New Delhi, July 30: The Union government has decided to set up centres to provide protection to women and children in crisis internationally, women and child development minister Smriti Irani said on Friday. Speaking at the inaugural session of the national consultation on the elimination of human trafficking, the Union minister said that the passage of the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Care and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2021, will enhance the government’s cooperation internationally to address the menace of cross-border trafficking.
“On international nexus with regard to trafficking, in partnership with the External Affairs ministry, we have decided to set up centres for women who are in challenge or in crisis internationally so the women and children get protection,” Irani said at the event organised by the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation and its sister group Bachpan Bachao Andolan.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Women and Child Development invited suggestions for the draft bill aimed “to prevent and counter trafficking in persons, especially women and children, to provide for care, protection, and rehabilitation to the victims, while respecting their rights, and creating a supportive legal, economic and social environment for them.”
According to the draft bill, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) will act as the central investigating authority responsible for preventing and combating human trafficking. It will also be responsible for the prosecution of coordination in trafficking cases, including inter-state or international cases.
For the first time, Irani said, the government is looking at “trafficking in its entirety as an organised crime”, with the bill proposing enhanced punishment for a “comprehensive list of different forms of trafficking” which are severe in nature.
Citing her conversations with different stakeholders, the minister said that the Indian Penal Code (IPC) does not live up to the expectation of the populace with regard to the stringent punishment for human trafficking.
“The important one aspect I would like to flag is the issue of mandatory reporting and punishment for those who neglect to report a case of trafficking when it comes before them,” she added.
Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi said that human trafficking is one of the most lucrative illicit trades across the globe where there is a price tag on human beings. He stressed the importance of building awareness about the draft bill because “we feel this is going to be one of the best pieces of legislation in the world.”
“There will always be room for improvisation that we will keep on working on but today is the time we have to put an end to this menace and build awareness about issues and law,” he added.
(Courtesy: HT & PTI)