Cabinet nod to bill for allowing NIA to probe human trafficking cases

Cabinet nod to bill for allowing NIA to probe human trafficking casesNEW DELHI: The government has approved a proposal for making the apex anti-terror body – National Investigation Agency (NIA) – the nodal authority for probing cases of human trafficking, according to an official.
The Union Cabinet has okayed the draft Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, which proposes a punishment of 10 years in jail to life term for trafficking human for the purpose of begging, marriage and injecting hormones for early sexual maturity, among others.

The Bill is expected to be tabled in Parliament in the second leg of the Budget session starting March 5.
“The National Investigation Agency will perform the task of national anti-trafficking bureau and the (NIA) Act is being amended separately,” Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi said at a press briefing.
She hoped that the anti-trafficking Bill and amendment to the NIA Act would come before Parliament simultaneously, as the latter “completes” the proposed legislation.

The draft Bill divides various offences into “trafficking” and “aggravated trafficking”.
The former category of crimes would carry a jail term of seven to 10 years and the latter would carry a punishment of at least 10 years in jail, which can be extended to life imprisonment.
Aggravated offences would include trafficking for the purpose of forced labor, begging, trafficking by administering chemical substance or hormones on a person for the purpose of early sexual maturity, trafficking of a woman or child for the purpose of marriage or under the pretext of marriage or after marriage.

The draft bill also moots three years in jail for abetting, promoting and assisting trafficking.
The proposed legislation also provides for a time-bound trial and repatriation of victims – within a period of one year from the time the crime is taken into cognizance. It also entitles a victim of interim relief within 30 days of filing of a charge sheet, according to a press statement.
The Bill has provisions for rescue and rehabilitation of the survivors as well as protection of witnesses and complainants. Rehabilitation of victims will not be contingent upon criminal proceedings being initiated against the accused.
The national anti-trafficking relief and rehabilitation committee would be headed by the secretary of women and child development ministry.
The draft law also has provisions for a rehabilitation fund for the physical, psychological and social wellbeing of the victim, including education, skill development, healthcare, psychological support, legal aid, safe accommodation, the statement adds.-PTI