Draft Trafficking In Persons (Prevention, Care and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2021:
The Ministry of Women and Child Welfare invited suggestions and comments for its draft Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Care and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2021 which it has released.
- A previous draft had been introduced in 2018, and had been passed by Lok Sabha despite stiff opposition from both parliamentarians as well as experts.
- It was later never introduced in Rajya Sabha. Experts say that nearly all the concerns raised in 2018 have been addressed in this new draft Bill.
- The law, once enacted, will extend to all citizens inside as well as outside India and a foreign national or a stateless person who has his or her residence in India at the time of commission of offence under this Act
- The scope of the Bill vis a vis offenders will also include defence personnel and government servants, doctors and paramedical staff or anyone in a position of authority.
- Exploitation has been defined to include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation including pornography, any act of physical exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or forced removal of organs, illegal clinical drug trials or illegal bio-medical research.
- The Bill also extends beyond the protection of women and children as victims to now include transgenders as well as any person who may be a victim of trafficking ,it also does away with the provision that a victim necessarily needs to be transported from one place to another to be defined as a victim.
- Property bought via such income as well as used for trafficking can now be forfeited with provisions set in place, similar to that of the money laundering Act.
- While the penalty will hold a minimum of seven years which can go up to an imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of Rs 5 lakh, in most cases of child trafficking, especially in the case of the trafficking of more than one child, the penalty is now life imprisonment.
- In certain cases, even the death penalty can be sought.