescue and rehabilitation to create a robust policy framework against trafficking.
• It places at its core the rights and welfare of victims of human trafficking.
• There are aggravated forms of trafficking which have been introduced, such as trafficking for the purpose of begging or bearing a child, or for the purpose of marriage or under the pretext of marriage by administering narcotic drugs, hormones, or chemical substances for the purposes of early sexual maturity, and so on.
• Under the Bill, prosecution under these offences will be made timely and efficient by special public prosecutors.
• The Bill provides protection to witnesses.
• It states that there will be time-bound trials and repatriation of victims.
• A rehabilitation fund has been introduced for the first time.
• This will be used for the physical, psychological and social well-being of victims.
• The Bill seeks to build the capacity of victims by providing capital, infrastructure, education and skill development to empower them to access justice and to prevent further trafficking.
The Dynamic Approach
• The National Anti-Trafficking Bureau will coordinate with authorities in foreign countries and international organizations.
• It will strengthen the intelligence apparatus to improve the collection, collation and dissemination of operational intelligence.
• The Bureau will also coordinate actions and enforcement by various bodies or authorities established under this Bill.
• There will be State and District Anti-Trafficking Committees which will arrange for appropriate training and sensitisation of functionaries of all personnel.
• It is crucial to note that trafficking is an organised crime. In order to break the organised nexus, at the national and international levels,
• The Bill proposes attachment and forfeiture of property and to remit the proceeds of crime in the rehabilitation fund.
• It will also freeze bank accounts of those whose funds have been utilised to facilitate trafficking. By doing this, the Bill handicaps the organised trafficking networks.
• The Bureau will also develop and monitor a database on every crime under this Act.
• Such systematic surveillance of offenders will, in about three years, not only help prevent trafficking but pre-empt it.
• Now we must all come together to use it to deliver justice.