New Delhi: Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi released the Trafficking of person (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2016 on Monday. Human Trafficking victims will not be sent to jail, according to the first draft bill of trafficking.
"At present the law says the trafficked and the trafficker are both criminals and they both go to jail. Now, we are saying the victim will not go to jail. We will find different ways to reform her life," the minister said after releasing the draft bill.
The bill introduces economic penalties like seizure of property and new offences like administering drugs or alcohol to victims, injecting of chemical substances or hormones for exploitation and registration of placement agencies.
However, there appear to be some grey areas in the way a trafficked sex worker will be treated. The existing law, Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, treats soliciting for sex work as a punishable crime. According to the draft bill, the trafficked person would be treated as a victim who is rehabilitated and not jailed. "The law says trafficked and trafficker is both criminals and goes to jail. Now, we are saying the victim will not go to jail. We will find ways to reform her life," the minister said.
She said decriminalisation of prostitution was a "grey area" which needed to be further discussed.
The major provisions of the "victim oriented" bill include prohibition on disclosure of identity of the victim of trafficking and witness, penal provision for the use of narcotic drug or psychotropic substance or alcohol for the purpose of trafficking, use of chemical substance or hormones for exploitation and institution mechanism.
It also has provision for registration of placement agencies, setting up of s Special Investigation Agency, Special Court and creation of Rehabilitation Fund for victims by the state governments.