Lok Sabha passes Trafficking of Persons Bill, 2018

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The Lok Sabha has passed the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill 2018 which provides for the prevention, rescue, and rehabilitation of trafficked persons and seeks to establish a National Anti-Trafficking Bureau to investigate trafficking cases.

It also provides for the setting up of Anti-Trafficking Units (ATUs) at the district level which will deal with the investigation, prevention, rescue, and protection of victims and witnesses.

Replying to a debate on the Bill, Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi said, the bill has a compassionate view and it is victim-centric. She said, States, NGOs were consulted during drafting of the bill.

Earlier, moving the Bill, Ms Gandhi had said, the crime of trafficking is organised and the invisible and current mechanism has failed to hit the root of such crimes. Describing human trafficking as gruesome and shameful, the Minister said, the Bill has provisions which make relief and rescue of victims as a matter of their rights.

She said under the Bill buying and selling of human beings have been made cognizable offence for the first time and it will hit the organised manner of trafficking.

Initiating the debate, Shashi Tharoor of Congress criticised the Bill saying it has been framed by bureaucrats and victims of trafficking are the lowest priority in this legislation. He said, Bill should have had provisions for more safeguards to poor and vulnerable women.

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