Home to 18 million slaves, India unveils first comprehensive draft law on human trafficking

India is home to the largest number of enslaved people in the world, with over 18 million people according to the recently realsed Global Slavery Indexby Walk Free Foundation. Such persons are often engaged in domestic work, construction, farming, fishing, manual labour, forced begging, and in the sex industry. The country is in the midst of launching an anti-trafficking bill, which will treat survivors as victims and not criminals. The draft bill has proposed penalties for offences such as administering drugs and alcohol to those trafficked, and the setting up of special courts to expedite trafficking cases. The government has also been pushing for the establishmnet of a new agency to investigate cross-border trafficking cases. However, some activists have raised doubts over how effective the proposed law will actually be.

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Article
1 December 2016

Tamil Nadu & Karnataka have almost half of India’s modern-day slaves

Author: Times News Network

It is India’s shame that thousands of people in India live as bonded labourers four decades on after the practice was abolished under the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976. The way the bonded labour system works—a person is bound to repay a loan through labour for an unspecified period. 

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Article
23 October 2016

India: Ministry sends a cabinet note on Human Trafficking Bill with new definitions

Author: Amrita Madhukalya, Daily News & Analysis [India]

A new definition of trafficking, rehabilitation as a right for trafficked survivors and streamlining of cross-border issues are some of the key highlights of the draft Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection, and Rehabilitation) Bill (2016) sent to the cabinet...Under the new definition, trafficking for any purpose, trafficking that results in pregnancy and grievous hurt of the survivor, buying and selling of people, trafficking a person for forced or bonded labour as well as the administration of narcotic drugs, alcohol, psychotropic substances, chemical substances, or hormones for the purpose of attaining sexual maturity and exploitation are punishable up to life imprisonment.

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Article
12 September 2016

Draft Human Trafficking Bill to be considered by ministerial panel next week

Author: Press Trust of India

The draft, which has been revised at least five times since it was unveiled in May, now has a provision for a pan-India communication network, which will include hotlines for preventing trafficking...The draft Human Trafficking Bill, which has proposed severe punishment that may extend to life term for offenders, and a national body for rescue and rehabilitation, is likely to be taken up for inter-ministerial discussions...The Bill...had come under severe criticism by NGOs, which called it “vague and full of loopholes” and demanded “a deeper, wider consultation”.

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Article
21 August 2016

India: Anti-trafficking bill raises hopes and some fears

Author: Namita Bhandare, Live Mint

Minister for women and child development Maneka Gandhi received a rather unusual letter last month. Signed by 23 survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation from villages in West Bengal, the letter expressed their hopes—and fears—of India’s first and most comprehensive draft bill on trafficking...The letter listed what about the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill made the women happy and what about it had them worried....Nothing is said about fighting stigma against survivors of trafficking. A girl is often tortured by her very own family members after she is back, and she has no other way but to keep silent to protect her dignity in front of others,” the women wrote.

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Article
1 August 2016

Trafficking: New draft proposes national body for rescue, rehabilitation

Author: Daily Excelsior

A pan-India communication network which will include hotlines for preventing trafficking and a national-level body that will coordinate interstate and transborder rescue activities and rehabilitation of victims are some of the new proposals in the revised Draft Trafficking Bill prepared by Women and Child Development Ministry....There is now a proper definition of trafficking which was earlier missing. The definition derives from Section 370 of Indian Penal Code...Changes have also been made to state that rehabilitation will take place under the Juvenile Justice Act, which has robust mechanisms for providing shelter to victims rescued. The reference to JJ Act, 2015 was missing earlier....There are also several new propositions. The proposed legislation now has an additional criteria of “aggravated trafficking” with stricter punishment for offences under 17 different categories including trafficking of children, transgenders, exposing the victim to HIV/AIDS or where the offence results in pregnancy.

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Article
30 May 2016

Anti-trafficking draft Bill is toothless: Experts

Author: Neetu Chandra Sharma, India Today

The draft of Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehablitation) Bill 2016 was released by WCD minister Maneka Gandhi but it got a thumbs down from those working against human trafficking....the bill has features similar to the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act 1956, which it proposes to improve upon...Women activists have called the Bill unrealistic. "Cross border and regional trafficking can be monitored but what about internal trafficking in cities? The Bill requires more consultations with states and experts. Itis not factual but just another document from a new government," said Barkha Singh, a women activist & former chairperson of Delhi Commission for Women.

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Article
30 May 2016

Draft Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2016

Author: Govt. of India

A bill to prevent trafficking of persons and to provide protection and rehabilitation to the victims of trafficking and to create a legal, economic, and social environment against trafficking of persons and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

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Article
30 May 2016

India has 18 million modern slaves—at least five times more than any other country in the world

Author: Manu Balachandran, Quartz

A little over 18 million people—equal to the entire population of Chile—are victims of modern slavery in Asia’s third-largest economy, according to the Global Slavery Index (pdf), published by Australia-based human rights group Walk Free Foundation. Such persons are often engaged in domestic work, construction, farming, fishing, manual labour, forced begging, and in the sex industry...Across the world, nearly 46 million people are held as modern slaves, the report said. Of these, 58% are currently in India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Uzbekistan...The survey underlined that domestic helps in India are a particularly vulnerable group, as “work takes place in private homes and largely out of the reach of regulation.” The survey, however, also praised the Indian government for its recent effort to curb the scourge.

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Article
30 May 2016

India unveils first comprehensive draft law on human trafficking

Author: Nita Bhalla, Thompson Reuters

India's Minister for Women and Children unveiled a draft of the country's first-ever comprehensive anti-human trafficking law, which would treat survivors as victims in need of assistance and protection rather than as criminals...Women's Minister Maneka Gandhi said the draft bill aims to unify existing anti-trafficking laws, prioritise survivors' needs, and prevent victims such as those found in brothel raids from being arrested and jailed like traffickers...Gandhi said the draft bill would strengthen prosecutions and boost the number of convictions by setting up a special investigative agency to coordinate work between states and collect intelligence on trafficking offences....Gandhi said her ministry would be accepting suggestions until June 30 on how to further improve the proposed bill...It would then go to all the ministries for their feedback. The final bill could be brought before the Indian parliament by the end of the year, she added.

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