Anti-trafficking bill "overbroad and disproportionate": Amnesty International

Union Minister Maneka Gandhi said the legislation does not intend to harass sex workers.

Published: 28th July 2018 09:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th July 2018 09:23 AM   |  A+A-

Amnesty International (File photo | AP)


NEW DELHI: The bill passed by Lok Sabha to deal with the menace of human trafficking has several provisions that are "overbroad and disproportionate" and it should be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee, Amnesty International India said today.

The Lok Sabha passed the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018, which provides for confidentiality of victims, witnesses and complainants, time-bound trials and repatriation of the victims.

Union Minister Maneka Gandhi said the legislation does not intend to harass sex workers.

"It is commendable that the Indian government is taking trafficking in persons seriously.

However, if the Bill is enacted in its present form, it will put adults who engage in consensual sex work, at risk of human rights violations.

"The bill has several provisions that are overbroad and disproportionate, which may infringe upon human rights of individuals," said Asmita Basu, Programmes Director, Amnesty International India said.

Members of the House cutting across party lines supported the bill. However, the Congress and CPI(M) demanded that the bill to be sent to the standing committee.

Basu said Bill's main focus is on the criminal aspects of trafficking but it does not address the root causes of trafficking or provide for effective protection and rehabilitation of victims.

"The Bill was drafted without meaningful consultation with the very people it should protect - victims of trafficking and sex workers, as well as other stakeholders such as civil society organisations.

"The Rajya Sabha must refer the bill to a Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) to address serious concerns raised by these key stakeholders," Basu added.

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