Maneka Gandhi moves anti-trafficking Bill in Lok Sabha

New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Thursday took up the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018 that seeks to provide for prevention, rescue, and rehabilitation of trafficked persons.

Moving the Bill for consideration and passing, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said the new bill will only help the government to enforce country’s commitment against trafficking as henceforth rehabilitation of the victims will become a matter of right.

‘Now the victims of trafficking who often suffer in silence will get opportunities to be heard,’ she said.

The minister also said from the perspective of investigation, the major challenge today is matter related to trans-border issue. ‘Human trafficking is border-less crime but often the jurisdictional issues come in between the investigation,’ she said, adding the new bill address this challenge.

According to official sources, the Bill will empower the state governments to appoint a State Nodal Officer each who will be responsible for providing relief and rehabilitation services. The state government will also appoint a Police Nodal Officer at the state and district levels.

The provisions of the Bill says the state government will also designate Anti-Trafficking Police Officers for each district, to deal with all matters related to trafficking in the district.

Initiating the discussion on the Bill, Congress member Shashi Tharoor said that the entire House is in agreement that trafficking should be rooted out — but he maintained ‘we may differ how to do it.’

‘We must not adopt the extreme approach that anyone who does not agree with the Bill is pro-trafficking,’ he said.

He maintained in more ways than one, the present bill is only a rehash of the existing laws.

‘Clearly, the need of the hour is comprehensive legislation,’ said the former minister and maintained that often in the past, police have misused the provisions of law to keep some people in wrongful confinement.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan announced that the House will forego lunch break on Thursday and the members can discuss and debate in details the menace of trafficking, especially affecting women and children,

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