The Women and Child Development Ministry is likely to prepare a cabinet note on the draft anti-trafficking Bill “within a week or two”, according to a senior ministry official.
The Draft Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2016 has been revised at least four times ever since it was unveiled by Maneka Gandhi in May this year.
An inter-ministerial group met last week to deliberate the draft bill and “minor” changes have been made following that meeting, according to sources.
The proposed legislation defines “Trafficking of Person” as per Section 370 of Indian Penal Code, 1860, which is, “Whoever, for the purpose of exploitation, (a) recruits, (b) transports, (c) harbours, (d) transfers, or (e) receives, a person or persons commits the offence of trafficking.”
The draft bill clubs together different forms of trafficking under the category of “Aggravated Trafficking”, with punishment of up to life imprisonment. This category includes bonded labour, trafficking for the purpose of bearing a child, trafficking for the purpose of marriage, trafficking for begging, trafficking of a pregnant woman or resulting into pregnancy, among others.
The draft also seeks to create a National Anti-Trafficking Bureau for preventing, investigating and protecting cases or victims of trafficking.
According to the draft bill the Centre will also establish a “National Anti-Trafficking Relief and Rehabilitation Committee” to provide relief and rehabilitation services to victims of trafficking.
“Protection Homes” for immediate care and “Rehabilitation Homes” for long-term care have also been mooted.
Once the cabinet draft note is prepared it will be sent to the cabinet for its approval. After the cabinet’s nod the Draft Bill will be introduced in the Winter Session of Parliament for its passage.