NEW DELHI: A comprehensive new law to combat all aspects of human trafficking ranging from prevention, pre-rescue and post-rescue to rehabilitation and resettlement of victims is on the way.
The government set up an inter-ministerial panel headed by women and child development secretary V Somasundaran on November 16 to frame the law within six months.
In an affidavit before the Supreme Court, the women and child development ministry said the panel will also suggest measures for strengthening the victim protection protocol to ensure that a trafficked person is treated as a victim and not an offender.
Human trafficking has been on the rise in India, with 2,285 cases reported in 2014 under various laws dealing with the crime including the Indian Pen al Code and the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act (ITPA). Till September this year ,2,345 cases were reported, according to provisional data provided by the National Crime Records Bureau.
The government is also setting up an organised crime investigation agency to collate intelligence and investigate crimes of human trafficking. To be set up by the home ministry, the agency will also coordinate rescue and rehabilitation with central and state government agencies. Funds worth ` 100 crore will be transferred to run the agency from the Nirbhaya Fund.
Currently, various forms of sexual exploitation are covered under different acts administered by at least half-a-dozen ministries including those of women and child development, home, labour, health, Indian overseas affairs and external affairs. The inter-ministerial panel has been mandated to study the gaps in existing legislation. The ministry’s affidavit came in response to an SC direction asking it to tackle human trafficking.