NEW DELHI: Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi on Saturday expressed hope that the proposed anti-trafficking bill will be passed by the Rajya Sabha during the upcoming winter session of the Parliament.
Among its clauses, the bill provides for confidentiality of victims, witnesses and complainants and time-bound trials and repatriation of the victims.
“We are waiting for the anti-trafficking bill to come. The Lok Sabha has already passed the bill, and I am hoping that the Rajya Sabha will pass it,” Gandhi told reporters when asked about her ministry’s bills coming in the winter session.
The Lok Sabha had passed The Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018 during the Monsoon Session of Parliament in July.
Gandhi had said the legislation did not intend to harass sex workers and it was intended to go after human traffickers and not the victims.
“This is a bill that has a compassionate view of people who have been victims of sex rackets,” Gandhi had said.
The legislation proposes to create institutional mechanisms at the district, state and central levels. It calls for punishment ranging from 10 years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine not less than Rs 1 lakh.
Besides prevention, rescue and rehabilitation, it covers aggravated forms of trafficking such as forced labour, begging and marriage.
At the event organised at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts on Saturday, the Union minister also interacted with schoolchildren about her upcoming book – ‘There's a Monster Under my Bed! and Other Terrible Terrors’, which is expected to release in January.
Talking to reporters about her book, Gandhi said, “Children are scared of many things and we need to deal with those fears.” She said parents should identify the things their children were scared of as it would enable them to deal with them.
(with inputs from agencies)