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Centre plans to amend IPC to strengthen effective crackdown on traffickers under proposed anti-trafficking bill

The Times of India logo The Times of India 30-07-2021 Ambika Pandit
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NEW DELHI: At a time when the Centre is proposing to finalise and bring to the cabinet for approval the draft of the proposed anti-trafficking bill, minister for women and child development Smriti Irani said that the ministry of home affairs has assured that appropriate amendments to Indian Penal Code will be made to “compliment the seriousness with which the government proposes the trafficking Bill”.

Concerns have been raised over how the Indian Penal Code does not live up to the expectations with regards to stringent punishment for human trafficking,

“For the first time we are looking at trafficking in its entirety as an organised crime which means that the Bill will now propose a comprehensive list of different forms of trafficking which are aggravated in nature and accordingly enhance punishment for the same,” Irani said.

The WCD minister was speaking at the national consultation on elimination of human trafficking organised by Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation and Bachpan Bachao Andolan to mark “The World Day Against Trafficking in Persons” on Friday.

“In many a conversation it was highlighted that how the IPC does not conform to or for that matter live up to the expectation of the populace with regards to stringent punishment when it comes to human trafficking,” the WCD minister said. She also shared that MHA has assured that appropriate amendments to Indian Penal Code will also be made to compliment the seriousness with which the government proposes the trafficking Bill.

Irani went on to highlight certain provisions of the proposed draft Bill which was put in the public domain on June 30 and feedback was sought till July 14. The minister emphasised on the proposed provision of mandatory reporting and punishment for those who omit reporting or neglect to report a case of trafficking when it unfolds before them.

She also drew attention to provisions to crackdown on traffickers by closing down premises and eviction of offenders from such properties that they buy out of the ill-gotten gains of trafficking.

The WCD minister said that the Bill has been drafted with a “victims centric” approach which takes into account safety concerns, protection of witnesses, entitles them to basic benefits, services and prescribes measures for further care and compensation.

She shared that the Bill also makes provisions to enable speedy justice through special courts designated in districts to speed-up trials so that justice is done within a limited timeframe.

Recognising “re-victimisation” as a challenge, Irani said the proposed Bill brings in measures to address this concern.

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