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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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