About 1000 survivors of human trafficking have written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking his support for an early passage of the anti-trafficking bill in the Rajya Sabha.
The Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018 is India’ first comprehensive anti-trafficking bill seeking to deal with the crime from the point of prevention, protection and rehabilitation. It was passed in the Lok Sabha on July 26.
Thanking the Centre for coming out with the bill, the survivors called it an “honest attempt” by the government to break the criminal nexus of organised human trafficking.
“We also thank the government for passing the Bill in the Lok Sabha and we now urge you to pass the Bill in Rajya Sabha as early as possible. We have waited for a long time and we will keep fighting for it but India shouldn’t wait anymore,” the letter, signed by more than 1000 survivors of human trafficking, said.
“At some desperate moment of our life, we were lured with a hope of better life and forced to become a labourer without rights, a bride who was raped, a girl who was sold like groceries, a beggar, a farm for organ harvesting and what not. The traffickers tortured us, beat us, gave us drugs, transported us like cattle and did everything possible to break our spirit, just for money,” the victims said in the letter.
But we survived, and these tragedies made us stronger. Having witnessed all these heinous crimes first hand, we want to ensure that no other fellow Indian suffers the same fate,” they added.
The bill was approved by the Cabinet in February and while it was hailed by many as a path-breaking legislation, it had faced severe criticism from activists on the ground that it violated the rights of sex workers and threatened free speech and labour rights.
Besides taking up prevention, rescue and rehabilitation, it covers aggravated forms of trafficking such as forced labour, begging and marriage.