New bill will end India as transit point for trafficking of girls: Kailash Satyarthi
New Delhi : India, which is a hub to easy trafficking of girls from neighbouring countries, will see an end to the vile practice once the anti-human trafficking bill is passed, said Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi.
"India is an easy destination for trafficking especially for girls from neighbouring countries like Nepal and Bangladesh. It is the transit point from where the girls are transported to Gulf countries. Under the new law, strong bodies will be made which will focus on stopping transit trafficking," Satyarthi, 64, told IANS.
Satyarthi who had been fighting for the rights of girls and strongly advocates saving them from trafficking was honoured with Nobel Prize in 2014, along with Malala Yousufzai. He is also one of the strongest advocates for architects of the anti-trafficking bill.
"This is a big achievement for India post-independence ensuring freedom from human slavery. It is a very strong law and will act as a deterrent against human trafficking," he added.
The Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill was introduced in the monsoon session of the Lok Sabha on July 18 by Union Women and Child Development minister Maneka Gandhi.
The new proposed legislation covers all aspects of human trafficking -- prevention, rescue, rehabilitation -- including aggravated forms of trafficking like forced labour, begging, administering chemical substances and hormones for early sexual maturity, forced marriage, etc.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the human trafficking cases reported across India increased by almost 20 per cent in 2016 against the previous year, to 8,132.
West Bengal accounts for the highest number of such cases -- comprising 44 per cent of the national total -- followed by Rajasthan, which accounts for 17.9 per cent of the cases in the country.
A total of 15,379 victims of human trafficking were registered in 2016, out of which over 60 per cent were minors.
According to Satyarthi, the enactment of the new law will also bring an end to the black money involved in trafficking.
"Trafficking businesses are run by syndicates and there is a lot of money involved in it. Under this law, those convicted, will lose their property and their bank accounts will be frozen," he added.
"And the amount collected from the imposed fines will be used for the rehabilitation of the survivors," Satyarthi pointed.
Although many activists have raised their concerns over the rehabilitation facilities usually offered to the human trafficking survivors, Satyarthi pitched that the new bill ensures rehabilitation as the right for the victims and survivors.
"Those who are questioning the power of the bill are failing to understand that under this law rehabilitation is not just an option but it will be right of the victim and it is a big step. Societal and mental rehabilitation of a victim is focused upon and those will be brought in as rules," he noted.
The laureate also stated that since the women and girls involved in prostitution mostly chose it out of financial crisis or other pressure, they tend or prefer to stay in the same atmosphere and refuses to go for rehab centres.
"This is because earlier there was no proper rehabilitation scheme. The anti-trafficking bill has been drafted in such a manner that the survivors will be ensured of a secured future," he said.
However, Satyarthi also voiced that just passing the bill in Parliament won't be a sufficient step unless it is implemented strongly.
"I have personally written to all MPs requesting them to pass the bill. But their responsibility doesn't end there. Rather it begins there. The lawmakers need to speak about it, they need to see that the laws are implemented on ground level," he added.
(Somrita Ghosh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)