'Hope RS will pass this bill during winter session'
New Delhi: Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi expressed her hope that the proposed anti-trafficking bill would be passed by the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) during the Winter Session of the Parliament, slated from December 11.
"We are waiting for the anti-trafficking bill to come. The Lok Sabha has already passed the bill, and I am hoping that the Rajya Sabha will pass it," Gandhi told mediapersons here, during her book launch event on Saturday.
The Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018 generates a law for investigation of all types of trafficking, rescue, protection and rehabilitation of trafficked victims. Meanwhile, the Lower House passed the Bill in the last Monsoon Session. It further classifies certain purposes of trafficking - including trafficking for forced labour, bearing children, begging, or for inducing early sexual maturity.
Even the Bill provides for the establishment of investigation and rehabilitation authorities at the district, state and national level. Anti-Trafficking Units will be established to rescue victims and investigate cases of trafficking. Rehabilitation Committees will provide care and rehabilitation to the rescued victims also.
Earlier presentation of the Bill in Lok Sabha, the WCD minister further said, "The existing laws define trafficking as an offence but there are a huge number of loopholes. The Bill also ensures that the victim is given witness care during the investigation. Under this, every state government will appoint a State Nodal Officer, who will be responsible for following up the action, as per the instructions of the State Anti-Trafficking Committee. It also provides for the setting up of Anti-Trafficking Units (ATUs) at the district level and establishment of Anti-Trafficking Relief and Rehabilitation Committees (ATC) at the national, state, and district levels."
Besides, the legislation calls for punishment ranging from 10 years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine not less than Rs 1 lakh.