India plans new law to tackle human trafficking

Publication date

07 Jun 2016

India's minister for women and children unveiled a draft of the country's first-ever comprehensive anti-human trafficking law, which would treat survivors as victims in need of assistance and protection rather than as criminals.

There are no accurate figures on the number of people trafficked within South Asia, but activists say thousands of mostly women and children are trafficked within India as well as from its poorer neighbours Nepal and Bangladesh.

Women's Minister Maneka Gandhi said the draft bill aims to unify existing anti-trafficking laws, prioritise survivors' needs, and prevent victims such as those found in brothel raids from being arrested and jailed like traffickers.

The draft legislation provides for special courts to expedite trafficking cases, more shelters and a rehabilitation fund to help victims rebuild their lives. It also provides for anti-trafficking committees - at district, state and central levels - that will oversee prevention, protection and victim rehabilitation.

Gandhi said her ministry would be accepting suggestions until June 30 on how to further improve the proposed bill. It would then go to all the ministries for their feedback. The final bill could be brought before the Indian parliament by the end of the year, she added.

 

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