Tribune News Service
New Delhi, February 28
With Union Cabinet giving its nod on Wednesday to a draft Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, the National Investigation Agency will soon become the nodal authority for investigating cases of human trafficking.
Sources in the government, while confirming the development in this regard, said the Bill also proposes life punishment for repeat offenders. The federal anti-terrorism investigation agency will receive financial aid under Nirbhaya Fund for safety of women in order to set up a cell for investigating human trafficking.
Government officials said that in order to empower the NIA to probe trafficking cases, the National Investigation Act, 2008, would have to be amended.
The trafficking Bill divides various offences into categories such as “trafficking” and “aggravated trafficking”— the former carries jail term of seven to 10 years, and the latter, at least 10 years, which can be extended to life.
Aggravated offences will include forced labour, bonded labour, forced surrogacy, use of narcotics to induce forced labour, trafficking in the garb of marriage and those that lead to a pregnancy or grave illness such as HIV/AIDS. The draft Bill also moots three years in jail for abetting, promoting and assisting trafficking.
The proposed law recommends setting up of a national anti-trafficking relief and rehabilitation committee, which would be headed by Secretary of Women and Child Development ministry. It also suggests setting up of a rehabilitation fund and prescribes a process to be followed for repatriation of trafficked persons.
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