Anti- Trafficking Bill 2016

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The Union Ministry of Women and Child Development has sent the draft Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2016 to the Cabinet for its approval.

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Context: The Union Ministry of Women and Child Development has sent the draft Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2016 to the Cabinet for its approval. It aims at strengthening punitive measures against all those who subject victims of human trafficking to exploitation.
What is the meaning of the Human Trafficking? Human trafficking is the trade of humans, most commonly for the purpose of forced labour, sexual slavery or commercial sexual exploitation for the trafficker or others. The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that 21 million people around the world are victims of forced labour. This estimate also includes victims of human trafficking for labour and sexual exploitation.

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What is the existing human trafficking law talk about? The existing Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act, 1956, awards a much more lenient punishment to those who use the services of trafficked women.

The punishment is a mere 3 month imprisonment which can go up to six months in case of a repeat offender.

What are the proposed changes in the Bill? 1. It proposes stringent imprisonment of anywhere from 7-10 for such persons. The punishment can extend to a life term in case the victim is a minor or in a similarly vulnerable position.

2. Whoever knowingly subjects victims of trafficking to exploitation will be punished with a rigorous imprisonment of not less than 7 years which may extend to 10 years.

3. This exploitation can take any form such as forced labour, trafficking for bearing child, begging, under the pretext of marriage or for sexual exploitation.

4. In case the victim is a minor, mentally challenged or forced for cultural reasons such as under the Devdasi system, it has been proposed that the punishment be extended up to life imprisonment.

5. The penalty for most of these crimes is a fine of Rs 1 lakh to 10 lakh and a jail term of anywhere between 7 years to life imprisonment. Similar offences include causing serious injury to the victim that could lead to her death or suicide or causing life threatening illness or sexually transmitted diseases. The penalty and sentences are enhanced in case of repeat offenders.

6. The draft Bill now has provisions for setting up of a National Human Trafficking Investigations Bureau which will go beyond merely investigating such cases and look at prevention and rehabilitation issues

7. It has been proposed that the bureau should be under the ministry and headed by an ADG-rank IPS official.

Some Identified Gaps between UN and INDIA: There are several gaps between the UN Trafficking Protocol and India’s laws, policies and realities in regards to safety, recovery and compensation. These include: 

1. Inadequate protections to guarantee the victims’ safety, including measures to protect his or her privacy and the confidentiality of his or her identity.

2. Poor conditions and violations of victim’s rights in both government and NGO-run recovery homes.

3. Lack of access to shelter and other recovery services for male trafficking victims.

4. Lack of employment, educational and training opportunities.

5. Ineffective domestic compensation systems for human trafficking victims.

6. A definition of human trafficking in Indian law that does not include the term “forced labour” as a form of exploitation.

7. The law’s differential treatment of sex trafficking and labour trafficking.