Trafficking of Persons Bill likely to increase conviction rate

Trafficking of Persons Bill likely  to increase conviction rate

As the Central government is about to introduce the Trafficking of Persons Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation Bill, 2018 in the coming session...

Ongole: As the Central government is about to introduce the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018 in the coming session of Parliament, the social workers and welfare committee members demand it to see conviction rate is improved by establishing special courts and fixing timelines for the trafficking cases.

The Cabinet meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill in February for introduction in the Parliament. The draft bill will facilitate to address the trafficking issue through the internationally recognised 4-P strategy, a mix of protection, prevention, prosecution and partnership.

Defining under the age of 18 as children, the bill placed the burden of proof on the offenders when the victims are children, women or persons with a physical or mental disability. The bill also allows the investigating officers to seize the bank accounts of the perpetrators. On conviction, the amount in the accounts will be transferred to newly established Rehabilitation Fund.

As it will also allow the officials to seize the property used to commit offences and confiscation to the Rehabilitation Fund, the bill expects the owners of properties to setup self-policing mechanism to not let their premises for trafficking or lose their property.

It offered time bound trial and repatriation of victims, within a period of one-year from taking into cognizance and immediate protection of rescued victims and their rehabilitation. The victims are entitled to interim relief immediately within 30 days to address their physical, mental trauma and further appropriate relief within 60 days from the date of filing of charge sheet.

The bill is also said to lay the foundation for accountability. Those officials involved in care, protection and rehabilitation of victims face severe action not only for failure to perform their duty but also if they perform in a way that cause physical or mental injury or hardship or trauma to the victims.

However, people working with victims at the ground level are not satisfied with the bill. Nimmaraju Rammohan Rao, recipient of national award from President and secretary of HELP NGO, which works for safety and welfare of children and women, said that the existing laws also assures about the fixed time frame for trial and rehabilitation of victim.

But, he said the ground reality is different. He reveals that there is only 1 or 2 per cent of conviction rate in the trafficking cases up to now. He expects the new bill should increase the conviction rate in a fixed time frame and should protect the victim from traffickers after she moves out of rescue home.

Chrukuri Bharati, chairperson of Prakasam district Child Welfare Committee, said the number of existing laws for prevention of trafficking and rehabilitation of victims are not being implemented well at the ground level. She said the new law should provide enough rehabilitation homes with vocational training to the victims and a mechanism to track them and protect them from the perpetrators.

The Central government is introducing the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018 in the monsoon session of parliament starting from July 18 for discussion.

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