New Delhi: The Central government will set up centres to provide protection to women and children in crisis internationally.
Announcing the decision, Union Women and Child Development minister Smriti Irani said on Friday that once the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Care and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2021, is passed, it will enhance the government’s cooperation internationally to deal with cross-border trafficking.
“On international nexus with regard to trafficking, in partnership with the External Affairs ministry, we have decided to set up centres for women who are in challenge or in crisis internationally so the women and children get protection,” Smriti said at the inaugural session of national consultation on the elimination of human trafficking.
Her ministry had earlier this month invited suggestions for the draft bill, which aims “to prevent and counter trafficking in persons, especially women and children, to provide for care, protection, and rehabilitation to the victims, while respecting their rights, and creating a supportive legal, economic and social environment for them.”
National Investigation Agency (NIA) will be the central investigating authority responsible for preventing and combating human trafficking.
Smriti added that the Centre is looking at “trafficking in its entirety as an organized crime” for the first time. The bill proposes enhanced punishment for a “comprehensive list of different forms of trafficking” which are severe in nature.
Having interacted with different stakeholders, Smriti said the view was that the Indian Penal Code (IPC) is not adequate with regard to stringent punishment for human trafficking.
“The important one aspect I would like to flag is the issue of mandatory reporting and punishment for those who neglect to report a case of trafficking when it comes before them,” she added.
Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi welcomed the new bill.
“We feel this is going to be one of the best pieces of legislation in the world. There will always be room for improvisation that we will keep on working on but today is the time we have to put an end to this menace and build awareness about issues and law,” he remarked.